However the dress itself had very humble origins. It has been recorded that the dress has evolved slowly from the peasants of Andalusia in Spain and in particular from the gypsy women. These are the women who accompanied their men to the Seville cattle Market in the late nineteenth century and who traditionally wore frilled aprons or pinafores over their clothes as these were comfortable to work in.
Every year the family would have to transfer to Seville for the important fair The country women would brighten up their apparel for such an important social event. As the fair became more and more of a social event in Andalusian society in the early twentieth century, the ladies of the high society saw these gypsy folk in their interesting dresses and began to copy the style. This was an attractive style to them as fashion at the time was rather conservative and the bright colours and frills of the country folk was a refreshing change of style.
It was at the Ibero-American Fair of 1929 when the dress made its official début into Spanish society. From then on it became the iconic symbol of Spain and Spanish culture and tradition. After that, the birth of the Spanish flamenco doll was just a matter of time. During the tourism boom of the early nineteen fifties and sixties the Spanish flamenco doll travelled the world, becoming a kind of ‘ambassador’ of all things Spanish. The blend of fire, passion and exotism portrayed in the doll was hard to resist, and these were qualities that the authorities at the time wished to transmit.
The ‘flamenco’ dress has recently developed into a ‘must-have’ fashion item in Spanish Society. The frills or ruffles have been lowered and often begin around the knee instead of the waist or hip. The whole ‘body’ of the dress has become more stylised and figure-hugging.