The 2000s indie sleaze shoe is back: the ballerinas are back on point

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Stick your pimples on! This season, ballerinas, also known as the most hated shoe by podiatrists, are back with a vengeance. At recent London and New York fashion weeks, they dominated the front row. Killing Eve star Sandra Oh chose a black pair for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, while Katie Holmes and model Bella Hadid have been spotted running errands in them.

This is the first time ballerinas have been in fashion since the 2000s, when an entire generation trying to emulate Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Alexa Chung stumbled upon them and ended up suffering from foot pain. Fast-forward to 2022, and Gen Z has rediscovered this seedy indie era. Think messy eyeliner, worn leather jackets, dirty miniskirts, and of course, flat-foot-destroying ballerinas.

This season’s iterations are a much more literal interpretation of traditional ballet pointe shoes, with MatchesFashion reporting strong sales of Miu Miu’s pale pink version. Featuring a logo-embossed elasticated bow, they were styled on the fall/winter 2022 runway with chunky knee-high socks and mini skirts, while the street-style ensemble favors low-rise jeans.

This stylish revival of slippers is part of a larger dance trend that’s taking the fashion world by storm. Red-carpet favorite Rodarte champions tulle gowns, while designer Nensi Dojaka, loved by it girls like Hailey Bieber, creates plenty of stretchy jumpsuits that would fit the bar as well as a bar.

Joseph Kocharian, the fashion director for Attitude and Rolling Stone UK who regularly works with ballerinas, says that, like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the ballet uniform has become romantic. “It is very accessible. Miu Miu low tops are very literal in representation, but people wear high top basketball shoes and soccer jerseys.”

Next week, the trend will be highlighted with the 10th Anniversary Fall Fashion Gala at the New York City Ballet. In honor of Vice President Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City, presents the world premiere of two ballets with costumes by fashion designers, including Giles Deacon, and an original score by Solange Knowles.

Working closely with choreographer Kyle Abraham, Deacon has adapted his couture runway and red carpet techniques to prepare the pieces for the stage. Everything is taken into account, from the movements of the dancers to the need to clean them in industrial washing machines (the costumes will be on tour for the next five years).

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Deacon says he likes to see the worlds of ballet and fashion collide, especially on the street. “There is a brilliant elegance to ballet and to see the juxtaposition of elements taken from stage to catwalk in a more contemporary context is great. It’s great to see people in things like soft mesh skirts that come from the top of the art movement.”

When Vogue Spain chose model Kendall Jenner for a ballet-themed photo shoot in 2016, the internet was outraged. Cut to 2022, and ballet dancers are celebrities in their own right with Royal Ballet directors Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales amassing a cult following on social media and sitting front row at Bottega Veneta. London-based designer Michael Halpern, whose designs have been worn by Diane Kruger and Lupita Nyong’o, even decided to cast the Royal Ballet on models in a campaign.

Lucinda Strachan, an English National Ballet artist, says: “There’s a fine line between trying to imitate something and being influenced by it. If you recognize the influence, you can take it as far as you want.” While she’d love to wear a Nensi outfit on and off stage, she’s not so sure about Miu Miu’s flats, which retail for £550. Laughing, she says, “A friend sent me a screenshot of them next to a photo of similar slippers we used to wear. They cost £11.50.”

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