Kelderars (Kotlyars) are Romanian Gypsies. They made caldrons and baking trays on mobile anvils or mended leaking dishes. Initially they traveled through Danube principalities, but after 1856 headed to neighbor countries. Soon Kotlyar tabors arrived in Poland, Russia, France, Spain and England.
In ХХ century some of those restless Gypsies got to both Americas and even to Africa. Everywhere their exotic appearance evoked great interest. It was Kelderars who became creators of Gypsy national costume. Naturally women looked more outstanding with their necklaces made of gold coins and bright skirts. But men’s costume was not less perfect. It was both beautiful and comfortable — details which had to show their owner’s wealth didn’t ruin the whole impression of complete harmony.
An attentive observer can see the sequence of borrowings. Ornaments of laces on the clothes are a result of Hungarian influence. Natives sometimes overdecorated their attire but Gypsies didn’t: patterns on their sleeves and quilted trousers looked trim but not gaudy.
One more way to show prosperity was decoration of jacket and waistcoat. Big silver buttons, “flower buds”, symbolized wealth — sometimes they were acorn-sized, sometimes as big as an egg. “Flower buds” were empty of course, but their shine in the sun fascinated and commanded people’s respect. They were also used as security. As stated above Kelderars were tinkers. Some people didn’t trust tabor craftsmen, who were as free as the air. To comfort a client Kotlyars simply tore a silver “acorn” off and thus guaranteed safety of clients’ property. Kotlyars’ felt hats could be of different styles — they were also borrowed from peasants of Eastern Europe. But as tabor tinkers went far from their motherland French or Russian people took their hats for a special Gypsy piece of clothes.
Kotlyars had enough taste not to overuse details. Nothing could ruin the first impression of their silhouette. Their clothes emphasized power, strength, men’s liability. Long staffs with silver knobs were extremely fashionable. ut the most important is that if a family were poor and didn’t have expensive accessories it didn’t leap in the eye. Kotlyar clothes were so stylish, that they could do without gold. Neither fretted cloth no holes in women’s skirts spoilt the impression and even added special charm to Gypsies’ appearance. It’s like with ripped jeans — comfortable cowboy piece of clothes which conquered the world forty years ago and became a symbol of freedom for generation of sixties.