TikTok micro trends tend to come and go at the speed of lightning. Somewhat surprisingly however is the fact that in late 2023, #balletcore is finding a second life on the social media platform, with the designated hashtag boasting over 142.1 million views. #balletcore first started trending on TikTok in 2022. The style is based on either practice outfits including leotards, leg warmers, wrap cardigans and warm-up pants, or the extravagant performance costumes of professional ballet dancers, including corsets, tutus and long tulle skirts. Ballet slippers and character shoes are also still in vogue.
So why does this microtrend have such longevity? First, consider the number of young people who are taking up ballet in their twenties and beyond. According to an article on hypebae.com, the term “adult ballet” has been searched on TikTok over 34.7 million times and the hashtag #startingballet has just reached 2 million views. TikTok influencer Annie Gora stated that “I’ve always wanted to go to a dance class… finally, I’m healing my inner child. Ballet makes me feel pretty and strong.”
Indeed, a professional female ballet dancer is seen as the personification of power, strength and femininity. The world of fashion, from Christian Dior in the late ‘forties to current day design houses like Molly Goddard, Rodarte, Miu Miu, Jacquemus and Act no.1 have repeatedly shown collections that revere the dancers and their attire. And for those who just wish to wear the accoutrements of the ballet world, there are currently plenty of options available, whether at the designer level or from retailers.
Spring/Summer 24 runway collections
Judging by what we saw on the ss24 runways recently, the trend will continue well into next year.
Marie Adam Leenaerdt
In Paris, the Belgian designer, Marie Adam-Leenaerdt showed what she called “a holiday collection,” with items meant to be worn on summer vacations. However some of the looks seemed to come straight out of the dance studio.
Look 6: a white high-cut leotard under a white wrap skirt and brown soft round toe shoes.
Look 22: a black spaghetti strap leotard with black dress pants and silver hoop earrings.
Look 26: a black sleeveless leotard under a long wrap skirt and metallic gold slippers.
Adeam: designer, Hanako Maeda
The Japanese/American designer focused on ballet as a sport and showed a collection that leaned toward athleisure styles with a touch of punk styling. Maeda already had a connection to the New York City Ballet, having designed costumes for them in 2015. One of its principal dancers, Tiler Peck, performed at the closing of the show.
Look 4: a cropped white wrap cardigan and tiered lace skirt, pearl and silver jewelry and Doc Marten gladiator sandals.
Look 10: a cropped black wrap cardigan with pearls wrapped around the arms, a black tulle skirt, black thigh high stockings and Doc Marten gladiator sandals.
Look 12: a cropped green rib knit wrap cardigan with pearls around the arms and matching leggings with a crisscross feature reminiscent of the ribbons on ballet slippers.
Alain Paul showed his debut collection on the stage of the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris. The designer was inspired by images of Rudolf Nureyev in rehearsal, and the Pina Bausch company performing their latest production, “The Rite of Spring.”
Look 14: a nude spaghetti strap leotard under a black satin mini skirt, chiffon pants and ballet slippers.
Look 16: a double layered nude chiffon slip dress with an asymmetric hemline worn with nude leather ankle boot with a blunt toe.
Look 17: a brown spaghetti strap leotard and double layered white chiffon dress folded at the waist, white and nude stirrup hose and soft white ballet slippers.
New York’s Christian Siriano was also inspired by the ballet, which he studied as a child. He presented a gender fluid collection full of dance references.
Look 9: a black longer length and layered tutu with a cropped tuxedo jacket and patent leather backless loafers.
Look 21: a black sheer shrug over a black satin bra, a knee-length pink tulle tutu, delicate diamond necklaces and pink satin slingbacks.
Look 23: a black spaghetti strap leotard and sheer skirt under a pink body warmer with ankle strap jeweled sandals.
#balletcore at retail, fall 2023
The Los Angeles-based company Reformation and the New York City Ballet collaborated on a 19-piece ballet-inspired capsule collection which dropped in October 2023. As stated on the website: “We brought together our signature vintage-inspired silhouettes with the whimsy of ballet using fancy materials like tulle, lace, silk, and chiffon”.