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Title: The Paninari | Dee & Duke  •  Size: 80960  •  Last Modified: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 07:56:31 GMT

The Paninari

I had this idea of sharing bits and pieces of info from different decades in time, from a style point of view. My first idea came to me by way of the bf, who often wants me to polish up my Italian pop culture knowledge. I wanted to share this with you guys. 

Milan, 1980's. There a food - and therefore social - revolution going on in the Italian Republic. The first fast-food chains have appeared (first McDonald's opened in Rome in the famous Piazza di Spagna. You know, the big steps from Roman Holiday.) Cool kids want to be more American than the Americans. And so, they meet at the fast-food joints and scoff down hamburgers. Much to the horror of the older generations ("Ma questa roba la chiami cibo? La cucina italica è la migliore al mondo. Vergognatevi!" You call this food? Italian cuisine is the best cuisine in the world. You should be ashamed of yourselves!) This shift in eating habits created a whole subculture in Milan: i paninari (which roughly translates to the Sandwich Eaters).

The paninari are the coolest kids on the block. They want to be dressed like Americans. Talk like Americans. Their lifestyle is mostly based on consumption, without a worry in the world for the future. Radical change after the hyper-political 1970's, no?

On their feet, Frye motorcycle boots. Timberland. And later on, New Balance or Nike. They wear bomber jackets from Moncler or Avirex, Wayfarer sunglasses (just like Tom Cruise) and Texan-style leather belts from El Charro. It has to be authentic, branded, expensive and preferably American. Oh, and the bf wants to make sure I include the Invicta backpack. Oh yeah, remember those?

They listen to the Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Wham!, Boy George. They admire Tom Cruise in Top Gun and Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. Ah, the 80's... 

After a visit to Milan in those years, the Pet Shop Boys took high interest in such a colorful subculture and released their single "Paninaro", bringing fame to the movement internationally.

It seems I can't embed the video, so please go watch it on YouTube. It'll make your morning. :)

Would you bring any of these style elements back? Or is it better for this style to simply remain history?

Photos via ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR. Edited by Dee & Duke. 


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Hello! I'm Daphne. What's a Viking-type you might ask? Simply someone fearless in travel and in life. Welcome! Head over here to learn more.