Most people associate the word “Catalan” with a language that is spoken in several areas of Spain, including the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Valencia, and Aragon, which is an accurate association.
But the term embodies so much more than language, embracing a culture, history, geographical area, and people. For this reason, the Catalan language is also spoken in Andorra, Alghero (Sardinia, Italy), and parts of southern France.
Catalonia, or Catalunya, enjoys a common history with many Mediterranean islands for two reasons: (1) they share the same line of settlers (i.e., the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, North Africans, etc.) and (2) Catalonia settled many of the islands.
Once a cohesive culture had been formed, the Catalan people united with Aragon and emerged a great maritime power. As an important player in the Kingdom of Aragon, together they ruled Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, and the southern half of Italy for centuries, exporting the Catalan culture, cuisine, language, and costume!
So influential was this kingdom that it rears its head in our pop culture with video games like Age of Empires 2: the Conquerors and Europa Universalis, which reenact legends in playable history! What a legacy! And all that, because of a marriage!
Heir to all this rich history, Catalan designer Georgina Vendrell was born1983 in Barcelona. After graduating from the Institut català de la moda, Georgina was chosen by an international jury to present her a/w 2009 collection at 080 Barcelona Fashion.
The collection is entitled “51” in reference to the number of total sun-less days during the bitter cold winters of Finland.
Drawing from a dark palette, Georgina reaches for a simple, sporty look that combines wintry functionality with innovative styles and hints to her nation’s past.
Stay tuned for more on Georgina Vendrell and the styles of the Mediterranean! I have a surprise in store for you, which I will unveil next week!