The Great Dress By Urban Spanish-Jewish Women In Morocco Of 20th & 19th Century


1. ‘The great dress’, early 20th century, Fez, Morocco
2. ‘The great dress’, 19th century,  Tetouan, Morocco
3-4. ‘The great dress’, late 19th century, Rabat, Morocco
5. Women wearing ‘the great dress,’ 1930s, Rabat, Morocco
This magnificent dress worn for weddings and other occasions was brought to Morocco by Spanish Jews who settled in the north of the country. Each piece of the dress has its own Spanish name. The entire ensemble consists of a wraparound skirt, heavily embroidered in gold, a gold-embroidered bodice, a fitted waistcoat, long detached sleeves made of embroidered tulle, and a wide brocade belt.  (source)

‘There was the ‘great dress’ worn as a bridal and festive dress by urban Spanish-Jewish women (descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492) in Morocco. This sumptuous outfit, made of metallic thread embroidered on velvet, was strikingly different from the local Muslim costumes. It strongly resembled Spanish costumes of the sixteenth century and preserved many of their stylistic traits. In Morocco, this dress became an identity mark of urban Spanish Jews vis-a-vis the local rural Jews, and it was one of the symbols of the preservation of Spanish h eritage, which was a source of pride to this group. …Within Morocco, there were also variations on this dress, each belonging to a certain town, for example, Fez, Rabat, and Mogador.’ (source)


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