The Glory of the Spanish Dress

Article by Cristal G. Orpilla

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Lagartera Bride, Spring 1912 Museo Sorolla, Madrid

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The Flameco.

Bull Fighting.

Influential Style.

Spanish culture has greatly been an inspiration throughout history,  and fashion and art is no exception.  On December 8, 2011, I was invited to a press viewing at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute’s launch of Joaquin Sorolla and the the Glory of the Spanish Dress. The event was hosted by renowned designer, Oscar de la Renta and Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley.

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The exhibition was conceived by Oscar de la Renta and curated by Andre Leon Talley.  It analyzes the rich history of Spain’s regional clothing styles through the beautiful paintings of Valencian artist, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923). Throughout the exhibition,  more than 10 of Sorolla’s vivid depictions of Spanish life is showcased alongside 30+ beautifully rare costumes and accessories that portray Spain’s traditional dress in all its glory. Andre Leon Talley carefully states that “this isn’t an exhibit about fashion.  It’s an exhibit about style in a culture and how everything intersects in life.”

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Additionally, pieces were also selected from the contemporary designs of  Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Stefano Pilati for Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, and Carolina Herrera, to name a few. Each couture piece demonstrates Spain’s everlasting impact on modern fashion. “Each designer, each dress gives you a glimpse of the beauty of Spain,” Andre Leon Talley described. “Whether it’s the inspiration of a flamenco ruffle and flounce with Carolina Herrera or Karl Lagerfeld making that beautiful black dress for Mrs. De la Renta, Oscar’s wife, to wear to the Chanel exhibit in 2005. You can see the ruffles are very, very indicative of what a Spanish lady might wear to Holy week.”

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Perhaps the most memorable piece of the modern couture collection was the 2009 Christian Lacroix couture wedding dress,  which was “inspired by the Macarena, the image of the Holy Virgin in the cathedral in Seville,” Leon Talley explained. When asked what the traditional Spanish styles represented to him, Talley answered that “it represents Refinement, Respect, Rigor.  In that people are dressed according to a tradition that’s been passed down from generation.  Everything is refined and everything is done with detail, from the way a woman covers her hair with a wool scarf, to the loosely sewn buttons on the men’s clothes so that when they walk you hear the silver buttons moving. So there’s always magic in the way one expresses themselves in fashion.”

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Joaquín Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress is on display until March 10, 2012 at the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute.

Queen Sofía Spanish Institute
684 Park Avenue (between 68th & 69th St)
New York, NY 10065
T: (212) 628 0420


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Cristal

Cristal

Online Editor, Beauty Writer at Beauty-Goodies
As a New York City-based registered nurse with backgrounds in pharmacology, medical research, medical spa aesthetics, and cosmetic dermatology, Cristal became interested in the ways people go about achieving beauty. When she's not working full-time at Cornell Medical Center or performing aesthetic treatments at a midtown NYC medical spa, she daylights as a beauty writer, and has a penchant for scoring sample sale treasures, bellydancing, playing dress-up, and of course, chatting about beauty goodies.
Cristal

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