Who says dressing for comfort begins and ends with a sweatsuit and slippers? This season, designers answered the ongoing call to create fashion for a low-key lifestyle by tapping into the beauty and function of dance apparel, putting complementary accessories center stage. This idea isn't new—the first pair of ballet flats for everyday wear was created by designer Claire McCardell and Metropolitan Opera House shoemaker, Salvatore Capezio, in 1941. Then Brigitte Bardot stepped out in a pair made by Rose Repetto for the 1956 film And God Created Woman. From Dior, to Valentino, to Vivienne Westwood, and Yves Saint Laurent, ballet has inspired countless collections; and dance companies have enlisted the talent of these and other iconic fashion houses to create exquisite costumes for the stage.
Today's interpretation of ballet fashion feels much more grounded in the utility of practice wear, rather than fantastical dresses made of layers of tulle or satin ankle-wrap stilettos for an en pointe illusion. The spring runways offered subtle nods: traditional pinks were found on tweed chain strap bags and leather duffles; ballet flats sashayed amongst the footwear. By pairing these accessories with warm-up knits, catsuits, coordinating brief sets, or a vintage-feeling black-and-white graphic tee, we created a refined take on athleisure: dressed-down ballerina. We called on the Washington Ballet’s Nardia Boodoo to try out our favorite styles. The result? A standing ovation.
Stretch It Out
Duffle or Nothing
Quite a Flex
MODEL: NARDIA BOODOO AT WILHELMINA MODELS. HAIR: RO MORGAN AT THE WALL GROUP FOR DESIGN ESSENTIALS. MAKEUP: MICHELA WARIEBI FOR PAT MCGRATH LABS. MANICURE: DAWN STERLING AT STATEMENT ARTISTS FOR OPI. CASTING: ARIELLE BERMAN.
This story appears in the Spring 2021 issue of Marie Claire.