Ia – Traditional Romanian Blouse

© Henri Matisse - Seated Woman, http://impressionistsgallery.co.uk/artists/Artists/mno/Matisse/

Romanian Peaseant Blouse is called “ie” and is a representative piece of Romanian folklore. Rooted in an idyllic past, Romanian women carry on the tradition of sewing peasant blouses. With a manually worked embroidery, just one blouse can take up to 3 weeks to be made.

Every ie “wears” a particular story, as there are different models to make these blouses, according to Romanian provinces. Cotton and flax are generally used, but floral patterns are customary.

Despite the decreasing number of Romanian women who create these authentic pieces of art, the beauty and carefully handmade embroidery of peasant blouses inspired several designers. Some international examples are Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, John Galliano, but there are also Romanian designers who promote Romanian folklore in their collections as Adrian Oianu or Ingrid Vlasov. French designer Philippe Guilet launched in 2011 a whole haute-couture collection inspired from Romanian costumes, being helped by Romanian handicraftsmen.

During 20th Century, the famous French painter, Henri Matisse, created important series of paintings which portrayed women in Romanian blouses. He started painting women in ie after he received one as a present from Theodor Pallady, Romanian painter and his colleague at École des Beaux Arts from Paris. One of Matisse’s paintings is displayed on the cover of Constantin Roman’s book, “The Unsung Voices of Romanian Women”, a book about tradition and art regarding traditional blouses.

Romanian blouses can be found through numerous fairs and traditional bazaars all over the country. An important Romanian fair is Craftsmen Fair from Vaslui, organized every year in Copou Park, Vaslui county.

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