The tailed gown appeared in the cafés cantantes, appeared as never before in the dances of Pastora Imperio and Carmen Amaya and, until recently, was in danger of disappearing.

Bata de cola

Bata de cola en el desfile de Javier Mojarro.

José Manuel Valencia and his very feminine vision of flamenco fashion.

Propuesta muy femenina de José Manuel Valencia.

Bata de cola

Bata de cola

The bata de cola is, without a doubt, an essential part of the flamenco dancer’s attire according to the so-called “Sevillian dance school”, the most classical one. Matilde Coral, a leading figure in this school and its greatest advocate, is co-author of a Tratado de la bata de cola published by Alianza Editorial. It is the most important compendium on this garment.

Following his work and with the help of the We Love Flamenco catwalk, we have been able to delve into how this garment was born and we want to tell you about it.

Petticoats and taffetas

In the last decades of the 19th century, the fashion for “refined” women was to wear silhouettes that cinched their torsos and accentuated their hips, gathering yards and yards of rich taffeta and fine lace at the back of the skirt. This amalgam fell into a graceful tail that gave elegance to the attire and was shown in salons and balls. The petticoats were the key to the play of volumes, with inner frames until well into the new century.

Flamenco dancers began to use this concept in their dresses or skirts on stage, moving the garment to the rhythm of the guitar playing and singing, thus giving birth to the bata de cola. The first artists of the cafés cantantes and jaleos, as well as the cupletistas from zarzuela, embraced the use of the bata de cola to show themselves to the world in all their splendour, conscious of the majestic effect it provokes. A piece of the finest couture that praised (and still praises) the femininity and the overwhelming personality of the artists. A piece of the finest couture that praised (and still praises) the femininity and the overwhelming personality of the artists.

The best-tailed dressing gown

La Macarona and La Mejorana were the first to wear them beautifully in their shows. Later on, Pastora Imperio and La Argentina became the flamenco artists who best knew how to make the most of this part of the wardrobe. Also impeccable in tailed gowns were Jerez-born Rosa Durán, Matilde Cano and Cristina Hoyos.

The most distant in time had a lot of merit, because a bata de cola could weigh as much as 25 kilos. Over time, new fabrics and techniques made them lighter, but the movements with a tail coat have their complexity and their use has been declining. And this despite the fact that alegrías or seguiriyas danced with a bata de cola are a real flamenco gift.

Justo Salao Expo

His name is Justo Salao, born in Huelva, Seville by adoption, and the master of the needle when it comes to tailcoats. This designer, who was a dancer before becoming a couturier, dressed Rocío Jurado and Lola Flores, who named him the “King Lord of the dressing gowns”. Also Carmen Sevilla, Gracia Montes… and the dancers of the Spanish National Ballet and Estrella Morente.

In the picture, Justo Salao at an exhibition about the bata de cola at the Fundación Carlos de Amberes in Madrid, which was organised two years ago by the agency promoting We Love Flamenco in collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía.