This is where most of my stories begin: at the fabric store. What I don't usually have is 'company' or rather, a partner in crime. Mid-summer, I went to the fabric store with Nathalie, a professional Argentine tango dancer and instructor based in Malta who came to me with a proposal, to help her create a selection of milonga-worthy dancewear that is at once practical and dressy. Dance wear that focus on the elongation of the limbs and the neck, that reveals enough without giving away too much. The tanguera is meant to look elegant as she dances, and revealing too much, as we all know, doesn't get you there. We created a collection that is sensual yet youthful, with playfully adaptable features and a focus on detail to make every item a stand-alone piece. This is dancewear that sees one from practice hour, to a weekly milonga and on to after-practice drinks. All of the skirts, trousers, dresses, tops and accessories are designed by hand and appropriately named by Nathalie. Yesterday we held a mini-launch of the collection in Rabat where a group of ladies chatted over some wine, with the discussion swaying from elegant posture, the right hairstyles or the dance, appropriate beginner shoes, manicure rules and well, let's just say, perhaps, more than our fair share of bra-talk. It was bound to happen!
Here's Nathalie herself, trying on swathes of fabric for size.
Accessories: designing these was a learning curve for me. Only an experienced dancer would ever have been able to point out a tango dancer's requirements so clearly.
Dresses, and the joys of adjustable gathers, criss-cross lace-ups and bias cut skirts!
Some tops that lengthen the neck without exposing too much
And trousers: slit, pointy and gathered
This is a photo collage of the hard-copy of the catalogue, a series of hand-drawn and painted designs in a 100% recycled and hand-stitched cover, including sample sheet.
And Nathalie's own dress. For the first dress we chose the 'el beso' design which we then adapted to her particular needs. With this collection our main aim was to make clothes that fit the dancer as well as the dance. It would have been futile to create made-to-measure dancewear that fits as badly as shop-bought casual wear appropriated for dance.