Balletcore Is Still Huge

Last September, during New York Fashion Week, the first dancer of the New York City Ballet, Tiler Peck, finished the adeam show with a surprise performance. Her whipped cream was followed by a series of asymmetrical leggings, skirts decorated with tulle and soft pastels, a collection that inspired the brand designer Hanako Maeda from “the idea of ballet as a performance art and as a sport “.”

“The collection combines the romance and couture craftsmanship that you see in ballet costumes with a more modern, sporty atmosphere,” she explains. “I also added a touch of rock’n’roll to the accessories.”

As a former dancer, I know all too well the fantastic side of ballet—nutcracker performances at Christmas, sparkling tulle skirts, pastel lace, etc. – which for a long time served as an inspiration for fashion. Designers, from Claire McCardell in the 1930s to John Galliano in the late 90s, have included ballet elements in their collections. In recent years, names such as Maeda, Esteban Cortázar, Raf Simons, Christopher John Rogers and Wes Gordon have designed costumes for ballet companies such as the New York City Ballet. Meanwhile, products such as Jacquemus ballet slides and satin bow ballet flats from Miu Miu have become the most popular items of 2023, according to Lyst.

the most recent ballet craze, Reformation x New York City Ballet, was inspired by Jewels, a show choreographed by the founder of the ballet company, George Balanchine, which contains pieces suitable for both ballerinas and guests who want to see a ballet performance. “We were inspired by classical ballet-inspired elements that mimic traditional training clothes, including bodysuits, wrap sweaters, silk skirts, leggings and, of course, ballet flats,” says Lauren Caris Cohan, creative director of Reformation. The campaign, filmed at Lincoln Center in New York City, where the company is performing, features models in leotards and sweaters paired with leather jackets who seem to be coming out of rehearsal and ready to inflate their ballet buns.

The latter is interesting because although there have been many literal interpretations of ballet uniforms in the past, the recent depiction of balletcore — a trend that has dominated fashion for two years and is only growing — is different from the rebellious side that has reinvented the stereotypes of ballet fashion.

the hashtag Balletcore has over a billion views, with designers wearing everything from ballet flats and denim leggings to outfits inspired by films like Black Swan and Center Stage, which have used fashion as a tool to express their opposition to the rigid standards of ballet.

On the catwalk, designers such as Givenchy, Simone Rocha and Christian Siriano reinterpreted the ultra-feminine dance staples into darker, edgier pieces. Siriano, for example, reworked ballet-style pink ribbons over club mini dresses and added ballet tights under wide trousers for his spring 2024 collection.