How Traditional Spanish Fashion inspired Bollywood’s leading ladies at the IIFA 2016 @ Madrid

When in Rome, Dress like the Romans! Or the same could be said about Madrid this year!!

The IIFA 2016 awards ceremony that was held in Madrid couple of weeks ago, saw all the leading ladies of Bollywood walk the green carpet in outfits that were gorgeous, elaborate and mind-blowingly grand! As is true for IIFA, every year they pick an international destination to host the ceremony and invariably the theme for all stylists and designers decking up our style-icons, gets determined by the location that’s chosen. This year, since IIFA was held in Spain, there was no surprise that all the grand gowns on the Green Carpet were, in some way or the other, Spanish inspired.

When I saw the images being put up by all these Bollywood beauties on their instagram, I was so taken in by how much they reminded me of Spain in the medevial-ages, that I immediately decided to do this piece on Spanish-inspired looks at the IIFA 2016. However, as I started my research on Spain and Spanish fashion, I was drawn in deeper and deeper and realized how fascinating and immensely interesting their history, culture and their impact on the fashion world is! (And that’s my perfect excuse for the delay in posting this ;))

So here I’ve put together some of my favorite, Spanish inspired looks from this year’s IIFA, bringing alive the local culture at the Green Carpet this year! Hope you enjoy it!

#1: Deepika goes Flamenca!

Deepika Padukone’s gorgeous black gown by Swapnil Shinde reminded me so much of the silhouette of a petite and poised Flamenco dancer! The perfect fit till the knees and the sudden ruffled flare, with the addition of the long-drop neckline, looked like a wonderfully elegant and high-fashion take on the 16th century wild and gypsy Traje de Flamenca (Flemenco outfit).

#2: Sonakshi as the Princess Bride!

The use of lace, embroidery and ruffles was symbolic of the traditional Spanish bridal wear!  Around the 15th-16th Centuries, the Moorish occupation of Spain (Muslim rulers from North Africa) added elements such as gold and silver embroideries and sequin to the traditional outfits. It was also symbolic of the economical progress that came during the Moorish rule.

Sonakshi Sinha’s lovely white with silver embroidery on lace by Abu Jaani & Sandeep Khosla threw back images of the gorgeous traditional Spanish brides, reminding us of their elegant bridal gowns… Though the shortish length of the gown and flare gave Sonakshi a somewhat princess-like appeal!   

#3: Caped-up like the Matador!

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Deepika’s gorgeous finale outfit, designed by Sabyasaachi, too, reminded me of Spanish bridal outfits! The embroidery, the lace and the silhouette of the skirt, all spelt ‘Spanish’. The highlight of the outfit though, is that lovely cape with net & embroidery, held together by the Tanishq neckpiece. While the fabric and embroidery looks inspired by the Mantilla (a lace / sheer scarf) which is an essential part of the Spanish bridal outfit, the concept of using it like a cape itself, comes not from super-heros, but from bull-fighters… another ancient and intrinsic part of the Spanish culture. Matadors, i.e. the master’s who faced the bulls in a fight didn’t just have the most gorgeously decorated outfits (called the-suits-of-light), they had capes which were mandatory and in fact functionally, the most important item in a bull-fight!

#4: Off the Fields

While this all white H&M outfit worn by Neha Dhupia gathered somewhat mixed reviews from the fashion police, I personally love it because it reminds me of the outfits worn by peasant girls in medevial Spain . The plain maxi skirt with the massive flare and the button-shown collar shirt worn with a casual elegance takes us back to the lovely European common-folk of that time… hard-working, passionate and free!

However, the contrast of the casualness of her dress with her hair pulled back in a glamourous bun and the boxy cluch add that high-fashion element to it, instantly bringing us back to the present day fashion scene! And what I love about it the most, is that it is so so wearable!

#5: A Noble Lady goes Gypsy!

Aditi Rao Hydari in this bold pleated bottle green gown by Shantanu & Nikhil reminds us of a very modern and sexy version of the European noble-ladies in their Victorian gowns! Well… you may have known that it was Spanish fashion in the 15th century which inspired fashion all across Europe and while Victorian British fashion was a very conservative derivation of it, the Spanish kept their gowns grand, yet sexy!

Aditi’s outfit seem to be a combination of the ballooning, flaring bottom of a Spanish noble’s dress, and the bare-shoulder, low neckline corsets worn by the bold and passionate Gitana (Gypsies)!

Apart from the above 5 looks, which were some of my favorite this year, Mouni Roy, Shreya Saran and Neeti Mohan looked like they just came out of a Flamenco performance while Bipasha Basu wore those Spanish ruffles with elan.


Lara Dutta’s outfit – the fabric, the tassles and the embroidery was a reminder of the lovely Spanish Manila (Shawls) used by the Flamenco Dancers. And the high neck and full sleeve dress, greatly decorated with heavy embroidery also looked very inspired from a traditional bull-fighter’s jacket! Oh, and with that lovely skin and her sexy international looks, she absolutely looked like a Spaniard!

Even off the green carpet some of these beauties took to Madrid in absolute Spanish style! While Deepika rocked the Spanish lace and bell-sleeves, Athiya Shetty wore her ruffles with style and Diya Mirza’s casual, gypsy, peasant girl next-door look was sheer elegance! Oh and the gladiators, seems to be a Madrid-wardrobe staple in all their suitcases! 😉

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Hope you liked this story. Will soon be putting up a Spanish Inspired look of my own! 😉 So stay tuned!

Cheers!! Muuaahh!!

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About Me

Sonal is a Post Graduate in Luxury Brand Management from Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing, Florence (Italy) and has over 9 years of experience as a Brand Strategist working in the advertising industry.

She has also been a Consumer Insights Miner specializing in fashion and luxury brands.