By Georgiana Florentina Dogaru
We all have our own personal fashion style, but there are certain clothes that suit almost every person and look pretty good on us even though they are not necessarily our style. The Romanian blouse is one of those tops that just looks good on any woman and you can create a casual look with it or, equally, an elegant outfit.
The Romanian ancestral blouses have recently been revived and they’ve successfully passed the gap from traditional to trendy. It’s a representative piece of Romanian folklore that became an international trend. It has inspired fashion houses such as Yves Saint-Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carolina Herrera and Tom Ford. It’s colourful and feminine and represents the Romanian spirit: the hardworking Romanian peasant woman who doesn’t forget to look pretty.
The Romanian word for it is Ie (pronounced ee-eh), and it’s been worn by women for centuries. In the beginning, it was a whole costume, but the only piece that passed the test of time was the blouse. Fashion is a circle and trends always come back, but the traditional Romanian blouse should always be fashionable and included in our wardrobe for it is a beautiful piece of clothing that is never out of fashion, a bit like good jeans or that little black dress. Romanian and international celebrities have been seen wearing blouses inspired by the traditional Romanian Ie. It is entirely hand-made, with complex, colourful embroidery, sewed with natural fabrics. It is decorated with beads and symbolic motifs – geometric figures, flowers, trees, leaves, and many other decorations, different from one region to another. Each blouse tells a unique story through the motifs and colours of the embroidery. It’s a synthesis of tradition and modernity, old and new, and one of the things that makes Romania unique in the world.
Lately, traditions have become a source of inspiration for many domains, including fashion. We are all going back to the roots and using traditions as a foundation for modernity. The Romanian blouse was, for centuries, worn only by the women that lived in the villages that used to sew it themselves, and was out of fashion for decades, until important fashion houses and designers launched collections inspired by it. Initially, it was made of linen or hemp, and then they used cotton and silk. Over the past decade, it slowly became trendy and we could see Hollywood celebrities like Halle Berry, Emma Stone and Nicole Kidman wearing these gorgeous blouses. It is beautiful and unique and it cannot pass unnoticed. It is part of the Romanian legacy, integrated into the universal legacy. Some of the modern blouses are not entirely the way the traditional ones used to be, but it is an art to create such a masterpiece and an honour to wear one. They are historical proof of the Romanian culture and continuity.
Yves Saint Laurent was the first internationally renowned fashion house that was inspired by the traditional Romanian blouse and introduced it in his haut-couture collection in 1981. In fact, the source of his inspiration was the painting La Blouse Roumaine painted by Henry Matisse in 1940. Matisse received a collection of Romanian blouses from the Romanian painter Theodor Pallady and, this way, the blouse became an international source of inspiration. Another French designer, Philippe Guilet, launched in 2011 a whole haute-couture collection inspired by Romanian costumes. In Romania, the traditional folklore is promoted in fashion by Adrian Oianu and Ingrid Vlasov.
Each year, on June 24th, we celebrate the Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse. On this day, the Romanian orthodox calendar celebrates Sânziene, associated from pagan days with the cult of vegetation, fertility and the sun.
No matter what your fashion style is, you can include the Romanian blouse in your wardrobe. It suits any type of outfit; it’s feminine, unique, fine and pretty. You can combine it with trousers or a skirt and wear it proudly.
Tom Ford Carolina Herrera
Jean Paul Gaultier Oscar de la Renta