The Romanian Blouse as a national symbol

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Backstage Ethnology Fest, Laura Diaconu Collection

Ia, the Romanian blouse, has always been a source of inspiration for artists from different fields. It was used as a national symbol during the pre-union period of the Romanian Lands, a symbol of national propaganda during the rule of King Charles (Carol) II and during the period of the Antonescu regime. The Romanian blouse inspired the avant-garde French painter Henri Matisse. Ia inspires today the fashion creators, who give the Western celebrities the opportunity to wear this traditional work of art.

This piece of clothing has become popular in the West since the avant-garde. Now, however, we can see them on the covers of magazines, in the clothing stores, carried by Western celebrities that have nothing to do with Romania. This artwork has become as popular as the South American native ports, with their motives. National reasons have become very mainstream lately, for example the Belarusian and Ukrainian traditional clothes.

Fashion Magazine, New York 1920

An important role was played by Romanian queens and princes, who promoted it within the country and around the world. Very excited about this dress was Queen Elizabeth (Elisabeth Pauline Ottilie Luise zu Wied) of Romania, which was also painted by American George Healy in traditional Romanian way.

Queen Marie, Princess Ileana and Princess Marie

We must not forget the great Romanian singer Maria Tănase, who promoted Romanian culture and tradition all over the world. Thus, in 1939, at the Universal Exhibition in New York, the singer dressed in Romanian was performing Romanian folk music for all those who came to see the pavilion of the Kingdom of Romania, which was built in a neo-Romanian style.

Maria Tănase, New York 1939

As for the French Henri Matisse, who painted the famous La Blouse Roumaine, which can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, he had several paintings where he represented the Romanian garment. Henri Matisse inspired Yves Saint Laurent to create in 1981 the La Blouse Roumaine collection, dedicated to the Romanians. In 2012, in Vogue magazine, British singer Adele appeared in a black embroidery, specific to the Sibiu region, reinterpreted by fashion designer Tom Ford.

Thus, the reinterpreted Romanian blouse knows some rebirths due to the Western artists, but I think that the original one with the sophisticated embroideries, specific to different regions of our country, is to be reborn in Romania and become a true national symbol.

Queen Marie of Romania
Maria Bodaproste from Târgu Neamț. Photo from the late 1920s by Leib Hersobici
Queen Elizabeth of Romania
Smaranda Brăescu

Text by Claudiu C. CREȚU

Source: La Blouse Roumaine

© The Bunget Arts & Culture

2019

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