For decades, fashion has inspired dance-wear and dance has inspired fashion. Quite recently, the sartorial symbiosis of ballet and fashion got a dramatic showcasing in the beautifully staged runways of designers like Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Alberta Ferretti and more. Sartorialists share that the ballerina style allows the wearer to appear as elegant as a prima ballerina while adding a touch of playfulness to any wardrobe.
“The romantic tutu made its first appearance in 1832 at the Paris Opera when Marie Taglioni wore a gauzy white skirt cut to reveal her ankles, designed by Eugene Lami. From 19th century onwards, the skirt length and shape kept getting modified according to fashion. Performing art and especially ballet is considered as an endless source of inspiration and the soft femininity of ballerina dressing has long fascinated designers across the globe. Ballet-inspired fashion is all about taking traditional dance-wear elements (flouncy skirts, wrap sweaters, ballerina shoes) up a notch to create modern-cum-street edge look,” shares designer Gautam Gupta.
Designer Pallavi Mohan of Not so Serious, on the other hand, credits the ethereal beauty of the costumes that create a fantasy-like effect for its current craze. “Ballet-inspired fashion is ‘on pointe’ right now and rightly so,” she says adding, “Ballerinas are delicate, nimble and meant to be light on their feet and their outfit is meant to add to the magic of their movement. But it is not necessary you must be a ballerina to channel that aura. You can go ahead and do plies and pirouettes to your heart’s content in some of the perfectly prim, ultra-feminine and totally wearable and shimmering pieces.”
Fashionable is just another word for modern and the whole point of fashion is to look up-to-date rather than old-fashioned. Think about your own fashion choices in terms of freedom of movement or the constraint which would be imposed on the body, advises designer Naisha Nagpal. She suggests, “In light of the popular fashions that don’t help much in navigating the choreography of daily life: Ballerina skirts, feather detailed gowns, lace leotard especially when worn with a long skirt, elaborate bodices, etc. frame, compliment and liberate the human body. If you are feeling more confident about channelling your inner Margot Fonteyn then explore ballet separates such as pastel-coloured bodysuits which are cute with this season’s must-have wide-legged trousers or more casual at weekends with jeans or relaxed pants.”
However, ballerina fashion is incomplete without the romantic tutu skirts. Mohan adds, “Short or long, tutu skirts add an element of poise to the whole look. The feminine tulle skirt is shedding its fussy connotations to reveal an irrefutably chic day-to-night piece. For the day look, pair your favourite turtleneck or boat-neck pullover with tulle in soft colours like blush pink, powder blue and lilac, add ultra-feminine details like statement neckpiece and stilettos to complete the look. For a night luxe look, throw on a leather jacket and an embellished clutch. Colour blocking works well with these skirts too.”
Ballerina inspired fashion is one trend that translates well into the realms of workwear too. Designer Zulekha Shariff says, “Try multi-layered sheer tulle in girlie shades of peachy pink and baby blue. But if you feel like doing a Carrie Bradshaw spin for work in a tutu style skirt, then make it work appropriate by picking a muted tone. With midi hemlines in vogue, this year is a good time to opt for the longer, three-quarter-length ‘bell’ style. If your workplace has a pretty strict dress code, choose a modest accessory like a darling pointe shoe pendant.”