Balaclava. A Style Story Vs. A Baclava

November 13, 2019

Also spelled Baklava. Cristina, are we going to spell all the words in the world now? We had been in bed telling stories and spelling words in the dark for two hours when Inga, my youngest niece, asked me one night I put her and her sister to bed.

But come on, who doesn’t think of baclava when speaking of balaclavas? The first time I heard the word – balaclava, my mind created that animated movie cloud with a baclava in it. Then I tried to say balaclava again and spell it correctly. Then to say balaclava again, spell it correctly and don’t think of baclavas at all. Balaclava and baclava don’t merely have any connection whatsoever.

Or do they, though?

The name of balaclavas comes from their use at the Battle of Balaclava, a town near Sevastopol, in 1854 during the Crimean War, that was part of the Siege of Sevastopol, lead by the Ottoman Empire, to capture the port and fortress of Sevastopol, Russia’s principal naval base on the Black Sea; a town where British troops wore knitted headgear to keep them warm.

Long story, but I bet you didn’t see it coming.

Many years later, 107 years later, to be exact, Yuri Nikulin wears an orange balaclava in Leonid Gaidai‘s classic Bootleggers, a short comedy film that brought Gaidai his Cannes nomination. In 1961, in case you’re enjoying your baclava and the serotonin plays tricks on you right now.

I can’t remember when was the first time I had baclava. It must have been over coffee, in my teenage years, one day at home. We still have this ritual of having a delicious bite over coffee whenever we have coffee together. I remember mom saying back then how it has the perfect size for coffee. And the balance of it all when in the presence of a black coffee, mm!

The baklava is a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo (Italian dough) filled with chopped nuts, sweetened and held together with honey, developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul in 15th century.

There you go. A picture and a connection.

And why on earth would anyone think of a big connection like that? Why not? This is everyday life, to quote Coldplay’s latest album. Because googling stuff at all times is so fun. Not as fun as watching movies is, but still fun!

In the end, however, it comes down to a merely as sweet a comparison as the one above: Nikulin (whom I saw as a kid in Russian movies) and Leandra Medine (so many more years later). She is not only one of the coolest girls around, but also the contemporary supreme queen of balaclavas in today’s fashionsphere.

Courtesy of Leandra Medine and Man Repeller

Why only now the balaclava thing when the trend has been around from 2018? It only recently came to me. My truth about the balaclava. I knew I knew it from somewhere and it wasn’t the Wikipedia, nor the Formula 1 races I used to obsessively watch with my brother when we were kids at home. Yes, the racers wear protective balaclavas also.

It was a night around Christmas and we were all together by the fireplace watching The Bootleggers, that it all came back to me and I was like Oooooh! and enthusiastically started to tell everyone by the fireplace how this thing is huge in fashion. Gucci and Marine Serre are doing it, hello! My enthusiasm was obviously even bigger than theirs. I was so happy to not only appreciate the movie for its relevance and humour, still, but also its style!

I am going to get myself a baclava and stress my blood related to watch the video that I am going to do, wahaha.

In your mailbox would be ideal, yet in your e-mail is pretty close, yay!
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Hey, this is Cristina Pavelescu wearing a music cassette sweater, decoding (life) style and writing from wherever, yet always living in OZ, a world I invite you into. To smile in front of our screens (and live one day), put any kind of questions, answer in writing (or imagination) and marvel at fashion which is, in fact, style.


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