It seems like there's always a Fashion Week somewhere, and last weekend, that somewhere was the city of Seville, in southern Spain, where the biggest (and to my knowledge, only) display of the year's fashions takes place.
Unlike traditional fashion markets, flamenco designers don't have to create for spring/summer and autumn/winter shows. They have a single target: the feria season. Ferias are festivals that take place throughout Andalusia during the spring and early summer in nearly every city and town. The most famous is the Feria de Sevilla, which takes place two weeks after the end of Semana Santa, or Holy Week. Ferias are a time to party - there's drinking and dancing at all of them, as well as parades, horse shows, and bullfights - and it's absolutely necessary to "dress to impress." For women, this means wearing a traje de flamenca, a long, heavily ruffled dress that's form-fitting but almost universally flattering, and relatively easy to move in. (You can't dance the night away if you can't move!) And SIMOF, the annual pre-feria-season fashion show, is dedicated exclusively to these elaborate dresses and the accompanying accessories: fans, shawls, large earrings, jewellery, hair combs, and mantillas.
I've selected a few of my favourite dresses from this year's catwalk, but if you'd like to see more (including some truly horrific designs), there's literally hundreds to choose from at http://www.simof.net/fotogalerias/index.html
The photos included in this gallery have all been nicked from the Diario de Sevilla's reporting of SIMOF. (Just for copyright purposes, you understand. Although I've stayed with the lady who owns the Diario de Sevilla, so maybe I'll be okay on this one?)