I've been promising to post some photos of La Dia de Las Mujeres, or Ladies Day at Feria in Jerez. When I went through my photos again I was reminded what a photographer's dream the occasion is. There are just too many wonderful images to share in just one post so warning, this is a picture heavy post and this is only part one!
I was struck when trying to make a selection just how other worldly some of the images are and how you can really feel like you've stepped back in time to when it was all happening in a previous century.
The dress of choice on Ladies Day is a traditional flamenco style dress with frills called the traje de gitana, usually accessorised with large long colourful earrings, large bright flowers (usually roses) pinned into an elaborate hairdo and the highest pair of espadrilles one can manage. There are some daredevils who wear high heels (see my previous post on the topic of footwear at feria here). However despite the continuing tradition, fashion and changing tastes do influence the interpretation of the traje de gitana.
In previous decades the style was a much fuller skirt with starched stiff frills that started closer to the waist, much like the souvenir dolls still sold in tacky tourist shops. They were much more of a puffed up fussy affair which made the wearer look like a walking meringue. In the last ten years or so a sleeker and more elegant silhouette has emerged cut very close to the body and the frills don't start until below the thighs. More reminiscent of an Edwardian style of dress, I think it is far more flattering to most women than the old style.
This year the fashion trend at feria was the addition of a small fringed shoulder shawl draped around the neckline of the dress and draping seductively down the back to show some bare skin. Sometimes it was a shawl proper, in either a matching or contrasting fabric to the main dress, or sometimes just a length of braided fringing. As many girls get their dresses tailor made to fit the fashion can also change in terms of the types of fabrics, colours and prints used. Although traditional polka dots and bright colours are very popular there is a huge range of dresses on display in a rainbow of hues every year. This year cotton eyelet or broderie anglaise seemed to be a popular choice of fabric.
Pretty florals and jaunty polka dots are still a popular choice for many as is a true fiery Andalusian red.
And no expense is spared when kitting out the kids in feria gear. Isn't this little girl adorable?
I clearly wasn't the only one who thought so!
Having a ride around the fairground on horseback or in a traditional horse and carriage is a popular thing to do during the day. It's not cheap but it's quite a romantic thing to do and it's a form of promenading around the fairground to be seen. And when you look this gorgeous all dressed up why wouldn't you want to be seen?
Another popular trend I noticed this year that added a more modern touch to the traje de gitana was a heavily embellished band around the legs just where the body of the dress meets the frills, like the black dress on the blonde lady below.
And here you can see the dresses in action. These are what these dresses are made for - dancing!
The feria has traditionally been a horse trading fair so even the horses get dressed up for the day with elaborate decorations on their reins and their manes groomed immaculately. The riders and coach drivers get dressed up in traditional gear complete with three piece riding suits, traditional hats and knee high riding boots despite the temperatures sometimes exceeding the high thirties. Now that is commitment!
I particularly liked this image of a horse rider in traditional gear on her mobile phone!
And in case you missed it this is what I wore on Ladies Day posted here. I'll be back with Part Two soon, which will be more of a focus on what older ladies wear on Ladies Day.