Dress Up For the Feria in Seville, Spain
I have always been a girly girl. I enjoy dressing up and wearing those big high heels. I love getting my hair done and purchasing that new hot red lipstick to wear for a night out. When I first heard about the April Feria in Seville, I was hooked. It sounded right up my alley – Lots of bright colors, good food, dancing, a never-ending party, and most of all, dressing up in the traditional Spanish Flamenco dress. I knew I was going to have a lot of fun with this!
So today, I have come up with a list of essential things that you’ll need to know to dress up for the Feria and have the time of your life!
First Things First- To Find the Perfect Flamenco Styled Dress (Traje de Gitana or Faralaes)
No two dresses are the same. I saw a little of everything at the Feria. Some lace, some polyester. Some with shawls, some without shawls. Some solid colors, some with multi-colored patterns. Some long to the ground and some knee length. My point is, choose one that you like, and that fits your budget. Money doesn't grow on trees, and unfortunatly dresses for the Feria can be quite expensive. They range from €100 - €1,000, depending on material, design, and quality, but a typical dress will cost you around €400. The quality of the fabric really makes or breaks the look of the dress.
Many people from Seville wait with anticipation all year to purchase their new dress for the Feria. The top designers come out with the new styles for the year in January and February. They have fashion shows where all the designers display their work for the anxiously waiting public eye to finally see. Some of the top designers to look out for are – Aurora Gaviño, Luis Fernández, Pilar Rubio, José Hidalgo, Rocio Peralta, and Lina. Seville's Feria is especially famous because it is the first city in Spain to hold their Feria for the year, (two weeks after the Easter holiday) thus, they are the first city in Spain to display the new fashions of the year. People watch the fashion shows and gather ideas of how they want their dress to be. Some people choose to buy their dress directly from the designers themselves through their shops. Alterations are made to change the dress to fit their body perfectly. Some have their dress made from start to finish. They gather pictures from the fashion show to take to their chosen seamstress who will then copy the picture and make a dress for them, doing alternations along the way. Some interesting sites to checkout for more information on the most current and popular Feria styles are: We Love Flamenco , Simof , Entre Ciriosy Volantes , and BulevarSur .
Fun Fact: The designer, Lina, was chosen by Grace Kelly to design her dress for the Feria when she attended in 1966.
The Feria party lasts all day and throughout the night. In fact, the party never ends for seven days straight! Many women have daytime Feria dresses AND evening Feria dresses. The daytime dresses tend to be lightweight and brightly colored. The evening dresses tend to be darker in color and are often worn with a warm sweater shawl. Many women attend multiple days (if not all) of the Feria and wear different dresses for each day. When you think about the cost of seven daytime dresses as well at seven evening dresses, well, that can add up quickly, and easily break your budget! So wear what you can, have fun, and make it work.
(It must also be said here that some women don't dress up at all when they attend the Feria. I saw a good amount of women wearing nice clothing – adding accessories here and there to dress up some typical black pants and a blouse. Dressing up isn’t for everyone. Don’t miss out on the Feria because you don’t want to or can’t afford to dress up.)
Where to Purchase a Flamenco Styled Dress
- El Corte Ingles – Prior to the Feria, this large department store sells high quality Feria clothing at a mid-range price. Great clothing options for men and children as well. Plaza del Duque de la Victoria, 8, S1
- Sonibel – This is my favorite boutique for Feria dresses. They have modern, high-end, stylish dresses that make you look twice when you pass by the window displays, but also think twice after seeing the price tag. Their style is very specific and easily recognized, often with a full skirt on the bottom and lace fabric. Calle Cuna, 24
- Raquel Terám – This boutique looks gorgeous with a unique style of their own, at a high price. Their style consists of piecing together different matching fabrics within the dress. They have a really nice selection and it definitely would be worth a stop. Calle Blanca de los Rios
Design and Make Your Own Dress
- Julián López – This is a store where you can buy high quality fabrics. A typical flamenco styled dress will need 8 meters-15 meters of fabric to complete, depending upon the style that you are wanting. This store sells a large variety of fabrics. There are so many choices that would be perfect for the Feria that it might be a bit overwhelming. But, if you are hoping to make your perfect dress then this shop is for you! Calle O'Donnell, 42
- Almacenes Velasco – If designing and making your own dress is the route you are planning on taking, don't forget to check this store out. They have a great variety of ribbons, lace, buttons, and anything else that you might need to complete your dress. Calle Francos, 30
- Diego Sanchez Murube– This is a fantastic talented seamstress located in the City Center of Seville near Plaza Nueva on Zaragoza Street. He specializes in exclusive designs for special events such as the Feria. Here is his contact information: email@example.com, +34 615547997, Facebook page- @sanchezmurubemaisoncouture
- Rent a Dress – If you'd rather rent a dress than buy one, check out the online shop, Alpagui. All accessories are included. It’s a great option for travelers.
