More Than Dracula: Transylvanian Fashion Treasures

For some time now, I’ve wanted to share some of the beautiful treasures I found in Transylvania this past winter. Contrary to popular belief, Romania and especially Transylvania is more than Castle Dracula and its mythical character. It’s a place of old traditions, wealth and beautiful craftsmanship that speak more than you’d think about Romanians’ inclination towards style and quality, handmade products.

These photographs from Fagaras Citadel, one of Eastern Europe’s largest and best-preserved feudal castles, stand proof.

I won’t bore you with historic details; suffice to say Fagaras Citadel dates back to the 14th century when it was built as a fortress, becoming, as time passed, the residence of Michael the Brave, a military prison under the Austrian rule and communist prison later on. Now, it’s a beautiful museum that speaks volumes about the crafts in this region, the guilds and popular clothing.

fagaras citadel

Centuries ago, Transylvanian clothing was simple and sturdy but not minimalist. On the contrary, it had all sorts of embellishments, from embroidery to metal accessories.

Skirts were long, a bit above the ankle, made from a thick, dark-toned wool and decorated with floral motives. Shirts were long-sleeved, starting from the base of the neck, with flouncy cuffs for women and always embroidered on the sleeves. I also spotted a leather waistcoat for women in a buttery shade with floral embellishments created with a crazy attention to detail.

In time, they were replaced by more modern clothing items like laibăr, cretinţă, brâu de ie, cămaşă nemţească:

transylvanian-fashion-vest

transylvanian-fashion-dress

transylvanian-fashion-at-work

transylvanian-fashion-waistcoat

transylvanian-fashion-couple

transylvanian-fashion-costume

In other chambers, I could see exposed silver cutlery and accessories, including ornate scissors and beauty tools:

transylvanian-fashion-treasures-scissors

transylvanian-fashion-treasures-jewelry

transylvanian-fashion-treasures-glass

transylvanian-fashion-treasures-cup

Check these money bags!

transylvanian-fashion-bags

Pretty impressive, right?

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