Touring some of the French Polynesian Islands provided insight into the geography of the place and its culture, but as always, I am more interested in the people from foreign lands. In our previous three articles in this series, part 1; Part 2; Part 3, I focused on the exotic Polynesian women.
But what about the men? With tanned, smooth clear skin, they are every much as exotic as the women. You can’t help noticing their skin because similar to the women, some wear the pareu—a wraparound rectangular cloth—worn mainly around the waist, thus exposing their upper bodies and parts of their legs. More flesh is exposed when some step out in loin cloths only (I will cover this in another article).
Pareu or pareo is the French Polynesian word for a wraparound skirt worn by many women in the South Pacific Islands. It is related to the sarong. Originally, women wore the pareu, men wore loincloths. Today pareu applies to any piece of cloth worm by either male or female. Pareus are made from some of the most beautify, and colourful materials.
Tie-dye materials are popular in the Polynesian Islands, and I had the pleasure of watching a native woman transform a plain piece of cloth into a colourful one before my eyes. Many pareus are made from tie-dye materials.
The pareu is very versatile and can be worn in several different ways. One of the exotic ladies of Moorea created several outfits when she demonstrated some of the ways this simple rectangular piece of cloth can be worn. The fascinating thing about the creations is that needle and thread and pins were not required.