From Miu Miu’s ballet flat to Molly Goddard’s tulle tutus and Simone Rocha’s criss-cross ballerina trainers, fashion’s fascination with ballet has reached fever pitch. Transcending from the more theatrical and whimsical couture runways to one of the biggest Gen-Z approved dress codes on TikTok, balletcore is now taking over the beauty space.
In a more subtle manner, french braids and ballerina buns sashayed down the runway last September, with whispers of a resurgence for ballet-inspired pinks and subtle hair bows. There was a grungier nod at NYFW SS24's shows, but the romantic and ethereal aesthetic still felt to be the reserve of the runway rather than a wearable staple.
Fast forward to today and those once festive-attire hair bows have been supersized; they’re the go-to of everyone in your office and a mainstay look for the likes of Sofia Richie, Bella Hadid and Sydney Sweeney. So what's fuelling the collective beauty obsession with all things balletcore?
Ballet has long held gravitas within culture and film. A phenomenon that goes back to the early 1930s, it has taken over our screen in Birds Of Paradise and Natalie Portman’s haunting portrayal in Black Swan, and continues to inform fashion silhouettes, from leotards and leg warmers to reimagined ballerina tutus.
It's only natural then that ballet would begin filtering into the world of beauty. On the SS24 Haute Couture runway, balletcore was the undeniable trend du jour. Giambattista Valli and Peet Dullaert favoured a more traditional ballet-esque aesthetic, while Christian Dior took pretty hair bows and juxtaposed them with grungy eyeliner.
Filtering onto the beauty shelves, a rose-toned colour palette is prevailing as the biggest beauty must. 'The balletcore trend is all about beautiful dewy skin, flushed cheeks and pink lips; it's a monochrome look using pinks,' explains Chanel make-up artist Anna Payne. 'What you’re looking to achieve is the kind of glow and flush you get from ballet, yoga or pilates.'
Chanel’s new Les Beiges Winter Glow collection centres on just that – the ultimate flush. To create the aesthetic, Payne recommends building up the flush on your cheeks using LES BEIGES BLUSH STICK in N.24 Coral. 'It sculpts the face and enhances its healthy glow by adding a touch of colour.'
VIEVE is another name tapping into the trend. But for founder Jamie Genevieve, balletcore beauty is taking on a new direction this season. 'The balletcore make-up trend was popular last year, focusing on blush tones and glass-like skin. The trend has since evolved and 2024. There is still a focus on tonal, rosy make-up and glossy skin but to keep it looking modern, lashes can be layered with mascara for a fresh and balanced approach.'
'Instead of applying blusher on the apple of the cheeks first, start on the back of your cheekbones near the hairline. By doing this, the first touch of blush (which is always the most pigmented) won’t be near the middle of the face, and the most intense pigment will be on the high point of your cheeks; instantly lifting and sculpting the face. VIEVE Sunset Blush in Rosa is the perfect dusty rose pink to create this look,' she adds.
Ballet-inspired buns have also had a refresh and are moving away from their stage theatrics. The modern iteration involves texture and movement (see: Jodie Comer). 'A quick blast of a texture mist will give you grip that won’t slip. The placement of the bun can make all the difference, follow your cheekbones and tie into a ponytail at the crown for a give an instant lift,' says celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight. 'Tie into a good solid ponytail first. That’s the anchor for your twist and for your pins to hold the bun in place. When pinning, push the pin straight through the bun until it’s through to your scalp and then turn the pin on its side to slide across and under to keep in place,' he adds.
He also recommends having a little more fun with your hair bow this season. 'Play with sizes, slim black velvet always looks chic or oversized patterns and bright hues can bring a pop of colour to your style,' he tells ELLE UK.
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