Fashion’s fleeting nature means trends come and go, but there are always a few select styles that dig their heels in (yes, pun intended) and refuse to die – think trench coat or bomber jacket as perennial wardrobe fillers. Making an appearance on the runway year after year, these styles are persistent enough to eventually gain ‘staple' status. This season’s triumphant style that we all just can’t get enough of is – once again – the ballet flat.

Cute, comfy, and harking to so many of our youths at the barre, it’s not surprising that fashion can’t seem to shake off the satin slipper. Fashion ballet flats are said to have originated with Chanel’s two-toned slingbacks in 1957, a style that‘s still en pointe today. Cast your memory back to 2007, and you’ll remember Kate Moss pictured on the streets of Notting Hill wearing a waistcoat and a pair of French Sole ballet pumps. Skip forward a few years and Alexa Chung’s off-duty dancer style, consisting of ballet flats draped casually around her neck, took the early internet by storm. By the time the now iconic Miu Miu flats entered the scene in 2016, the slip-on shoe had been long established as one of fashion’s favourites.

This time around, the ballet flat’s popularity came with a wider wave of balletomania (imaginatively dubbed ‘balletcore’). Think leg warmers, wrap cardigans, slinky bodysuits and tulle skirts – 2023 is brimming with clothing fit for a prima.

From left to right: Molly Goddard AW23, Simone Rocha AW23, Jacquemus AW23

But don’t get it twisted, just because the ballet flat is a seasoned runway regular doesn’t mean designers are presenting the same old styles. This season, Jacquemus raised the barre with a square-toe iteration in black, white, and crimson, while Molly Goddard’s offering was buckle-heavy, tiptoeing the style away from its soft, practical origins and into edgier territory. An expert in the ballet pump, this season the sole focus for Simone Rocha was silhouette, who used a dented midsole to disrupt the style's traditionally sleek form.

So whether you’re prancing on stage, or looking for an everyday staple with guaranteed cool and comfort, the ballet flat will have you dancing on air.

By Mimi Francis

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