Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not Strictly Ballroom: A Closer Look at Tango Purses

*sigh* . . . . I've been looking at images of tango for an hour and am this close to boarding a steamer for Buenos Aires to spend a year or so learning this marvelous dance . . .

. . . . but will settle with showing you these graceful accessories from the 1920s, which are variously known as tango purses, tango compacts, dance purses, vanity compacts, and quite a few other terms. This makes them a finagle to search out with keywords, but ultimately define:

a) a compact intended to hold powder, a puff, and a mirror, held on the wrist by a snug strap or chain
b) a purse for small necessities, likewise worn close to the wrist
c) far less commonly, a small compact or clutch held in the hand, which would have been unhelpful in an actual tango situation, where both hands must cling tight to preclude being thrown to the floor
d) one of the above, with a small case for lipstick soldered on to the chain handle

It's the latter detail I especially love--and the implied notion that the lipstick would be smoked, drunk, and kissed away over the course of a late night in the dancehall.

Vintage compact above, from Buenos Aires, here. Compact below, Copyright (C) 2009, Grandma's Jewellery Box.
from Ruby Lane, here, with many thanks.

(Tango illustration at top here, with thanks.)

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