Noughties indie sleaze shoes are making a comeback – ballet flats are back on point

Noughties indie sleaze shoes are making a comeback – ballet flats are back on point

Noughties indie sleaze shoes are making a comeback – ballet flats are back on point

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Fasten the calf! This season, ballet flats, AKA podiatrists’ most hated shoe, are back with a vengeance. At the last fashion weeks in London and New York, they ruled the roost. Killing Eve star Sandra Oh chose a black pair for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, while Katie Holmes and model Bella Hadid have been seen running errands in them.

This is the first time ballet flats have been fashionable since the noughties, when an entire generation trying to emulate Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Alexa Chung stumbled around in them and ended up suffering from foot pain. Fast forward to 2022, and Gen Z has rediscovered this era of indie sleaze. Think messy eyeliner, worn leather jackets, dirty mini skirts and of course the flat feet-destroying ballet pumps.

This season’s iterations are a much more literal interpretation of the traditional ballet pointe shoe, with MatchesFashion reporting strong sales of Miu Miu’s pale pink version. Sporting a logo-embossed elastic tie, they were styled on the Autumn/Winter 2022 runway with thick knee-high socks and mini skirts, while the street style set favored low-rise jeans.

This sleek slipper is part of a wider dance trend taking off in the fashion world. Red-carpet-favorite brand Rodarte masters tulle dresses, while designer Nensi Dojaka, loved by It girls like Hailey Bieber, creates plenty of stretchy bodysuits that look just as good on the bar as in a bar.

Joseph Kocharian, the fashion director of Attitude and Rolling Stone UK who regularly works with ballerinas, says the ballet uniform has been romanticized, like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “It’s very accessible. The Miu Miu flats are very literal in their representation, but people are wearing basketball hightops and football shirts.”

Next week, the trend will pirouette further into the spotlight with the 10th anniversary of the Fall Fashion Gala at the New York City Ballet. It honors its deputy, Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker, and features 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 haute couture runway and red carpet techniques to make the pieces stage-ready. Everything from the dancers’ movements to the need to be cleaned in industrial washes (the costumes will tour for the next five years) has been taken into account.

Related: Prada lets it rip with “false moves” at Milan Fashion Week

Deacon says he enjoys seeing the worlds of ballet and fashion collide, especially on the street. “There’s a glorious elegance about ballet, and to see the juxtaposition of elements taken from the stage to the runway into a more modern context is great. It’s great to see people in things like soft net skirts coming from the top of the art movement.”

When Vogue España cast model Kendall Jenner in a 2016 ballet-themed shoot, the internet went into a frenzy. Cut to 2022 and ballet dancers are celebrities in their own right, with Royal Ballet principals Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales amassing cult followings 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 chose to cast the Royal Ballet over models in one campaign.

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

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