IA - The Romanian Blouse (A synthesis of tradition and modernity)
For a long time, tradition and modernity were perceived as two opposite concepts. Until recently, tradition was seen as an obstacle to progress and modernization. The perception has changed as a consequence of the debate concerning the effects of globalization on cultural heritage. This debate led to reconsider our own cultural identity and rediscover the things that make us unique in the world.
Suddenly, tradition was reconceptualised and became the source of inspiration for so many domains. It is also the case of the fashion industry that lately began taking its source of inspiration from folk costumes, valorising the specific cuts, colours or embroidery.
This trend equally characterizes the Romanian fashion industry, especially if we think of the traditional blouse named IE. IA represents the main element of the Romanian national costume, worn by women. Originally, it was made from white linen or cotton, even if, later on, the blouse was also manufactured from coloured materials. The specificity of the blouse lies in its embroidery, representing popular Romanian motifs filled with mystic symbols. It is also important to notice that the blouse differs from region to region. Hence, it arrives to tell us not only the story of the country, but the story of each Romanian area.
IE used to be worn every day, but new trends took the blouse out of fashion so, for a long time, it was worn only during special ceremonies and celebrations. For the rest of the time, this magnificent and unique article of clothing was forgotten in grandma’s hope chest.
In a period when the blouse had lost its notoriety, important personalities were just about to discover its beauty and promote it worldwide. We mention here Queen Elisabeth of Romania and Queen Mary of Romania, both of other nationalities, who have fallen in love with IA and who integrated it in their everyday wardrobe. IA has also inspired famous artists, both foreign and Romanian, such as Henri Matisse, NicolaeTonitza, CamilRessu and many others.
But how come, nowadays, IA is again one of our favourite clothing items to wear? Everything started as a trend, launched by famous fashion houses and designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carolina Herrera, Kenzo, Tom Ford and many others. Once it became fashionable again, the blouse started regaining its notoriety and today it even has its own day of celebration. Each year, on 24 June, we celebrate the Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse in an effort to keep alive the legacy our ancestors left for us.
photo: Carolina Herrara Collection - www.pinterest.com