A dance style rich with history and art that takes years of practice and dedication has been watered down into a micro aesthetic. Ballet, a harsh industry that focuses on talent, bodies, and unbelievably high standards. Dripping in misogyny, and racism, leaving many dancers with low self-esteem and body dysmorphia. Taking years of training to get en pointe if you are even considered good enough to be en pointe.
At the beginning of the ballet, attire consisted of masks, layers of brocade costuming, pantaloons, massive headpieces, small heels, and extremely ornamental accessories. Beginning in France during the 15th century, ballet became popular when Catherine de Medici married King Henry II, introducing ballet style into court life.
Source: The Marginalian
Ballet, as we know it today, emerged in the early 1930s and was known as a feminine elite art form. As women became the sole dancers, the fashion changed to white fitted bodices and diaphanous calf-length tulle skirts with satin pumps that laced to the calf. Taglioni pioneered the en pointe shoes and technique, becoming the standard shoe.
The Ballet Russes, a ballet company started in Paris in the 20th century, was the first to popularize ballet costuming as an inspiration for designers. Many designers like Chanel, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, and Dior have been inspired by ballet fashion. Designer have used tulle in their collections for a hundreds of years, now tulle is a vital part of ballet costuming and can be seen as inspiration from the dance form.
The obsessions with ballet dancers was more focused on the theatrical and femineity aspect of it all and how designers wanted to interpret the art. The aesthetic is now more about romanticizing the casual ballerina in the studio. While balletcore tends to focus on the more casual side of a dancer's life achieving this ballerina off duty look.
Ming Ma Spring 2023 collection takes a romantic approach on the ballerina while having a more contemporary influence, paying homage to past ballet silhouettes. The collection was highly influenced by Ballet Russes the company that popularized ballet to what it is today. Displaying women in a romantic and powerful frame with the use of corsets and crinolines with a modern twist. A beautiful and playful take on the delicate color pallet, florals, intricate accessories, and of course a lot of tulle.
Source: Vogue Runway
Noir Kei Ninomiya Spring RTW from 2022 show keeps the color pallet neutral while exaggerating the silhouettes. Each look shows repetition, while some looks use bows made of ribbon and tulle some show repetition in the architecture of the looks. This is one of the more high fashion takes on the ballet aesthetic, each piece being a work of art and extreme makeup looks using tulle on the face to give an exaggerated Black Swan inspired feel.
Source: Vogue Runway
This aesthetic has not only become popular in the West but it started out in China thanks to K-Pop stars like Jennie Kim, who participated in the trend. Another thing to mention is that the main aesthetic accessory is thinness, a prevalent body standard for women in China and the ballet industry. This is something to take into consideration while consuming the aesthetic. Celebrities like Bella Hadid, Lily-Rose Depp, Sydney Sweeny, and Olivia Rodrigo have all taken to this style to further its popularity.
Balletcore is put into two categories, one focusing on the romantic style of the costuming and the other being more based on rehearsal fashion one would wear while practicing. The balletcore style consists of leotards, arm & leg warmers, tights, flared leggings, wrap skirts/tops, Uggs, hair ribbons, knit sweaters, subversive basics, silk slip dresses, earmuffs, Miu Miu ballet flats, pearls and headphones especially wired ones (yes those are back in).
Balletcore incorporates many ongoing trends with its use of layering, still focusing on being put together. While some people are joining in on the aesthetic to reminisce about ballet classes from their childhood, many follow the trend to just join in on the popularity of the aesthetic. Something to consider is giving money to the struggling ballet industry, which has not been able to bounce back since COVID-19. Participating in the aesthetic while attending ballet shows and performances with your friends. Balletcore is a great aesthetic to get in touch with your feminine side and clearly designers are taking notice as more and more are getting into the trend.