Do not let yourself mislead by the word IA! This time I’m not writing about information architecture. This time is about my IA, the Romanian traditional blouse.To me the beautiful Romanian IA or La Blouse Roumaine, it’s not a fashion icon. For me IA is just it’s just a way of being connected with the Romanian people, their past with all the good and bad that they went through, their energy and their identity. IA mirrors all our life experiences, our traditions and most profound beliefs, our entire history. My IA is who I am.
My friends know how much I love my Romanian IA. I’ve been wearing them for years, whether at a business meeting, social event, wedding or when going out with my friends.
I’m not sure exactly when I fell in love with my Romanian IA or why. It might have happened the first time I laid my years of the old picture of my grandparents on their wedding day wearing their Romanian traditional costumes.
As well it might have happened during high-school years when I was reading Queen Marie of Romania's memories. It's not even important, I think.
Marie of Romania and a blouse fit for a Queen
Marie of Edinburgh (1885-1938) or Missy, as her dear ones used to call her, was the fifteenth granddaughter of Queen’s Victoria, wife of kind Ferdinand of Romania, sister of Alexandra of Russian and one of the greatest ambassadors my country ever had.
I came to this country at very young age, yet I became one of you. Queen Marie of Romania
Queen Marie brought the world’s attention on the beautiful Romanian folk costumes not just by writing about it, but also wearing them and inspiring the same love she had for it to her children. Here are just some of the pictures she had taken of herself and her children wearing these awesome Romanian traditional costumes:
Communist regime’s historians did their best to diminish her role and influence in shaping Romania’s future, and maybe for a while they succeeded, yet their victory did not last long. Probably one of the reasons had to do with our grandparents who opposed the regime the way they knew best… by keeping alive the memory of the heroes and history as it happened, although they had to whisper it to their children.
Queen Marie once wrote “I came to this country at very young age, yet I became one of you”. And she really did that despite of all shortcomings and distrust she experienced because of it. Nowadays, her heirs are trying to give her back the place she deserves among the great Romanians.
Henri Matisse's IA
The French painter Henri Matisse is known as one of the first to capture the beauty of the Romanian ie. Simply called La Blouse Roumaine is an oil-on-canvas painting dated 1940. It measures 92 × 73 cm and is held at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris.
It took Matisse few years to show the world his Romanian paintings. There were hundreds trials and sketches before there was a Romanian blouses collection.
Few know that Matisse's Romanian paintings were inspired by a collection of traditional blouses he received as a gift from Theodor Pallady, one of most famous painters, whom he had been friends with for many years. Matisse and Pallady met around 1892, in Paris, in Gustave Moreau's studio were they were working along with Georges Rouault and Albert Marquet.
Matisse's interest in oriental themes first emerged in the 1920s when he began to express an interest in the interplay of ornamental patterns. This fascination with decorative designs is seen in these works and it will remain with Matisse till the end of his life.
Matisse and Pallady's friendship lasted a lifetime. What neither one of them imagined is that their admiration for our national blouse will turn years later Romanian IA into a fashion icon... and that's my next story all about!