The sleeve to the elbow, the length of the skirt below the knee, the neck to the box, the crystal stockings, the court shoes and, as a culmination, the mantilla on a tortoiseshell comb. All rigorous black. These unwritten rules have governed the clothing of women who dress in mantillas during Holy Week for decades. An “obsolete” protocol, in the opinion of Raquel Revuelta, director of the Doble Erre fashion agency, one of the promoters of the Sí Mantilla project that was born in 2018 and with which designers and artisans, in collaboration with the Seville City Council, pursue review the clothing of this tradition to incorporate new young people
Historic businesses are reeling due to the
pandemic Qlamenco, an Andalusian association of flamenco fashion and crafts, participates in this initiative with the designs of six creators, the accessories firm Fina Estampa and the Juan Foronda shawl and mantilla factory. Bold proposals with transparencies, flared skirts, lantern sleeves, jet embroidery and even a good neckline with which the creators have reinterpreted the canons of mourning clothing that women have worn for generations in the Easter processions. The blankets of Juan Foronda, a Sevillian company that has been operating since 1923, have been the common denominator in the proposals of Francisco Tamaral, Antonio Gutiérrez, Gil Ortiz, Atelier Rima, Yolanda Rivas and Carmen Latorre. A dozen models that could be seen in the streets of the center of Seville, from the Santa Cruz neighborhood to the cathedral, last Friday and that will go out again on the 8th, in a tribute to the April Fair that It will not be held due to the pandemic either.
The appointment with the festive mantillas, the white ones and the raw ones, will continue on April 8 with the Origin and evolution of the mantilla in society conference at the headquarters of the Cajasol Foundation. In addition to a round table in which experts in the field will participate, there will be a practical class to learn how to put on the mantilla and a photographic exhibition. The program will end with a tour of women wearing the white mantilla in a horse-drawn carriage through the city center.
“Our mantillas are made in the towns of Granada, Seville and Ciudad Real. There are many kinds of them, from those of chantilly, the lightest lace embroidered with floral or geometric motifs; lace, which are usually thicker, or tulle. It is a garment that has little use, the black is used at Easter or weddings and the white and raw to go to the bulls, weddings or wedding dresses. There are designers who ask us to make some colors, but they are exceptions, ”said Juan Foronda, the third generation at the helm of the business that also manufactures Manila shawls, their star product. The mantilla can be made by machine and cost about 60 euros or embroidered by hand with natural silk and reach up to 4,000 euros.
Models dressed with the mantillas of Juan Foronda, on Mateos Gago street in Seville.Ernesto Castilla
Dressing in a mantilla, that is attached to a comb, usually made of tortoiseshell over a bow, is a tradition that is maintained in some families, but fewer and fewer young women are willing to keep this official mourning for the death of Christ. To encourage them, Raquel Revuelta and Qlamenco devised this project, which this year is organized under the motto: “La mantilla. Seville from pain to joy ”, and that in 2020 it was not celebrated because of the coronavirus. Friday's walk, animated by the brass band Air Brass Quintet, was the first to take the mantillas out to the streets in a year that, like the previous one, will not have processions. What will be seen, and the City Council is encouraging it, is many women dressed in mantillas to go to the temples in which the processional images have been exhibited. And at whose doors you can see long queues of the faithful, at least contemplate the images in their parishes.
“We want to revitalize our crafts and show young women that they can wear a mantilla and be fashionable, they don't need to dress like their grandmothers ”, said Pedro González, president of Qlamenco. Juan Francisco Gil Ortiz (Almonte, Huelva, 27 years old) is the youngest of the designers and habitually dedicates himself to the flamenco dress, a sector that at the moment is completely stopped. “In a month I will present, for the first time, a wedding collection. Something I've done before, but only on request ”, commented the designer who has presented a low-cut tight dress that ends with a large puffed ruffle.