This Season, Fashion Will Keep You on Your Toes

This Season, Fashion Will Keep You on Your Toes

Dancewear inspired garments promises no-holds barred style and comfort.

Dancewear inspired garments promises no-holds barred style and comfort.

Text: Reshmi Kaur Oberoi

Hues of pink, including Millenial Pink and Dusty Rose, also the namesake of supermodel, Behati Prinsloo, and singer, Adam Levine’s daughter, have splashed everything from Instagram-cult interiors like NoLita’s Pietro, a pink-themed restaurant, to bridal to fashion post-announcement that Rose Quartz was Pantone’s color of 2016. And with crystals trending as a sort of feng shui, rose quartz again proves it popularity, symbolizing self-love. ‘Think pink’ aesthetic aside, designers are now infusing dancewear into their collections with splashes of the aforementioned pink hues evoking ballet ribbon laced-up pointe shoes, mauve leotards and tulle tutus. They’re reason for doing so is uncannily similar to rose quartz’s power of promoting self-awareness and love for one’s body.

The revival of dancewear in fashion was most evident in Dior’s S/S ’19 collection. In a runway show-cum-performance devised by Israeli choreographer, Sharon Eyal, rose quartz’s ethos of self-love and acceptance took center stage. According to the House of Dior, “the choreography of the bodies, and the bond that unites them, echoes the movement of the stars in the celestial vault and evokes the energy of the universe from which dance draws its expressions.”

For Dior Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, whose 2016 debut show featured feminist t-shirts, the 2019 collection is a “powerful explosion of the female imagination.” She did away with corsets, instead opting for draped tunics and effervescent tulle-skirts that skim the legs instead of jutting out from the waist. Fishnet devised from hand-knotted strips layered over an opaque unitard that enables freedom of movement instead of traditionally constricting hosiery. Dior wanted to showcase the “athletic allure” of dancewear infused-fashion as a form of women’s sensuality versus a universal serotonin rush. 

The NYC Ballet has echoed this concept of athleticism in dance with their fall ’18 and winter’19 holiday season campaign. Entitled “Sweat x Beauty,” the dancers swapped elaborate costumes and stage makeup for layered basics. Instead of an ode to athleisure – postmodern garments that enable an active lifestyle without compromising on style, created with the purpose of transitioning from day to night – the ballerinas pay homage to their art with garments unlikely to transition from the barre to the bar. In the campaign teaser, the ballerinas are pirouetting, engaging in abs-carving exercises like plank-shoulder taps, and lack crisscross strap sports bras, leggings that adhere to every fiber of musculature and translucent spaghetti strap sheaths over bodysuits.

At the end of the video, the ballerina leaves her pointe shoes on the mat and walks away in black trainers. Dance traditionally disassociates the sport from the art so that garments worn for rehearsal are abandoned in favor of the audience that seeks, what the company refers to as, “aesthetic pleasure.” The NYC Ballet campaign echoes what Dior, Alberta Feretti, and a slew of other designers are doing: unabashedly showing the beauty in atheleticism.

Christian Stroble, NYC-based stylist who curated the collection worn in the campaign, said that it was only natural for dancewear and fashion to collide. After all, the dancers’ bodies are tailor-made for sample sizes. He primarily outfitted the dancers in PUMA, which participated in a partnership with the NYC Ballet since spring/summer '17 Swan Pack collection.

The NYC Ballet campaign has been a trailblazer for the incorporation of fashion and dance. Their Costume Department, headed by Marc Happel who outfitted the cast of the 2017 blockbuster, Phantom Thread, hosted their annual Fall Gala on September 28, 2018. The spinoff of the MET Gala highlighted this year’s three designer collaborations: Gareth Pugh, Alberta Ferretti, and Giles Deacon.

Deacon’s design in particular caught the attention of the audience: Plumes of black and white feather headpieces, neck collars, and bodysuits in swirling motifs reminiscent of the Rorschach inkblot test, were brought to colorful fruition by the unexpected musical score by Kanye West. Ferretti’s costumes, designed for Judah, the production by 19-year-old choreographer, Gianna Reisen, had the lead couple dressed in all white while the other dancers were dressed in a bright Play-Dough red and Gumby green. Not only the color-scheme, but the print of dancer’s silhouettes on the garments, reflected the choreographer’s youth and the straightforward sanctity of a dancer’s work ethic.

Giles Deacon’s designs - flowing, high-split, floor-length dresses in stark red and black – seemed to be a sharp contrast to the sweat x beauty campaign. But upon closer retrospection and explanation from the company: “the flowing cherry red” symbolized women’s and the men’s black harnesses, reflected “strength and sensuality.”

From runway to real-time wear, dancewear has trickled down into fitness junkie’s cult classic, Lululemon. In October 2018, the role model for athleisure wear released a limited edition Royal Ballet Collection, designed in partnership with Royal Ballet principal dancer, Francesca Hayward. In contrast to Dior’s elimination of the classic corset, Lululemon created a sports bra with a built-in corset, a garment that Hayward said “makes me feel held and femininely sculpted but not heavy or restricted. The material is beautifully supportive but also light.” There is also a jacket with boning corsetry.

The collection comes in an array of nudes, the faintest pink, mauves, and grays, as well as a muted eggplant. From leotards to drop-crotch joggers, pleated drawstring shorts, midi-skirts, metallic thread embroidered-waistbands, and leg warmers, the collection makes no qualms about straying away from its body-skimming leggings in favor of a less inhibited dance-inspired line of garments.

If the rise of dance in pop culture, think televised competitions and on the Red Carpet, has taught us anything it is that we have a lot to learn from the age-old form of mindfulness, movement, exercise, profession, and passion. The fashion industry has taken notice and wants to outfit consumers for the ultimate dancing experience. The collection may have you reconsidering swapping your membership to Ballet Beautiful and Pure Barre for a long-term wardrobe sure to inspire the dancer in the long run.

Check out the fashion mentioned in the article below!

Credits: Cover Image via Getty Images

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