Louboutin & bulerías
In May this year, Christian Louboutin, luxury shoes designer, launched some photographs with the Spanish actress Rossy de Palma attired with fans, shawls, metallic combs and flamenco guitars. The French brand announced their collection Flamencabadedicated and inspired by flamenco. “I always wanted to do something related to flamenco because it has a universal dimension”, explained the actress to the magazine Harper’s Bazaar, “it has the sadness of moans but the joy of living, the frills, the spots and even the flamenco tap!”. The presentation was in Los Angeles, with a flamenco show including tapas and paella, and in the advertising video there is a guitar playing bulerias and you can see Louboutin clapping his hands. It is not the only big, fashion company which has shown their interest for flamenco style recently: in June 2022, Dior surprised everybody with a fashion show at Plaza de España in Seville, with a collection as a tribute to the richness of the Andalucian savoir-faire [saber hacer] [know how to do it]. The fashion show started with a flamenco dancing by El Yiyo and Belén López, and Dior’s creative director, the Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, explained that one of their inspirations was Carmen Amaya, the dancer we pay tribute to at the Tablao de Carmen.
Palomo Spain and Rosalía: the success of the Andalucian aesthetics
The proposals of these French fashion brands confirm that the flamenco aesthetics is livelier than ever in the referents for artists and creators and even within our borders. In 2018, Icon magazine dedicated their number 50 to the young Spanish talents under the title “Let’s talk about the future”. On one of the covers of the publication, appeared two faces who have bet from the very beginning and still bet on flamenco and that, as the El País magazine said, have left mark on the current Spanish culture: Rosalía and Palomo Spain. The Catalan singer has used elements of the flamenco universe and the Spanish tradition (tassels, bulls, hand palms, long finger nails, frills) in her album El Mal Quererwhich has turned her into an international star. On the other hand, Palomo, a designer from Cordoba, has made references to flamenco in almost all his designs. “Palomo Spain transforms Madrid into a big Andalucian yard”, titled Álvaro Rey in Vanitatis in November 2021. In 2023 Palomo Spain designed the costumes for the show Orígenes by the flamenco dancer Eduardo Guerrero, one of the most avant-garde flamenco dancers in terms of his movements and image.
“Flamenco is in fashion”
Apart from them in Spain, there have been fashion designers vindicating the beauty of flamenco for decades. Juana Martín is one of them. A gipsy designer from Cordoba has become the first woman in our country to walk along the Paris Haute Couture cat walks. Only Balenciaga and Paco Rabanne had done this before. Her relationship with fashion started when she was a child, sewing garments that her father then sold at his stall. The flamenco inspiration has always been a part of her and on some occasions she has complained about how little we, the Spaniards, appreciate our own culture: “I have had to bring Dior to Seville for them to say that flamenco is in fashion”, she said to Harper’s Bazaar in August 2023.
The first female flamenco dancer wearing trousers
Among the flamenco garments there are dress codes and trends that have changed along the years. At the beginning of the 20th century, for example, no woman danced wearing trousers. But Carmen Amaya arrived in the United States in 1941 and wore trousers to dance. Carmen made hold of what is called “short suit” (also called country style, Andalucian or Cordoba-style suit) composed of a waistcoat, a jacket and trousers, which until that time, was for male flamenco dancers only. Today, although it is more frequent to see female flamenco dancers dance in a dress or frilly skirts it is common to see contemporary artists dance wearing trousers, such as Sara Baras, Rocío Molina and Olga Pericet.
Metallic combs, shawls and aprons
“Fashion changes and this year, our backs are visible”, comments Mimo Agüero, the owner and director of the Tablao de Carmen. “Some years ago, at the tablaos, the dancers, instead of wearing classic-cut tight, high trousers and a bullfighter jacket, started to wear conventional jackets. We, at the Tablao keep traditional style flamenco garments for the artists: guitar players and singers in trousers and black shirts”, explains Mimo. At the Tablao de Carmen, the male flamenco dancers occasionally dance in a suit jacket or waistcoat and a neck handkerchief. The female dancers usually dance in a one-piece or a two-piece woman suit (a shirt and filly skirt and apron). They choose their attire before going on the stage, according to the flamenco style they are going to dance: if, for example, they are going to dance soleá, taranto or seguirilla (usually dramatic style dances) they choose black or dark shades. For joyful styles, the attire has to include bright colours, and flowers or bright shawls. They decorate their attire with accessories proper to the flamenco garments: frills and shawls (a garment placed on the shoulders which can contain tassles and are tied on the chest) and aprons, tied to their waist. The hair style is also very important. The female dancers always wear their hair tightly tied in a braid, or a pony tail with a ribbon and usually decorated with colourful flowers and large metallic combs.
The catwalk with flamenco trends
The Simof catwalk, the International Flamenco Fashion Week, is celebrated every January and sets the trend for what will be worn in flamenco fairs, romerías, tablaos, contests and festivals during the year. In 2023 the favourite outfits for the year were coral colour with embroideries, puff and balloon-like sleeves, midi length skirts to see the shoes, laces and black and white spots. Next year, Simof will take place in Seville from January 15 to 24 where the flamenco brands will disclose their proposals for the next season. We are expecting the trends for 2024 at the tablaos which are part of the flamenco image, something as full of life as fashion and the flamenco art itself.