The origins of the modern flamenco dress trace back nearly two centuries to Seville’s Feria de Abril, where gypsy women wore inexpensive calico dresses accentuated by layers of ruffles. As flamenco moved from its original gypsy communities and into Spain’s cafés cantantes in the second half of the 19th century, its costumes became more extravagant.
Today, flamenco style has established its own niche — one that’s inspired the high-fashion designs of both Giorgio Armani and John Galliano. On Thursday, the 2017 edition of We Flamenco Fest kicks off with a fashion show highlighting the history of flamenco costumes while bringing together some of the city’s top designers. On the runway, expect to see designs by Artist Foundation of San Antonio award winners Lisa Perello and Kendra Vigil as well as some exquisite headdresses created by Fabian Alejandro Diaz. Rounding out the collection will be dresses once worn by beloved local dancers Teresa Champion and Carmen “La Chiqi” Linares ($10-$15, 7pm Thu, Geekdom Event Centre, 131 Soledad St.).
Now in its eighth year, the festival is a citywide celebration (October 5-14) organized by the nonprofit Peoplehood to encourage collaboration within the local flamenco community while attempting to “invigorate and celebrate” the art form.
Other highlights from this year’s fest include TRIBUS, a performance by the modern flamenco project Arte y Pasión ($10-$40, 9pm Fri., outside Carmens de la Calle at the corner of N. Flores and W. Pecan streets) and Somos Flamenco, a performance by members of the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department’s dance troupes featuring Pilar Andujar ($15-$40, 8pm Sat, Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N. Hackberry St.). For the full schedule, visit facebook.com/weflamencofest