Balaclava. A Style Story Vs. A Baklava

November 13, 2019

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

But come on, who doesn’t think of baklava when speaking of balaclavas? The first time I heard the word [balaclava], my mind created that animated movie cloud with a baklava 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 baklavas at all. Balaclava and baklava don’t have anything to do with each other.

Or do they?

The name of balaclavas comes from their use at the Battle of Balaclava, Ukraine, in 1854. It was during the Crimean War and it 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. British women knitted head coverings for underprepared troops fighting. There you go, knitted headgear to keep the British tropps 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 that is, in case you’re enjoying your baklava and the serotonin plays a trick on you right now.

I can’t remember when was the first time I had baklava. It must have been over coffee, in my teenage years, one day at home. I, still, enjoy this ritual of having a delicious bite over coffee whenever I have coffee with someone I love. Luckily, I love myself, too. I remember mom saying, back then, it’s the perfect size bite for coffee. It’s the balance when in the presence of a black coffee, mmm!

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.

Why would anyone think of a connection like that? Why not? This is everyday life, to quote Coldplay’s latest album. This is what googling stuff can do to one. It’s so fun! Not as fun as watching movies is, but it’s, still, so fun!

It takes some visionaries to put something so unique into thin air and, then, a couple of more years, sometimes a hundred, to turn a balaclava into a trend. My truth about the balaclava came, only recently, to me. 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. They applauded it. Not. Gucci and Marine Serre are doing it now, hello! My enthusiasm was obviously higher than theirs. I was so happy to not only appreciate the movie for its relevance and humour, still, but for its style, too! Yum!

I must say that having a baklava, over coffee, with the love of your dreams, while wearing a balaclava and kissing, outside, in winter, seems like a good moment for the twi words to meet, wawaweewa!

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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