For me, photography, as a form of expression, has always been about telling very personal stories through images and highlighting the importance of any captured moment in time. The Romanian Blouse or "IA" is the main part of the Traditional Romanian Costume. The other parts take shape around it and harmonize in a chromatic and ornamental dance that creates a visual spectacle specific to different Romanian regions.
But it is more than just a piece of clothing, it’s a symbol, historical proof of the existence and continuity of the Traditional Romanian port. Each year, on the 24th of June, we are celebrating the "IA" and the profound meaning that it holds.
For many people who were born in families with deep traditional roots, the “IA” has a personal connotation and enhances their personality every time they are wearing it as a single piece of clothing or as a full Romanian port.
Cosmina had the opportunity of inheriting a wonderful traditional legacy from her grandparents and she wears those 100 years old blouses with humbleness, pride, and responsibility.
Furthermore, the traditional ports have a deeper meaning for her, offering a sense of freedom, joy empowerment, and aiding her in overcoming her daily life challenges. These are her thoughts:
“Life is just a dream, the dream of dreams and magic. In this dream, my spells are made of embroideries and buckram, and I wear them to revive the stories of my ancestors. They are a piece of history, unspoken and unknown until I wear them. I’m talking about my national costumes and my precious IA blouses, la blouse roumaine, as Matisse made them known in the entire world.
Made of stardust, tears, hopes, dreams, happiness, and sadness of woman in my family and not only, kissed by the summer sun and autumn rains, my magical vestment joins me on the path of becoming who I want to be.
When I wear them is like time traveling in places never touched and wondering about feelings I never felt. Over and over again. Is like diving into a collective memory of where I remember to be. TO BE WHOEVER I WANT TO BE. They are my superpowers to overcome these spiritless, soulless times.
If I want to reconnect with my roots, to feel the earth beating under my feet, if I want to feel powerful like GEEA, I wear my grand grandmother's national costume, embroidered more than 100 years ago in Vrancea. On this costume, the stories of ancestral birth are written with the needle.
The IA from Vrancea country is the IA of midwives witnessing the most magical moment of life: BIRTH, the river of eternal life.
If I want to feel free, to feel free like the sea, I wear my blue IA and costume. I don’t know the exact story of this costume, but my heart feels like all the rivers fairies are living in this beautiful blue embroidery. I AM THE SEA. NOBODY OWNS ME.
If I run out of time, if my head is hard and my heart is broken, my eternal spring costume is there for me. This Persephone costume is also rooted in my family history from Vrancea Country. The Persephone IA is talking a language of forever youthfulness, is like the fountain of life, the life of the spirit from other times, where life was enjoyed and celebrated ‘in tihna’. I KNOW HOW TO ENJOY THE ‘TINERETE FARA BATRANETE'.
Summer. Summer is that wonderland, that wonderful feeling we never want to leave behind. We want to move in summer forever. My summer is a red costume. Is like the eternal fire of passion and love, of power and desire. No matter the day, the time, if I wear my summer, I’m unstoppable, I can move mountains, I can stop the sun and put it on the wine yard outgrowing the embroidered story of Vrancea’s Wine. I HAVE THE SPELL OF THE ETERNAL SUMMER.
I put the sun on my wine yard and the wine and fortune will be by my side. The autumn rain will wash my tears away, and the joy and happiness will conquer my heart and I will wear my simple but rich harvest IA. I’ll drink the wine and eat the fruits, the Bacchantes will dance and everything will be an homage to the loudest god Dionisos. The spells of blessings will conquer the thirsty soul of mine and all my prayers will be answered. THE AUTUMN PURPLE MOON BLESSES US ALL.
When the land is cold and the long nights have come, when the stories are ready to be told and the magic is about to begin, when the worlds go together and the sky kisses the earth, when I need some witchery, I have this magic old costume of my grandmother. It’s her marriage costume. It’s her wedding costume. My grandmother got married in a magical winter. The snow was covering everything, shining like million diamonds. Just like her in her beautiful white precious costume. Her Costume, her IA was embroidered with silver crosses to keep her away from wrong and evil. To keep her safe and happy. To keep her a queen of hearts. It’s something about this costume, worn only once by my grandmother but kept safe, untainted by time, seasons, and history, by humans. This costume is like a door to unknown worlds, worlds of love and laughter, it is a promise of (‘Tinerete fara batarnete si viata fara de moarte’) Youth Without Age and Life Without Death.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COLDEST WINTER, I FOUND THERE WAS, WITHIN ME, AN INVINCIBLE SUMMER.
Life is just a dream, and my IA is the key to unlocking other dreams."