Tuesday, 19 January 2010

New Year, New Post

Ella Sharp writes about the experience of designing  clothes for dancers...

There are times in one’s life when one absolutely has to ‘dress to kill’ and what better opportunity can a woman have than when going to a Milonga; the older I get the more reckless I become – subtly of course.  The question of how to have shape without too much cling (my body does not bear close scrutiny just clever dressing!) whilst still being able to take the long steps required by our teachers can be tricky.

When Mina and Giraldo first suggested a student dance at the final milonga of the year at Corrientes, dressing others for a performance (however short) presented many ‘diversions’ and opportunities.  After deciding upon a 40s feel we felt we should use any other colour than black – radical I know but I have to confess colours are a passion and can flatter (and let us face the brutal truth most of us require flattery of one form or another) more effectively than black. 

So to flattery in the extreme! The rivers of silk jersey and acres of silk dupion – not I hasten to add did the outfits in themselves require vast quantities of fabric but the design development to arrive at the final outcome most certainly did. The hours spent in fittings, deciding the most becoming lines and colours for each of the dancers were truly great fun – for me at least – you might need to enquire of the long suffering clients as to their opinion.

There is of course one thing I have failed to mention which is paramount in the extreme, well to us ladies at least - the shoes!  Each Milonga is spent observing closely as to who has the most beautiful shoes. When deciding upon a pair the question as to whether the strap in quite the right place to suit the ankle, will the colour or the trim match any of my clothes is of the utmost importance, they don’t? Oh well I’ll just have to buy a dress to match!

So, back to the outfits; we naturally started with the shoes.  Each outfit had to revolve around the shoes in the wardrobe, and lest you think this frivolous might I draw your attention to the lengths we women go to in pursuing the perfect pair, or five (on a restrained day).  It was a pleasure to see such combinations of jewel like colours (here we have Fashion Speak) moving around the dance floor – we hope you liked it too.