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Gypsy Vogue


               Wear the Gypsy Dress – 

                              Understand the Gypsy Dress – 

                                                                     Be the Gypsy Dress… 

                                      A Metamorphosis of Fashion


"Shake-up this black and white world – and bring out the Gypsy in you"

Rromni     Contrary to popular beliefs, Gypsy clothing is not a goulash of colors and patterns made to steal the spotlight like tacky Hollywood on the red carpet – as “here today” and “gone tomorrow” - or as we say – “khanchi”… Gypsy style has 1000 years of existence gauged by strict rules and guidelines like a road map; it’s been built to last. First stop are the trends keeping it relevant as “what’s hot” - “what’s not” – and “that’s so old it’s a fossil.”  And then there’s the rich taste involved. Yes, “poor like a Gypsy” is both a popular and valid saying as Roma poverty rates soar; you may be “poor in pocket” nevertheless “rich in soul” and this radiates off the clothes you wear. The pleated skirts and aprons are handmade the old fashioned way and they don’t come cheaply… Nevertheless, we at Tzigania Store take our claim “affordability is our mission” to heart and persist to reach ALL people regardless of the bulge in pocket; you have an interest then we’ll find a way.  One of those ways is buying last year’s fashion craze and so wearing our product may be “pooh- poohed” in posh Roma circles with comments like “that would look best worn on fire” - but in the streets of the fashion centers of the world like New York, Milan or Paris, you wearing the fabulous Gypsy dress – are a trendsetter.

                         …with attitude

    Attitude carries over from the 1000 years of consistent persecution, exclusion, expulsion, of being spit on or cursed behind their backs – or worse the “Heidenjachten” (Gypsy hunts) that could get you a bullet. Wearers of the style are labeled not by the content of their character but in this case, the many colors of their wardrobe. The results have been either cover and conceal and loose the identity or loudly and proudly  proclaim it with the clothes on your back, “me son Rromni” – I am gypsy girl - and meet your fate – has been the enduring yet extraordinary Gypsy attitude and which has impressed itself onto the pattern.  Attitude required because without it you crumble.



    Besides all the drama fit for Shakespearean stage, the dress is laced in comfort, durability and utility. While western societies’ fashion has flip-flopped over the decades from short sleeves to sleeveless to backless and hemlines stretching from ankle up to bobby-sox style, to revolutionary miniskirt and short shorts, and then female slacks, Mary Tyler Moore Capris and bell bottoms, etc. The Gypsy dress meanwhile has stayed 1000 years constant – and that’s because “why change what works” and which magnificently blends the three keys of life: utility - comfort and elegance. It’s the perfect dress for any day, all day and every occasion. The one-size-fits-many feature allows for both pregnancy weight gain – and the sharing habit which is the Gypsy way and the people who invented “to give the shirt off my back”.


    It’s the everything and everywhere dress; the apron’s pockets carry what you need like the “one-tool-that-does-everything Gypsy knife” and that other necessity of the Gypsies at the market-place, (their second home) – the wallet. Yet that actually belongs in the secret pocket attached to the skirt and concealed under the apron in which the ladies joke is where they hide the stolen goods (but wait, are they really joking or…) because a cop know better than putting his hands there .. (FYI: the ladies are joking)



   The Gypsies have been western society's muse having inspired the Bohemians and then later the “traje de flamenco” (flamenco dress).  19th century Spain was going through its own social revolution relative to the Parisians and which was turning the discerning eye of the “fashionistas” (the trendsetters) away from the “grandiose” styles of Paris into their own back yard upon the flamboyant “maja” (Gypsy vendors of the market-place).  The “maja” were using the hypnotic techniques of shinning sequins, contrasting colors and lively patterns to catch the shoppers’ attention and stunning them till it was just a matter of reeling in the mark.


Nevertheless, there is a hell of a lot more to the celebrated Gypsy dress then all that bling bouncing off the wall. For one, there is the elegance and style of the shapely pleated apron and skirt fluidly hanging off the hourglass female form.  Unlike western perception of the beautiful skinny female, Roma favor the voluptuousness of the Mother Goddess; they adore the body with a little “meat on the bones”. The curvaceous female form blending the contours of the Gypsy dress with its varying shades and reflecting bling is genuinely art in motion.


Romani Blouses and Tops

   Its conservative guidelines are in place to protect the purity of the Gypsy spirit nestled within the bearer of the wardrobe and therefore, the apron, for example, isn’t to simply block spaghetti stains yet a lot more serous them then that, as a virtual lead shield blocking radioactive impurities from passing through the gateway into the celestial world of unborn souls; that’s a fancy way of saying protecting the family and its future from contaminations able to spread, divide and leave destruction in its wake – to simply put - destroy the race.


   It’s interesting how the bombastic patriarchal Roma society is really a fašade – a false perception – because it is the women who really have the power – a kind of Cleopatra to Anthony and Caesar or a Shakespearean Lady Macbeth… And why not, she’s the treasurer, secretary, and manager of Roma Enterprises – as well as the spiritual priestess- she is the bearer of the torch and who holds the power and control to pass it on and let the light burn on, or, if she so choses, to fail and allow it to extinguish.

The all-covering Rromni wardrobe and attached dress code carry religious significances from the specific hair braids and covered heads to illuminous colors with swirling patterns of which speaks a hieroglyphic language reflecting vitality – fertility - leadership and other required qualities of the female.


     Religions have historically been a male dominated role yet it is the unconventional Gypsies who do it again, going against the norm, by putting their faith in the female; “In women we trust”.

    While the faithful believe the prayers performed by our religious leaders will help relieve suffering and bring tranquility and peace - the Rromni priestesses offer sacrifices and other offerings to be rewarded from the ancestral sprit world with good fortune known as “bhakt” (luck) – yet not the same kind of luck of Las Vegas or walking down the street and being struck by a bus or just missed – to the Gypsies luck is the blessings of the ancestral spirit world – or karma.  It is the rewards of either an honorable and virtuous life or curses of dishonor and the resulting contaminated and polluted existence.

    And in closing, let us remind everyone that the Roma people, also known as Gypsies, have been inspiring Western art and culture since their peaceful arrival in Europe over 1000 years ago.  All the other Eastern hordes raging behind the sword like the Mongols, Huns, Bulgars, Avars and Cumans, to name just a few, have all since faded away into assimilation, while the Gypsies persevered as Europe largest minority group with an estimated ten to twelve million. Hammer and fiddle was their weapon and commerce their tool of conquest; proving once again that the pen, or tongue in the case of the illiterate Gypsy, is mightier than the sword.

making dress

 By ChuckTodaro

February, 2018


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