Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tango Collection

I am working on a collection "under contract" - there's no money involved, but a commitment nonetheless. I am taking part in a Tango Conference at the end of May - this is the second year I'm doing this. Last year, I presented on tango as practiced in a range of communities, including among gay couples, people with disability and in online virtual worlds (in particular, Second Life). This year, I decided to do a paper on the relationship between fashion and tango, with a particular focus on the beginning of the 20th century when tango arrived in Europe, and the end of the 20th century, when it re-emerged as a worldwide pastime.

In addition to giving the conference, however, I have agreed to design and make a couple of outfits that will be presented at the meeting! For the event, I am drawing on documents dating to the early part of the century in support of this effort. This Vanity Fair cover, dating from January 1915, shows off some "harem pants" that were modelled on an earlier pair introduced by the ground-breaking fashions of Paul Poiret in about 1908-1909. In this version, close to what I am preparing, the pant legs stop partway down the calf - in my version, they will taper at the bottom so that they won't get in the way of dancing movements. In addition, I am making the overskirt shown - I have adopted a design based on a circular skirt.

In this second Vanity Fair cover, dating from July of 1916, a dress is shown that could be a dress worn today. I am reproducing the design of this address more or less as shown, although I shall be using a somewhat different fabric.

Finally, I am working on a blouse with sheer sleeves, loosely based on the image shown in this cover dating from October 1915, which, however, does not portray sheer sleeves. Nonetheless, sheer sleeves were a feature of clothes from this time period. This blouse is also interesting in that it could have been sold today as easily as then - unlike most other garments from that period.

The whole exercise is a challenge, albeit both stimulating and creative. I have engaged a model and developed some "muslin shells" or trial garments so as to validate fitting and overall look before developing the final garments.

No comments:

Post a Comment