It is time to get your binge-watch on, mis amigos, because the second season of Velvet, the Spanish period drama muy fabulosa, premieres in the US today.
For viewers who haven’t watched Velvet yet, this engaging and stylish serial is like Downton Abbey meets Mr. Selfridge meets Mad Men, pero en español.
Set in ’50s/’60s Spain, Velvet is woven with multi-strand personal and business dramas, gorgeous period costumes, Art Deco-inspired sets, and an upstairs/downstairs-like love affair akin to the one between Downton‘s Lady Sybil and chaffeur Branson if they’d met at Selfridge’s department store in the time of Don Draper.
In the case of Velvet, said affair is between upscale department store scion Alberto Márquez (played by the guapo Miguel Ángel Silvestre of Sense8) and backroom seamstress Ana Ribera (played by the guapa Paula Echevarría of Gran Reserva).
They meet as children in Madrid. After the death of her mother, Ana moves to the big city to live with the only family she has left, her uncle Don Emilio (José Sacristán, Magical Girl), the head of staff at Galerías Velvet, the high-end department store and fashion house owned by Alberto’s father Don Rafael.
Love blossoms during their teen years, but their plan to run away together is nipped in the bud by Don Rafael. Neither he nor Don Emilio can abide the young lovers’ class-crossing relationship, so Alberto is shipped off to study in England, leaving Ana sobbing through her stitching.
Fast forward to 1958. Alberto is back in Madrid with a degree from the London School of Economics, just days before the Galerías Velvet fashion show. The store is the place for Spain’s well-to-do to shop for hand-tailored haute couture, and the show is the hot ticket in town, an event covered by the press like those of today’s fashion houses on the catwalks of Paris, Milan, or New York.
Away from the customers and displays, pitiless Doña Blanca (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, A Walk in the Clouds) is cracking the whip over the seamstresses while trying to hide being unnerved by an unexpected letter. And Don Rafael’s haughty second wife Gloria (Natalia Millán, To Love is Forever) is scheming to get their fruit-doesn’t-fall-far-from-the-tree daughter Patricia (Miriam Giovanelli, Violet) a management role at the department store.
Don Rafael won’t hear of it. Running the business is a man’s job, and with 30 years under his belt at the helm of Galerías Velvet, he has every intention of one day turning over the store’s management to Alberto. Little does anyone know that that day will arrive sooner they thought.
As for Ana and Alberto, their reunion isn’t at all the lovey-dovey one he wanted, but their romance is rekindled after Ana discovers something she wasn’t supposed to. Unfortunately, their plans to live freely and happily away from their families and Galerías Velvet come to a screeching halt.
All that and more happens in the 72-minute first episode of Season 1’s sixteen. Season 2’s thirteen episodes, which premiered just hours ago in the US exclusively on Netflix, are just as packed with desires, scandals, and treachery.
Velvet is a Bambú Producciones production for Antena 3, created and executive produced by Ramón Campos and Teresa Fernández-Valdés, the creators of that other Spanish hit period drama, Grand Hotel (also on Netflix).