There’s a series on Netflix at the moment called Velvet and it is fascinating. It’s set in the 1950s, in a Spanish high-fashion house in Madrid. The story follows the owner of the fashion house and the woman he has been in love with since he was a little boy and how they can’t be together because they are of two very different classes. But it's much more complex than that.
It’s fascinating to see the politics of the fashion house and how it functions from above and below. The director and his team make all the decisions and try to sell the products as best as they can, using advertisements and by maintaining their appeal to the rich by getting famous people to market and wear their products – including Grace Kelly of Monaco and a rather handsome footballer! There are all sorts of intricacies and problems to overcome, not just for the lovers but for the fashion house itself too, as there is constant competition from other fashion houses, blackmail and rumours circulating which can seriously damage the business. There is a middle floor where the goods are sold and where the customers are looked after and then the lower floors are where the designers design the clothes and the seamstresses work to make the clothing.
There are all sorts of affairs which go on and problems caused by jealousy and desire. It’s a bit like a soap opera with all the breakdowns, fights, drama and death which go on, but it’s fascinating to watch how events unfold and how the outside world of the time affects the high-fashion house. The snobbery is incredible, although this diminishes somewhat as the series goes on and travels into the sixties, where times and attitudes become much more liberal. The secrets, however, continue and it is frustrating for the viewer, who is given a much broader view of each of the situations unfolding and can see how plans will backfire, how relationships will break down and how jealousy can cause serious problems for everyone involved.
I’ve not quite reached the end of the series and am hoping that the protagonists will finally get their happily ever after!