Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ella Sharp - Todo Trajeado

The Rail
Ella Sharp designs and makes clothes for dancing tango and for all occasions. Her clothes are all brilliantly coloured - it's a non-negotiable artistic boundary that you can have almost any colour from time to time, as long as it's not black. They're made of beautiful fabrics and are full of fascinating little details of construction.

Most of her designs aren't quite my personal style, with their relatively formal structure and visible complexity, but they are varied. A couple of weeks after the show in the pictures I called back to see if she still had a brilliantly-conceived skirt that moves in a satisfying way when I dance and had been priced at 30% off. I bought it and I've worn it abroad. [Disclosure: there was no request to write anything but Ella knows perfectly well this is me and knew that perfectly well before fixing the price. It was in the sale because it had been a sample for a while. As far as I can tell it's perfect. I probably would have bought it on the day, and maybe at full price, if I hadn't been worried about work.]

Bustle bustle
The skirt fit me perfectly without alteration, but Ella also makes to order, and having something made to fit you that you really, really like is fabulous. I haven't had it done very often, I had a dress made once and someone's working on a suit for me, but when you can afford it, it's extremely worthwhile, especially for anything structured. And Ella's prices are very reasonable for the quality; you get something that you're likely to wear a lot, and I've certainly paid more for less where shoes are concerned.

If you ever perform as a dancer, then I would definitely suggest looking into it, as I think Ella's design talents lie that way. Especially if you're going for more of a grown-up look. Plus, if it fits properly then embarrassing wardrobe errors with bits falling off, or out, are much less likely. I think tango performances look much better in slightly heightened versions of normal clothing, rather than trashy stagey lycra tat, and some of Ella's one-offs are extremely fluid as well as colourful, perfect for the job. And only think, you could get it to match your favourite shoes.

I'm posting this because I feel that it's also very nice to get this kind of thing from a small business you can have a personal relationship with, when you have the opportunity and you happen to like the product.

It's classy. Ella brings her stock and holds sales at milongas from time to time, often together with Coleccion La Recoleta. You can also visit, view, try on, and buy at studio events in various London locations, and they're lovely, with tea, cakes, lots of chat and no feeling of pressure. Find sales and events at or join the Facebook group. The flyer on the right is for Saturday, 11th December, and clicking the link should take you to details.


Anonymous said...

does she do mens? i'd love to turn up looking well sharp.

msHedgehog said...

@Anonymous, haha :) No, Ella just does women's clothes as far as I know, but I have another post in the works that would be relevant for men, about another supplier. So stay tuned. It might not be till New Year some time as I haven't got all the information yet.

Ella Sharp said...

She does do a little bit of menswear (my suits and shirts), but it takes a great deal of persuasion!!! There's some stuff in issue 3 of Mensfile ( - but you'll have to click through to page sixty something...) and Ella has also made a 'demob' suit for a special feature coming up in the next issue out in Jan. The trouble is that, as with any bespoke tailoring, it takes a great deal of time and skill, so is therefore v expensive... hence the need for persuasion. Let's just say that it costs me dear (from the husband)!

ps. Great post Ms H!

msHedgehog said...

@Ella, yes - for a designer who also does the manufacturing, doing this for menswear is bound to be an exception, I think. The construction is just so much more complicated. Discussion of solutions to follow!