By Erin Moonyeen Haley
The lineage of the ballet shoe as a fashion staple is far more illustrious than one might expect. While ballet’s roots can be traced to the court of Catherine de Medici upon her marriage to Henri II, the French king and scion of Francis I, the ballet slipper itself owes its debut to Marie Camargo the first dancer of the Paris Opéra Ballet who removed the heel from the slipper prototype to create a suppleness not seen before.
Without the heel, ballerinas could dance fast allégros, move in fluid glissades and leap higher in gravity-defying jetés, trailblazing a style of dance that meshed the athletic with the elegant.
Ballerinas themselves have long been living, breathing objets d’art, subject to worship and imitation, thanks to everyone from Edgar Degas with his Little Dancer of Fourteen Years sculpture, to Darren Aronofsky with his 2010’s cerebral thriller Black Swan.
commissioned them to make a ballet flat for the everyday. Later, Italian designer Rose Repetto made handmade ballet flats for one of her son's performances.
But it would be bombshell Brigitte Bardot who - having been trained as a dancer - would ask Repetto to make ballet flats for her to wear in her cinematic classic And God Created Woman (1956). From there, everyone from the gamine Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face to Princess Diana would wear ballet flats, keeping the sweet shoe as part of the fashionista’s casual uniform that played into ballet's aesthetic of clean lines and form-hugging attire.
Today, with the accelerated spotlight of social media, the Balletcore philosophy has emerged, with its own hashtag, racking up over 76.4 million views. Drum it up to nostalgia or a desire to look chic via simplicity, but the ballet shoe is not going anywhere, especially with Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo showing off the lissome shoes on Instagram amidst Wicked rehearsals.
The traffic on Miu Miu runways this past March as designers prepped for fall were all about the ballet flat, creating an ambiance of classic sophistication that was at once athletic but nonchalant, creating a new prototype of style that that could be given the sobriquet 'Ballet Prep'.
Fast-forward to Grande's social media post, and the fashionable footwear has migrated from the spring runway to the autumn pedestrian.
The website offers satiny splashes of color in shades of firebird red, complete with sweet bows and elastic bands with the Miu Miu logo.
Other styles are sculptured from cotton gabardine with the black-and-white color scheme of brand-new dice, with crystals bedazzling the entirety of the shoe. The crowning touch might just be the bulbous pearls cinching the band.
Some pairs are less earthbound thanks to platform heels that add a level of funk with double straps and chunky buckles. The Naplak leather shoes come in black or white.
A variety of other styles and sizes are on the company website, allowing everyone to channel the Balletcorp vibe.