Few accessories we have in the closet as stylish as
the fan. It does not matter who wears it, it is to unfold it and start splurging ‘glamor’ with each wrist movement. That was thought, at least, in
19th and 20th centuries, when the fan became an essential element of fashion and, in the absence of mobile phones, it was even used to communicate.
Now they look less. It does not prevent, however, that there are still many who use it. It is a practical accessory … and beautiful. At the gates of opening the summer, we approach
Diego’s house, in Madrid, one of the oldest fan factories in Spain.
The manager, Arturo Llerandi, is clear about it:
“That it has a wide country (part lined) and a strong linkage, because if it is very flexible it does not catch the air”, he warns. Playing with these parameters, in this store they have more than 10,000 different models for sale, all made by hand.
The creation process is always the same. It begins with the conversion of raw materials – such as wood (pear, birch, beech, banana, ebony, palo-santo, sandalwood …), mother-of-pearl, bone or ivory – into the rods that will support it. The most common is that the fans carry
from 28 to 32 rods, but there are some that have 10, 12 or 16, the so-called chumbos or pericones, widely used in the world of theater and dance. The rods can be smooth or openwork (with punches).
The country, for its part, is made with cloth, vellum, parchment … and it can be in a single color or be painted or embroidered …
– Size Matters?
– Yes. The bigger the fan, the more air it will give, –confirms Llerandi, who in the store has copies from 5.5 centimeters high to 76-, although
the most popular fans currently are the small ones, both for men, very practical to fit in your shirt or jacket pocket; as for women, because they are kept in the bag.
Up to one week of work
Both the dimensions and the type of materials and the time dedicated to their manufacture influence the final price of the product. “A normal fan can be manufactured in one day, but the most laborious ones are not finished before a week, or even a month,” says the manager.
prices range between 16 and 6,000 euros -The most expensive are usually ornamental or antique. For example, one that they made in 1850 and that is displayed in the shop window, made of bone and painted by hand, costs 3,000 euros.
The cheapest on the market are the plastic ones, although they don’t sell them in this store. They also don’t have left-handed and right-handed fans. “Simply because it is not necessary,” clarifies the owner. What is essential, however, is to hold the fan correctly, something that not everyone does.
– How do you catch it?
hold the first rod with the thumb and the last with the index finger. In this way, we can open it in the simplest way, which is by launching it downwards, although people who have experience open it in other ways, such as sideways or upwards. Another option is to use both hands to unfold it.
All kinds of clients
Regarding its use, the reasons why the fan is not used as much as in the past are mainly two: the invention of other more modern devices to remove heat, such as the fan and air conditioning; and a change in fashion trends.
Many are those who currently associate the fan only with the elderly or with flamenco, and do not consider it an accessory in your own closet. To verify this, we asked several passers-by what comes to mind when they think of a person fanning himself. «A grandmother at mass», «someone older», «my mother-in-law! that she is 80 years old »,« she reminds me of a folkloric »… are some of her answers.
It’s true, the fan
it is no longer a must-have item when dressing, but it must be recognized that more than one person still suffers from flushing when they go to the bulls, for example. What’s more, at Casa Diego the clientele is surprisingly varied. “I wanted a fan for my girlfriend,” asks a young Asturian at the counter. The reason for the purchase? “She is from Peru and I want to bring her something typical Spanish,” reveals the client, who opts for a model with black temples and red country. Another man enters in search of a white fan. “The simplest thing they have,” he asks. One lady manages “with the cheapest”, while another asks for it “light.”
In just over half an hour, five people have bought a fan at this store. Exceptionally, all the customers were Spanish, but it was a coincidence, because the owner of the store, located in the heart of Madrid, ensures that
its main clientele is foreign tourists.
«All kinds of people pass through here. Since
the one who buys it because it is hot, to the one who takes it as a souvenir, for a collection, to dance, to marry, even the one who acquires fans for the whole family », expresses Llerandi. He tells us, as an anecdote, how people used to communicate with this accessory:
The language of the fan
Come talk to me
Open it with your left hand.
Support it on the right cheek
Open and close it.
I love you
Let it slide over the cheek.
You love Me?
Present it closed.
They watch over us
Cover part of the face.
I doubt you
Supported on the lips.
Close it hastily.
I love you more each day
Run a finger between the linkage.
Let it slide over the forehead.
Leave me alone
Keep it over the left ear.
I love someone else
Move it with your right hand.
Open, covering the mouth.
I hate you
Throw it with your hand.
Hit it, closed, on the left hand.