Ballet Flats Re-emerge in a Post-Pandemic World

Audrey Hepburn wearing Ballet Flats

Ballet Flats Re-emerge in a Post-Pandemic World

The ballet flat, often slandered and rarely appreciated, is officially back. If being worn by Bella Hadid isn’t enough, it is one of the most forecasted trends of 2023. Though the shoe was a staple of heroines in the 1950s – from American to French, Audrey Hepburn to Brigitte Bardot, it died an ugly death. Wedged between the numerous fashion fails of the 2010s, ballet flats were reminiscent of a time of skinny jeans and peplum tops. 

The time between its demise and eventual resurrection was a complete 180 in culture. Streetwear started to gain traction in the mainstream. Sneakers were all the rage and became a symbol of money and taste. Audiences started to embrace androgyny and sneakers became an acceptable final touch to any outfit. 

Suddenly, COVID-19 hit and pajamas and slippers replaced the reign of sweatpants and sneakers. Comfort became not a choice but a requirement. When observing a post-pandemic world, trend forecasters had two options. Customers would either gravitate towards comfortable clothing or pursue experimentation in style. The direction, at least in terms of shoe wear, is swinging towards the dressy and slightly uncomfortable. According to Market Watch, the global market size of ballet flats, “will be a year-over-year revenue with magnificent growth rate.” 

Here are some brands that are pioneers in creating ballet flats and ones who have popularized them with exceptional craftsmanship. 

Repetto: A Pioneer

Created by ballerinas for ballerinas, this leather goods seller is a historical French shoe company. Founded by ballet choreographer Roland Petit’s mother, it first sought to create comfortable shoes for ballerinas. They eventually began to distribute ballet shoes to vast numbers of French ballet companies. Today, they operate as a luxury brand and sell shoe wear, ready-to-wear and leather goods. 

First created for actress Brigitte Bardot, the Cendrillon Ballerinas have become a beloved product. The shoes, made with patent leather, cowhide leather insoles, and cotton lining, and the stitching – a stitch-and-return – method has been a staple of the brand since the 1950s and ensures comfort. 

Other variations of the ballet flat are also available including the Camille Ballerinas which duplicates the original except for a slight heel. Another popular version, The Sophia Ballerinas, created with lambskin, provides the most femininity and include lace up ribbons.  

Cendrillon Flat
Camille Pump
Sophia Flat

Tabitha Simmons

Tabitha Simmons is a British fashion designer who added a twist to the standard ballet flat. Her most popular item – the Hermoine Mary Janes – features a pointed toe and thin strap. Created in snakeskin leather or kidsuede, the shoes are sold at department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue or on sites like Goop. Equally popular among celebrities and socialites, it is a go-to shoe for designer and socialite Talita Von Furstenberg.

Snakeskin Hermoine Mary Janes via Saks
Printed Hermoine Mary Janes via Refinery29

Miu Miu

The revival of the ballet flat can also be traced to the brand famous for being a little sister to Prada. It’s feminine and youthful aura also appeals to a younger audience. So it was no surprise that ballet flats were a standout from the 2022 Autumn / Winter show. Models graced the runway in satin flats paired with a strap with an embossed logo. Knit socks accompanied the shoes, signaling a part ski and part schoolgirl look.

As a matter of fact, it quickly became viral with celebrities like Rosalia and ordinary TikTok users hopping on the trend and declaring the arrival of the ballet flat. In 2022, Grazia Magazine reported that Pinterest searches on ballet flats had, “increased by 1566% in recent months.”

The brand sells different variations of the ballet flat. One is a classic ballerina shoe covered in crystals. Another is a hybrid between a flat and sneaker. There is also the option of sling backs along with platforms. The materials used in these items range from satin to metallic. The range of options are refreshing.

Altogether, it is undoubtedly showing no signs of stopping, the craze seems like it will only get bigger.

Image via Vogue Runway
Image via Vogue Runway

Featured Image via

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