In the first years of the April Fair, the spouses of the cattle traders
used to go with their husbands, usually Gypsies, or simple peasants,
dressed in their humble calico robes, work dresses with two or
three frills. They were nice-looking dresses with sparkling colors that
enhanced the women's bodies. The 1929 Iberoamerican Exposition was the
christening and definitive acceptance of the Flamenco dress by the
upper classes as a necessary article for attending the April Fair.
The original shape of the dress, the "guitar body", enhanced
the woman's qualities and masked its defets: A low neck area round or
square, according to the fashion, hair pulled back in a bun to make the
neck appear thinner, the dress tightened around the waist and widening
at the hips and the frills are placed to have the woman walk in a more
boasting fashion. The dress has been earning a reputation as very
easy-to-wear and flirty with the years thanks to the different accessories:
Manila scarves, flowers placed in the hair, etc.
The Flamendo dress has varied according to fashion and the economic
situation but without losing its uniqueness. In the forties with the
passing of the Civil War it reached its zenith. The women stood out
at the Fair with their frilled dresses and were just as long as they
are now, straight and spotted, with austere fabrics, complemented with
flowers, fine combs, bracelets and hidden money-pockets that have
always generally been a custom according to style.
In the fifties calico continued to be the main cloth, but the dress
was enriched with stitched lace or belts, for comfort at the same
time fo dancing or horse-back riding. The dress was shortened and the
footwear was visible.
The economic boom of the sixties and seventies had repercussions for
the flamenco dress, it was shortened to the knee or half-way up the
calf. The frills were cloacked and they began to use the "tergal",
a base of cotton and an embroidered cloth as the main decorative feature.
The sleeves reached the elbows or the wrist and were stitched with little
frills. In the seventies they were lengthened to the ankles and were
fashioned with bright colors.
In the eighties they were more emphasized and the fashion was to have
printed tapestries. In the nineties the dress lost its volume, it
purified its outline and looked more for comfort but without losing its
sensuality and essence. The waist has been dropped, the silhoutte has
been marked and the spotted and straight style is back. Simpleness has
returned to the flamenco dress and continues going back to its origins.