Sunday 4 March 2012

A Torero's Suit of Lights at Justo Algaba

Justo Algaba's place was great.
Justo met us in the showroom where he is used to visitors being distracted by the showcases so he didn't mind at all that I started thinking about blogging as soon as I arrived.
He provides for all of a torero's sartorial needs. I particularly liked the montera hat boxes and it was no surprise to learn Justo makes a lot of items which are adapted for the fashion market in Japan. He had some beautiful leather riding boots which unfortunately I didn't manage to get a good enough picture of to share here.
The full torrero costume, or Suit of Lights, consists of a frill-fronted white shirt, black silk tie, pink stockings with black clocks, breeches and braces, waistcoat, jacket, black leather slippers, black montera and of course the cape which is called a Capote de Paseo. The heavily decorated capote de paseo is only worn, along with the montera, as the torero enters the arena and prepares for the event; he swaps over to a lighter, pink cape called a muleta and takes off his hat for the bullfight.
The shoes are like those strange patent evening slippers you can still buy on Jermyn Street, such an odd relic of 18th century men's fashion to remain in use in the 21st century but they do work well on a primped and poised torrero.

Having said that, the bullfight itself is something I find hard to believe thrives to this day. Spain is continually surprising me, so many ways of life survive and contribute to the brilliance of things like the many, many independent family-run shops and businesses  - something we have almost completely lost - whilst on the other hand there are the religious ceremonies and bullfights which are so alien to my culture. It's easy to forget how different Southern Europe is from Northern Europe until you are submerged in it.
Having the opportunity to work in a country is such a completely different experience to visiting as a tourist, it's something I love about my job, we often film in parts of buildings that are closed to the public or get to visit places and witness customs we wouldn't have found ourselves researching without the framework of a script.
I  am thoroughly enjoying discovering more about Spain every day.