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The Promenade of the Elegant

In the reign of Carlos III the Salón del Prado (today the broad avenue facing the Prado Museum) became the spot where fashionable people would go to see and be seen. Ladies went for drives in their carriages dressed in the latest French fashion: deshabillés, robes à la française, à la polonaise and à l'anglaise. These were rich dresses in bright coloured materials and of sinuous design. Women on foot wore a skirt, always black, a bodice, and a black or white mantilla. The men escorting them wore French-style suits and three-cornered hats, but continued to wrap themselves in the traditional Spanish cape.