Habsburg Spain grew in power, and Spanish fashions became popular throughout Western Europe, such as Spanish capes, corsets, and false thigh-high boots. Whalebone, cloth, and wire cages were used to create farthingales, which were bell-shaped skirts underclothes made out of whalebone, cloth, and wire. It took Renaissance women hours to get dressed because the style was cumbersome. A Moorish culture dominated parts of Iberia between 711 AD and 1492 when they were expelled.
This heavily influenced Spanish traditional clothing. As the culture of the Moors developed, intricate embroideries with jewels (often as buttons) and perfumes came to be prevalent, as well as heavy girdles and collars. People wore heavy gold necklaces adorned with precious stones, and the color black became popular for special occasions. There were often gold or silver threads used to decorate clothing in Spain that was typically made from rich and heavy fabrics.
The Spanish styles, however, failed to evolve with the rapid changes of the time. Thus, traditional Spanish fashion evolved into French influence over the years. 17th-century European fashion began to be led by cities like Paris, which exhibited greater innovation. While Spanish fashion is very modern today, special event dresses continue to be inspired by traditional Spanish styles. Flamenco performers still wear traditional Spanish inspired dresses in red, black, or white to display their Spanish influences, with their hair in a bun, and a rose behind their ear.
Traditional flamenco clothing consists of black or red tuxedo shirts and slacks for men. Also preserved over the years are traditional Spanish bullfighters’ costumes, which are elaborate outfits named after the flamboyant Andalusian fashion of the 18th century. “Light suits” are distinguished by their sequins, threads, and embroidery, and are known as “suits of lights”. Aside from these specific Spanish costumes, every region in Spain has its own traditional attire and Spanish-inspired outfits.
They are rarely worn, but you may see them in parades and celebrations held in a region. Traditionally, Spanish inspired dresses are reserved for special events and celebrations. Mantillas, peinetas, and gilets are the most common today.
Spanish weddings are often adorned with the mantilla, a traditional veil piece worn during religious celebrations. On the head or shoulders, this light lace or silk scarf is worn pinned over a comb and over the shoulders. The mantilla is held in place by the hair comb, which holds the hair up. Typically, the spikes are tortoiseshell in color and are long and curved. On special occasions, peinetas are used as a classic piece of Spanish-inspired clothing.
This is the word gilet, or vest in modern Spanish, which comes from the term Jellico. As part of traditional Spanish inspired dresses, it is a sleeveless jacket, similar to a vest or waistcoat. In the 19th century, a gilet was a shaped bodice like a man’s waistcoat. Historically, they were fitted and embroidered. The modern gilet is an outdoor garment that provides extra heat. El Quixote’s first edition appeared in 1605 with gilecuelo as a diminutive of the word.
Historically, Spanish materials were cultivated to produce textiles, and crafts have long been nurtured due to the climate. The Industrial Revolution, which began in the 1800s, took longer than in northern Europe, and mass-production of clothing began slowly during the 20th century. The Middle Ages saw widespread domestic sales of wool from Castilian plains; flax (used in fine and not-so-fine linen) grew abundantly in Galicia and the Moors brought sericulture and silk weaving to Andalusia and Valencia.
The Spanish colonies were first to introduce exotic dye stuffs in the sixteenth century, which gave rise to brilliant reds and deep blacks, colors that continue to be a part of Spanish art and dress nowadays. Knitting, introduced by the Moors via Andalusia to Europe, also appeared in the Middle Ages. The nineteenth century in Spain saw a rise in mechanization, while crafts like leatherwork and embroidery have endured.
An era of golden prosperity
The first Spanish manuals devoted to the transmission of superior skills in tailoring were published during this Golden Age when Spain was wealthy and powerful, and the artistic and literary arts flourished. The first book, published in 1580 and reprinted in 1589, was written by a Basque tailor, the second was written by a Frenchman converted to Valencian, and the third edition was written by a Madrid father and son; thus, the books represented all major regions.
They show how fashions and allegiances changed over time in Spain, as well as the demands of an educated upper class. These patterns show that Spanish garments played a major role in fashion for men as well as women, as well as robes for the military orders of Santiago and Calatrava, as well as handbags, capes, and military banners. Later, the work of Anduxar (1640) introduced Hungarian and French suits into French and Moorish gowns – a sign of Hungary’s alliance with England and the rise of French fashions, which had slimmer silhouettes than their Spanish counterparts.
As the cut of Spanish noblemen changed, the significantly more influential attire composed of doublets, jerkins, trunk hose, and long cloaks gave way to the more singular padded breeches (calzones), which better resembled their northern counterparts. The crinkly white ruffs of the Spaniards (lechuguillas) gave way to men’s golillas, a simple semicircular collar built out of cardboard around the same time.
In preventing hard manual labor and keeping heads high and haughty, both types of neckwear served much the same purpose, as did their matching cuffs. Those of the upper classes were similarly restrained: wearing elaborate jewelry and bell-shaped skirts over farthing ales (verdugados) constructed of willow bands, they wore dresses with rich, patterned patterns covered by richly patterned gowns. During the 1630s and 1670s, this garment underwent many changes in shape before reaching immense proportions.
It first appeared in the 1470s. Later it became acknowledged as the distance of Spain from the mainstream. In its early manifestation, it was adopted by neighboring states. In sum, this awareness and pride in domestic designer products were evident in the addition to the TV news credits of a presenter’s clothes by Adolfo Domínguez, a design legend with classic, unstructured tailoring, and bold monochromatic colors. There are certain elements that are inherited from its august forefather during this second Golden Age of Spanish fashion.