ballet beautiful: dancewear finds its way into mainstream fashion


Model: Kristen Kubek Photographer: Janelle Sessoms

It’s no secret that dancers have a history of influencing the fashion world. Couture designer Iris van Herpen has created costumes for the Paris Opera and the New York City Ballet. Isadora Duncan, hailed as the mother of modern dance, was known for her flowing costumes that revived classical Greece-inspired draping techniques within the fashion industry. The different disciplines within the art realm often have intertwining themes and ideas. In recent years, designers have once again looked to the art form of dance for inspiration. 

Model: Kristen Kubek Photographer: Janelle Sessoms

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers have searched for a way to be more versatile. There is a need for a seamless transition between work, home and social aspects of our lives. According to WGSN, customers will be looking for items that function well across multiple activities. People want clothes that have versatility — something comfortable enough for lounging or working out that is also elegant enough to wear out to a social gathering the same evening. This is a concept that is central to dancewear. A dancer layer, wearing luxe leotards with casual warm-up clothes that they shed once they are ready for their routine. Drawing from this smooth in-and-out of the studio transition, designers are creating dance-inspired gym-to-club pieces that perfectly balance beauty and comfort. 

Model: Kristen Kubek Photographer: Janelle Sessoms

Staples of this upcoming trend include sheer lightweight fabrics, soft Earth tones and trims such as lace and mesh detailing. These elements are a part of a new fashion concept called Fash-Luxe which incorporates a luxurious aesthetic into daywear and activewear. WGSN’s Jessica Harman states, “This story is all about adding drama through luxe details that can transition to after dark, tapping into a sense of playful escapism.” 

The use of luxurious fabrics, opulent details and alluring silhouettes allows for a look that extends beyond the gym. The concept of “all-day active” blurs the lines between casualwear and activewear that allow for a more versatile experience so consumers can get the most out of their clothes. 

Bodysuits, sheer bottoms, and wrap-around tops are key items to keep in mind. Designers will use cut-outs, draping, and artful layering to create a silhouette that celebrates and emphasizes the natural curves of the human body. The goal is to evoke a sense of grace, beauty, and strength that is associated with ballet. The wearer is the focus; the clothing simply encapsulates their elegance and allows for comfort and ease of movement. 

Model: Kristen Kubek Photographer: Janelle Sessoms

Many brands have already moved to fill this growing “all-day active” side of the industry. Capezio, a renowned dancewear brand, has announced that they will be expanding into activewear, launching their first collection this fall. French company Ernest Leoty prides themselves on their concept of “couture for leisure” and their signature corset-inspired activewear. Slovenian fashion company Just a Corpse is a luxury leisure brand that seeks to blend dance aesthetics with traditional fashion designs. 

In a world where we are so often confined to our computer screens, consumers want to feel sophisticated and luxurious. Dance-inspired clothing allows for a sense of performance and elegance that renews the spirit. In the midst of the pandemic, we simply needed a reminder that all the world’s a stage.

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Hi, I’m Maria McGinnis, a senior journalism student from Stow, Ohio. I’m also the editor-in-chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.