- Buy Second Hand –
- Flea Market– This market sells secondhand dresses for a reasonable price. Open every Thursday from 7 AM- 3 PM. Calle Feria
- Libélula– The week before the Feria this shop sells secondhand dresses. Calle Cuna
- Buy & Sell Website– Similar to the American Craigslist, this is a public buy and sell website for all sorts of items. It is used throughout Spain and often there are many dresses for the Feria posted. Milanuncios.com
- Borrow From a Local Friend – Luckily, this is what I was able to do! My local Sevillian friend gathered several dress options for me from her friends and family. I chose the two that fit the best and went with it. With the help of a couple of safety pins, I made them work.
No Feria dress is complete without all of the accessories that go with it. The accessories make the outfit in my opinion. When accessorizing for the Feria, ask yourself this –
Is it colorful? Is it big? If the answer is YES, then you are on the right track.
Expect to spend about €200 total on all of these accessories, depending on the quality.
The Essential Accessories That You Need Are:
- A Shawl – The shawl matches your dress, and you drape it around your shoulders. Often times you buy a decorative pin to tie in the middle of your chest, to hold the shawl in place. Like mentioned above, often times they have lightweight shawls for the daytime and then heavier warmer shawls for the evening. Feel free to remove your shawl as you please.
- A Fan – This is the one accessory that I didn't have during my time at the Feria. It isn’t one that you necessarily need but it would make for great pictures and could come in helpful during the hot afternoon hours.
- The Earrings, Necklace, & Bracelets – All of your jewelry should color coordinate with the dress that you are wearing. They should be big, gaudy, and super fun.
- A Flower – This is the most important accessory of them all. The flower, THE BIG FLOWER. The Spanish girls place it right on top of their head in the front. It might seem a little strange at first but just role with it. I attached mine with bobby pins and it held in place the whole night. It totally made the outfit! According to some of the Feria fashion blogs that I have recently read, the style is moving more towards placing the flower behind your head by your bun, but I would say the majority of girls still wore it right on top of their head. Some fashion bloggers also state that using multiple flowers instead of one is becoming more popular. Pick what you like!
- The Shoes – Your shoes should be high heels of some sort, hopefully the right size of heel to perfectly hold up your dress so it doesn’t drag on the ground. My shoes were color coordinating with my outfits and were wedge heel styled. They were comfortable for the first few hours, but then my feet started to really hurt from all the standing, walking and dancing. I was so glad that I had brought flip-flops in my bag just in case. They totally saved my feet from some very bad blisters. So, come prepared!
- A Hidden Purse – I noticed that a lot of women weren’t carrying purses with them. I wondered how they were carrying their keys, phones, (tampons) etc. Then I noticed a woman discreetly lifting up her skirt and pulling out items from a hidden purse that was attached to her leg. It was amazing and so clever. I wish I would of known about this secret earlier.
Where to Purchase the Best Accessories
- Fans – Check out these three stores all located on Calle Sierpes: Artesanias Medina, Juan Toronada, & Zadi
- Everything Else:
- Pitusa Gasul – Calle Francos, 31
- Flamenco Pasion – Plaza Jesus de la Pasion, 8
- Manuela Macias – Calle Cuna, 31
- Sevilla Concha Gavino – Calle Cuna, 46
The Hair and Makeup
Feria styled hair consists of a fancy updo of some sort, either a bun or a braided/ twisted ponytail. Keep it smooth and classy looking. Make sure it is done well and tight, and sprayed with a good amount of hairspray so it doesn’t fall out with all of the dancing that you will most likely be doing. For the makeup, make sure to make it bold and bright, just like your dress and accessories. Color coordinate your eye shadow and your dress (slightly). Wear that bright red or purple lipstick and apply those fake lashes if that's your thing. Don't forget the rosy cheeks!
- Hair and Makeup Artist- Fran Alonso is a fabulous hair and makeup artist that stays up to date with the current styles and trends. He is located in the city center of Seville near Plaza del Museo. His contact information is: Facebook page- @franalonsostyle, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://franalonsopeluqueros.com
The Perfect Place for Photos
All of the pictures from this post were taken at Plaza de España. It is the perfect spot for some great photos in your dress. I felt like I was walking around in a movie set as my husband and son followed me around and took my picture. Play around with the staircases and bridges. Maybe go for a horse and carriage ride around the plaza in your attire and have someone take a few shots. Don’t overlook stepping into Parque de Maria Lusia as well, which is just right next to Plaza de España. During the springtime, the flowers are in bloom and it is a gorgeous backdrop for some spectacular photos. Don’t forget about taking pictures with orange trees as well. You are in Seville after all.
Now it’s your turn to dress up for the Feria! Comment below with any additional questions or tips. I’d be thrilled to hear about your experience at the Feria!