Trend Alert: Barre Hopping

11 June 2010

When you hung up your tutu and ballet slippers at the age of five, you could hardly have expected your adult self to excitedly want to re-enter the world of pirouettes and pliés. But this season, ballet is undeniably having its fashion moment, and you’ll be dancing on air – in more than just your favourite pair of ballet flats.

suri cruise ballet

Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise

It’s one thing to see images of the most stylish of celebrity offspring, Suri Cruise, snapped after a ballet class looking adorable in a tutu and tights, but when Mossy herself gets in on the act (the super’s summer plans include a trip to Marseille, where she’s due to perform a duet with dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov, aka Carrie Bradshaw’s Russian), we’re all wondering how to get en pointe. Kate’s currently taking private ballet lessons and undergoing an intense training regime with choreographer and director Michael Clark, who’s set to direct her ballet debut in the short film, which is operating under the somewhat dubious working title, Baryshnimoss. Hey, if it helps us get those super toned dancer’s legs, we’re more than willing to hit the barre…

Looks from Marc Jacobs, Charlotte Ronson and Rodarte's catwalk shows

Designers are also getting in on the act. First there was Mark Fast’s dance studio campaign shoot for his more affordable diffusion line Faster, starring Anouck Lepère and Hayley Morley stretching their limbs in his signature cobweb knits, then we heard that über-cool Cali sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte were designing costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming flick Black Swan, which pits Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis against each other as rival ballerinas. And just last week, designer J. Mendel’s Gilles Mendel unveiled his costumes for the New York City Ballet’s newest production, Call Me Ben, about infamous gangster Bugsy Siegal, and kept the ballet theme going in his Cruise collection, which features ethereal dresses made of ballet’s fairy tale fabrics like tulle, mousseline and organza.

Marc Jacobs SS'10

While plenty of designers paid homage to the ballet world’s pastel hues on the catwalk and the ubiquitous underwear-as-outerwear trend draws upon the silhouette of a dancer’s uniform, no designer embraced the ballet spirit more than Marc Jacobs, whose collection of soft, feminine ruffles, sheer, gauzy leggings and otherworldly frocks took centre-stage. Theatrical makeup was also a major part of his look, with girls’ faces painted a dramatic white, outwardly-flicked eye liner on the eyes and pointy blood red lips by makeup maestro François Nars, designed to recreate the look of dancers who had just left the stage. And of course, models all sported the classic ballerina bun high atop their heads (also seen on spring catwalks like Lanvin and Zac Posen and on celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Sarah Jessica Parker), which is incidentally an elegant and stylish way to keep hair looking fabulous and sophisticated through the summer heat (Bonus: pulling hair back into a chic chignon is also an instant trick to elongate the neck). Meanwhile, New York designer Charlotte Ronson showed that ballerina girls are tougher than pink satin slippers with her off-duty dancer-inspired collection, where models sported acid-washed body suits with army jackets and off-the-shoulder crop tops with sheer, rolled-up tights.

Kate Moss and Cheryl Cole channel the trend

Some of our favourite pop stars like RiRi, Lady Gaga and Cheryl Cole have all shown the fiercer side of the trend with their performance apparel, rocking leotards on stage – their versions were super high-cut and wildly embellished with lace, sequins, hoods and more. The leotard look translates to reality as well; check out American Apparel’s selection of styles, whether you’re looking for a racy-lacy Gaga-inspired version or a tamer cotton body as an alternative to your basic vest top (which looks fab paired with your favourite skirt or summer shorts).

Doutzen Kroes in Zac Posen at the Met Ball

It may seem as though ballet is all about fragility and femininity, but ballerinas actually need to possess extraordinary strength and a tough-as-nails attitude in order to succeed, so it’s no surprise that celebs, designers and the high street have all gotten behind the movement. So don’t be afraid to take a cue from your five-year-old self and indulge your childhood dancing dreams: embrace that pale pink palette, swath yourself in tulle and start practising for Swan Lake.

By Jennifer Barton


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