The first roots of ballet could be traced back to Italy in the late 1400s. But it wasn’t until much later in France under the reign of Louis XIV between 1643 and 1715 when it evolved into the form we know now. Under his reign, the dancing became known for its influence and power, and this article looks at how the art has come to play a substantial impact in modern fashion.
Ballet’s influence on trend has become particularly apparent because of the launch of this highly acclaimed film Black Swan where Natalie Portman plays the troubled and psychotic ballerina. This has thrust many ballet-inspired fashion accessories and garments to be pushed into mainstream culture. Such things include bodysuits reminiscent of leotards, dresses in the style of tutus and also the highly favorite ballet flats that are virtually direct replicas of soft ballet shoes.
Ballet’s sway over fashion is evident much sooner than the idea behind Black Swan was even conceived. In reality, for over one hundred decades, fashion and ballet have enjoyed a very close and profitable relationship. The Ballet Russes (The Russian Ballets) provides a good illustration of this. This was a traveling Russian ballet company which performed between 1909 and 1929 in many countries. Under the Direction of Sergei Diaghilev, it’s considered being the most significant ballet company of the 20th Century, and costume played a considerable part in its success. The company invited rising artists of the time to collaborate in the design of costumes, among which comprised Coco Chanel. The provocative outfits she designed for The Rite Of Spring is believed to be one of the contributing factors to the scandal due to the production.
More recently, world famous designer Yves Saint Laurent took much influence in the expression of the Ballets Russes in his 1977 catwalk collection. Through the 1980s, films like Fame, Flashdance, and Dirty Dancing also had a substantial influence on mainstream style since so many of the characters wore leotards, leg-warmers, and leggings. Even more recently than this, Bjork wore a swan dress into the 2001 Academy Awards that might have produced a taste for the ballet-inspired clothes that are so readily available today. Along with this, Sarah Jessica Parker also tried on a ballet tutu in an episode of hit US comedy Sex And The City. Cumulatively, these combined with many other influences have led ballet wear to possess a substantial effect on mainstream fashion.
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