Artist: Daniela Ionescu
Exhibition: La Blouse Roumaine
Media: Traditional Dress Collection
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Daniela Ionescu is a graduate student at CSULB working towards her masters in Art History. Ionescu is an immigrant from R0mania. She moved over to the United States when she was married and soon after her first born was born. She worked as an accountant for the vast majority of her life. Ionescu knew that working as an accountant was not right for her. With some convincing from her husband, Ionescu went back to school to pursue her real passion: art history. Ionescu hopes to one day open a museum or work for one, as a curator of textiles. She also hopes to focus on exhibitions focusing on fashion cultures, including Romanian and other European cultures.
The exhibition was a compilation of a variety of traditional Romanian clothing. All of the garments date from early 1900-1950s. The garments include shirts, skirts, vests, etc. These garments are heavily ornate and patterned. Most of the patterns were presented in a repeated fashion. The patterns are all mostly geometric. Most of the garments had a white underlay and a colored pattern sewn on them. Some of the Romanian-ware have metallic yarn embellishments that shone beautifully against the exhibition lights. Ionescu had a short description of each of the garments right next to them to see what material was used, who used them and what time period they were used in.
The Romanian clothing itself was absolutely beautiful. They were a perfect blend of complex meets simple. The ornate designs and patterns, although repeated, were not overwhelming on the garment itself. The use of the white cotton underlay made the color yarn stand out as well as the pattern. On the other hand, the black underlay was used perfectly to focus on the metallic yarn sewing on some of the pieces. Ionescu was kind enough to walk fellow peers and I around the exhibit and explain the meaning of a variety of these garments. Ionescu explained that “aside from the decorative aspect and their timeless beauty, these blouses are venerable anthropological artifacts, communicating through hand-embroidered symbols the identity of their weaver”. The history that lies about the common people who wore this clothing could be interpreted a lot through the vestments themselves. Ionescu also explained how modern fashion designers are actually very much inspired by these traditional clothing. Unfortunately, they do not credit the Romanian culture for being the basis of their high-fashion designs. Ionescu believes that not giving credit to these past cultures is erasing their cultural identity and the story behind it.
I thought the exhibition was very beautifully set up. The aesthetic of the gallery was perfect. I am a fashion lover myself, and I see the beauty in these garments just as much as she does. Like Ionescu stated, these garments instantly did remind me of a lot of the designs and garments that are being placed into the fashion industry in this day and age. Ionescu was an absolute pleasure to hear talk. Her passion for her culture and fashion is absolutely immnese. She is a great orater and made it such an enjoyable learning experience about the past of Romanian vestments.