Like many a good Londoner I am fleeing the capital during the Olympics. While the rest of the globe is no doubt getting worked up with excitement for the big event, Londoners have spent the last year being harassed by the authorities and their employers to get off every transport system available to us to make way for the extra million visitors arriving.
We are being ordered to work from home, regardless of whether that is an option granted by employers (mine ordered me to consider working from home but also decreed that this was not an alternative to coming in - huh?). We are being told we should all walk to work, regardless of how far away you actually live from work, and equally get in earlier to avoid the crush. I'd have to start walking at dawn! We are also told we shouldn't drive, shouldn't go out, that we should be jolly grateful for the surface to air missile launchers being assembled on residential rooftops in some boroughs by the army instead of protesting about it (oh yes). In short we good citizens of London have effectively being told we should just shut up and make ourselves scarce while the games are on so that everybody else can have a great time. Sod that, I'm off. Back to Andalusia!
I often grab a couple of UK fashion magazines in the airport on my way to Spain to bring along to the beach with me so I can catch up on what has been going in fashion. I quite like UK Bazaar for it's moodboards on the latest trends. This season it's been quite amusing to see that flamenco is being touted as a trend and for the last couple of months Bazaar has featured it on their moodboard.
If you've been following this blog for a while you'll know I am a flamenco dancer (hence the frequent travel to the South of Spain). So with a closet already bursting with flamenco costumes and more than a decade of collecting clothes inspired by them, I feel that if there is one trend I can do this season blindfolded it is this one!
I understand flamenco as an art form and a way of life so sometimes seeing the fashion industry reduce a few outdated stereotypes about what flamenco is down to a trend can be irritating. I know fashion is not ever really supposed to be a literal interpretation of what has inspired its designs but sometimes I feel like very little thought has been put into putting a flamenco label on something. Has it got a frill? Has it got a flower? Polka dots? It must be a flamenco trend! Some of the worst misunderstanding of where flamenco comes from is displayed by the bigger glossy magazines. I've seen flamenco described as Argentina's national dance (yes Grazia, I'm talking to you), confused with Salsa, Latin Ballroom, randomly associated with the flamingo bird and with Mexico.
This season however, I was very excited about the collections and their interpretation. Also dubbed Gypsy Luxe or Uptown Gypsy by the fashion press, designers took inspiration from flamenco without resorting to a pastiche of the flamenco dancer in her spotty frilled dress.
|Image Sources: Harper's Bazaar UK June 2012 Edition|
There was the purity of white broderie anglaise and macramé, the cheerful bright feria-like colours of canary yellow or sharp citrus shades of lime and orange. In stark contrast there was the drama of sombre black worked into lace and open crochet work, allowing a darker, more sultry mood to surface. Ornate embellishment was a homage to Andalusia itself - the lavishness of bullfighters' costumes, the gypsies love of gold and self adornment, the candelabras, crucifixes, and rosaries of religious festivals and the visual splendour of Andalusia's rich architectural heritage from its history of being a cultural meeting point for Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Bazaar at least got the destination right. Ole! If you can't read the text of the article from the top photo it says:
"The Destination: Andalusia
The look: Go for romance with ruffles and florals in bright greens and yellows, accented with dramatic black
Wear it with... shoulder-sweeping chandelier earrings and an elegant woven basket, perfect for a trip to the local market"
So how am I faring this summer on Bazaar's checklist?
- Destination? Tick!
- The look? Ruffles and florals in abundance (though not in green and yellow) and I can't move for dramatic black in my wardrobe. Double tick.
- Chandelier earrings? A large collection.
- Elegant woven basket? This was the only thing I had been missing but on my last trip to Andalusia I met up with one of my dearest friends who is also a flamenco dancer and she presented me with this beauty for my birthday! You can't get a more flamenco basket than that. There is even a local market in the town I visit to take it to.
I was a little disappointed to see Sophia Loren on Bazaar's moodboard. Hello fashion interns at Bazaar! Sophia Loren is indeed lovely but she is Italian! How about some proper real gypsy fire and flamenco figuras to inspire your readership? So here are my choices of some real flamenco women to inspire you - the wonderful Queen of the Gyspies, Carmen Amaya and the Jerezana singer and dancer Lola Flores from my Pinterest board.
If there is one place in the world you can dress up in flamenco fantasia and revel in it, that place is Andalusia. You can see my holiday interpretation of the flamenco trend in my next post of which here is a sneak preview...