top of page

Art Gowns: Velvet Tango

By Resa McConaghy:

Passion, desire, and poetry in motion are just a few words to describe the TANGO.

One of the most influential and famous dances in modern history, the tango originated from the streets of 18th century Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Historically, the tango is a dance of slaves and the poor, fueled by the emotions of young men who immigrated to Argentina to find a better life.

The tango’s popularity grew in the 1st decade of the 20th century, with over 1,000 gramophone records and many tango sheets created in Buenos Aires alone.

Sons of wealthy Argentine families travelled to Paris in the early 1900s. Here, they introduced the tango to a society hungry for innovation and not entirely averse to the risqué nature of the dance. In 1913, the tango was an international phenomenon in Paris, London, and New York.

Tango dresses can feature lots of asymmetry and legs for days. Unfortunately, Judy has a metal pole and four wheels. So, I began at

one side of the Judy and draped the fabric right around. This created a massive tail off to one side, the feel of asymmetry, and the need for 20 release darts.

Keeping in the theme of recycling, up-cycling, repurposing, and using up unwanted fabrics, “Velvet Tango” is constructed from a 25-year-old red velvet coat, an old piece of black rayon lining ($4.00/yd. at the back of a jobbers), a stained vintage silver grey dress, a ragged sage green scarf, a piece of red lace from my stash, and a musty piece of salvaged burgundy novelty goods.

To learn more about the tango, you can visit this site.

Now, here it is, the TANGO. I adore this video!

An established Costume Designer in film, television, & digital media, Resa McConaghy has worked on productions for Showtime, ABC, Disney, CBS, CBC, Hallmark, and more. Her mission: to enable the articulation of character through wardrobe.

147 views0 comments


bottom of page