It’s February of 2009 and I am sitting in a darkened theater with 900 people listening to live music and looking at incredible flamenco dresses on the catwalk in Seville. I’m a theatrical costume designer from New York, the only American in the audience, how did I get to Spain?
Hi I’m Sally Lesser, costume designer, dressmaker, flamenco dancer. Let me tell you my story.
Costume designer by profession, my background includes 20 years and 3 Emmy Awards for the television soap opera One Life to Live and design of over 150 plays. Little Shop of Horrors ran in New York, across the US and around the world. Return to the Forbidden Planet played in New York, London’s West End, and toured the UK as well as having companies in Japan and Australia.
I have been sewing since I was a child and I studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology to learn how to make patterns. Previous to becoming a full time costume designer I owned and managed 2 costume shops building costumes for theater , dance, opera, and commercials.
In 2000 I started to take flamenco dance classes. I have always loved to dance and found flamenco to be a wonderful challenge. After a few years I started to dance in recitals and needed costumes. What a pleasure to make myself dresses with polka dots and ruffles! I made blouses for my classmates too .
I stumbled across SIMOF (Salón Internacional de la Moda Flamenca) on the internet. A Flamenco fashion show in Spain, how fantastic!! I had to find a way to go. A dear friend of mine was living in Seville, she agreed to be an interpreter (I spoke no Spanish at the time). Through my television job, I was able to get press passes for the event. What I saw there blew my mind! There were 1000 dresses in 4 days, beautiful creations in every fabric imaginable.
The experience opened my mind to a new possibilities. I could re-weave the threads of my life in a different way, I could see myself as a flamenco dressmaker . My soap opera closed in 2011 and I was ready to begin a new chapter, with a business called Sally Lesser Designs.
I make one of a kind made to order costumes in my Brooklyn studio. It has been my pleasure to create garments for professional dancers and flamenco students as well as dresses in flamenco style for people who want the look. If you can’t find a flamenco dress that you like, that fits you well and flatters your figure, contact me. Together we can create something special!!
Look at the photos in my Gallery for inspiration. Professional clients include: Omayra Amaya, Soledad Barrio, Juana Cala, La Meira, Nelida Tirado,Rebeca Tomas, Sol la argentinita,, Leslie Roybal, Xianix Barrera, Ryan Rockmore, Maria de los angeles, La Éimi, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Noche Flamenca, Al Margen, A Palo Seco .