The garment dates back centuries but it disappeared from sight during the communist era, as authorities tried to stamp out rural traditions. Now the blouse is making a comeback — even featuring in the presidential campaign.
The revival of the "ie" (EE-yeh) — seen everywhere these days on the streets of the capital — is a sign that Romanians are returning to their roots a quarter century after the Soviet collapse. The blouse is an intricately embroidered gossamer-thin garment originally worn by Byzantine nobles in the sixteenth century and later adopted by peasants.
It's something Prime Minister Victor Ponta wove into his campaign ahead of the Nov. 2 vote, with his campaign posters features peasant blouses bearing the red, yellow and blue of the Romanian flag.
"It's a message saying 'this candidate is the leader of Romanians,'" ethnographer Bianca Ciobanu said at the National Peasant Museum, which was closed in communist days. "It's has been re-invented, worn with skirts or jeans, urbanized, but it's ... good we are seeing it again."