Most of the titles found say that it all started with Matisse’s painting – La Blouse Roumaine – a 1940 oil on canvas painting inspired by Romanian peasant wear, which encapsulates not only the values and principles of Romanian history and traditions, but also powerful expressions of emancipation and femininity.
I would argue that it started much earlier…during Romanian monarchy years, when the mélange of elegance and authenticity blurred the fine line of fashion in the high society of both Paris and Bucharest. Socialites from each capital mingled and borrowed the finesse of each culture. Queen Mary was one of the Ambassadors, mostly wearing Romanian traditional items and inspiring les grandes dames de la Belle Époque as well as artists and statesmen.
However, Matisse was the one that made Yves Saint Laurent forget about his Marrakesh living and completely fall in love with Romanian art and culture. Already an admirer and owner of Brancusi sculpture, the last of the grands couturiers became mesmerized by the strong colors, intricate embroideries and delicate weaved textures of the peasant blouse, dress and skirts. His FW 1981 collection was dedicated both to Matisse’s painting and to the newly discovered source of inspiration – La Blouse Roumaine.
Even if I consider more representative, the local painter’s Revolutionary Romania (C.D. Rosenthal, around 1948), IA – the only name that does justice to all the symbolism, has grew in notoriety and influence along the past years, influencing grand designers – Jean Paul Gaultier, for his F/W 2006 Collection, Oscar de la Renta S/S 2008 Collection, Emilio Pucci’s S/S 2011, Tom Ford S/S 2012 and many other Romanian designers who reinterpreted the iconic item – Adrian Oianu, Ingrid Vlasov, Valentina Vidrascu.
I might be wrong, but the Dolce& Gabbana FW 2012/ 2013 collection looks like a traditional wedding party from Maramures, Oas and Bucovina, where the use of roses, braided hair, flowers and layered dresses is undoubtedly a trademark.