Ballet-Core. Rodarte AW22

Going for an all-pastel colour palette might be lethal. But the Rodarte sisters manage to keep the saccharine sweetness not that naive in their autumn-winter 2022 collection. The ultra-feminine line-up is heavily inspired by ballet and ballerinas’ ensembles, and it makes so much sense: Kate and Laura Mulleavy created Natalie Portman’s costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s terrific Black Swan back in 2010. But right now, there’s nothing evil about the Rodarte Swan Queens. Over 2020 and 2021, their innate sense of woman-ness has led the Los Angeles-based designers to swing their pendulum into collections about optimism, comfort, sweetness, sparkle, and motion. What they’ve landed on here is equilibrium. In pastel imagery by Daria Kobayashi Rich, with set design by Tina Pappas and Adam Siegel and floral design by Joseph Free, the Mulleavys have found the happiest, tenderest of marriages between the tiered cascades of blush tulle worn by Lili Reinhart, the crisp pink suiting donned by Janicza Bravo, the patterned tea dress on Natasha Lyonne, and the jeans and legwarmers on Laura Love. “The fantasy of what we want to do and create is the number one driving force,” demurs Kate, but when the Rodarte fantasy intersects so potently with reality as it does here, the designers’ honestness can feel more relevant than ever. In between, they make pit stops in bright fuchsia and teal, resurrecting their famous grunge-y spiderweb knits from autumn-winter 2008. “They are practical in a sense that they mold to your body and impractical in the most amazing way,” says Kate of the signature knits. The original versions – mini tube dresses and long cardigans – are back to the sure joy of many fans, but the sisters aren’t just playing to archive-mania. They’ve also made bustiers and capes in the knit, the latter worn by Lana Condor in a blue look trimmed in feathers. “The cape,” Kate says, “is practical and whimsical.” And sometimes you need fashion to be just that, equal parts a slip dress and a fantasia. It’s that kind magic that makes so many celebrities show up for a Rodarte photoshoot: the girls who get it, get it.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.


Dichotomies Of A Dancer. Erdem AW21

Erdem Moralioglu delivered a mesmerising collection. He is at heart a dramatist, forever living for theatrical moments. Conceived in the realm of ballet, his Erdem autumn-winter 2021 collection freeze-framed a dancer’s wardrobe between the stages of rehearsal and performance. “When I was working at the Royal Opera House, that was the moment I found so exciting: the dancers shifting around, criss-crossing, half-dressed in what they wear during the day and half-dressed in their costumes,” he said on a video call with Vogue, recalling Corybantic Games, the ballet he created costumes for in 2018. Incidentally, the contrast between a ballerina’s everyday dancewear and her ornate costumes served as a rather poetic illustration of our impending transition from domestic dressing to dressing up. The exquisiteness of feather-embroidered 1940s jackets, Swan Lake headpieces and plumed skirts, giant opera gowns daubed in night-time florals, and jewel-encrusted shirts came as no surprise. The gray ribbed knitwear fashioned into dramatic skirts that moved like pleats, into softly cinching cummerbunds, and body-conscious tops that had the elegance of eveningwear but the tactility of the comfort-wear of lockdown. With similar duality, he elevated ballet slippers onto stilted platforms that gave his silhouette an air of fetish. Perhaps that feeling was spurred by the narrative that underpinned his story: the relationship between Rudolf Nureyev and prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn, whose on- and off-stage wardrobe also informed proceedings. “The contrasts, the dichotomies of a dancer… that Hitchcockian self-possession and drive for perfection,” Moralioglu paused. “I find the psychology of it interesting.” Perfecting a look – a sculpted sleeve, a nipped-in waist, a little plumed hat, a pair of neat red slippers – seems shocking in our home-bound reality. It was pleasant to be reminded of that feeling.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

One Grand Gesture: Carolina Herrera x Elizaveta Porodina

I can’t recall the last time I was so moved by an ad campaign visual coming from a brand. And I would never expect such pleasure to come from Carolina Herrera. To celebrate the label’s autumn-winter 2020 collection, inspired by the works of Spanish Baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán and the idea of ‘One Grand Gesture’, creative director Wes Gordon collaborated with Russian artist and photographer Elizaveta Porodina to create a portfolio of images shot entirely over Zoom (!!!), capturing ballet dancers around the world in fearless and fabulous movement and color. Elizaveta captured six dancers around the world from their homes and studios throughout the quarantine: Natasha Diamond-Walker, soloist at Martha Graham Dance Company, Ako Kondo, prima ballerina from Melbourne, Misa Kuranaga, principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, Inès McIntosh, quadrille at Opéra National de Paris, Claudia Monja, the principal dancer of Joburg Ballet, and Wendy Whelan, the associate artistic director of New York City Ballet. “The winter collection was about the idea of One Grand Gesture – a billowing sleeve, the most pigmented color, an unforgettable silhouette. The fine line between drama and restraint. I wanted to further explore this concept with photographer Elizaveta Porodina, whose work I have always admired“, Gordon sums up. Here’s a sublime feast for your eyes and mind after a rather stressful week of uncertainty and frustration…

All photos by Elizaveta Porodina – discover her work here!

Not Your Average Ballerina. Acne Studios SS19


I guess many designers, hearing the word ‘ballet’, would go for all shades of pastel pink, do fancy layers of tulle, or keep it ‘sensual’, yet coldly strict. Jonny Johansson, the mind behind Acne Studios, proved in his spring-summer 2019 collection that when fashion collides with ballet, the result doesn’t have to be one of those well-known clichés: or your average, pretty ballerina girl, or that kind of cigarette smoking, drowning in beige lady who’s in fact a ballet teacher. There was something of the incredibly colourful Ballets Russes and their distinct vibrancy; maybe, it’s Edgar Dégas’s Petite Danseuse gone very modern, wearing flip-flops and sneakers after the rehearsals in some other dimension; or maybe, the ballet mood got conveyed so smoothly thanks to the placement of Merce Cunningham posters on t-shirts and jackets. Well, whatever the secret is, Johansson captured the energy, the strength and the beauty of ballet in a very profound way. Also, I adored the way he divided the collection into four ballerina ‘stages’: rehearsal, onstage, off-duty, and evening. From flowing pleated skirts and bodysuits to tracksuits and tuxedos, it might be a wardrobe of a ballet dancer – but don’t take it too literal, as it all looks so approachable and realistic.


Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Provoking Girl. Miu Miu SS16


I can’t believe myself – it’s the last post about the SS16 fashion month! And even though I am kind of sad that the spring-summer 2016 season came to an end, it feels like a perfect time to chill and look back at all the fashion moments that took place in September and at the beginning of October. The marathon of New York, London, Milan and Paris delivered so many gorgeous, amusing, shocking and effy collections, that it’s the perfect time to take a short break and reflect. However, there is never too much of Miu Miu – Miuccia Prada absolutely astonished me this time. The new collection is a bit confusing, but very appealing. The ugliness of the ballerina shoes with Comme des Garcons-like belt buckles and vichy checks are a loud nod to the beauty of ballet and its bad sides. Miuccia gave as some tulle skirts, too, keeping Miu Miu’s spirit girlie, but with a twist. The ruffled, organza aprons in courgette purple, mint green and cherry red  looked provoking, when worn with the loosely fit pencil skirts. A Miu Miu collection is not a Miu Miu collection without eclectic wallpaper prints and fur stoles, which appeared to be worn extravagantly around the chest. I also loved the fur “tails” which dangled under the leather jackets and layered shirts. Feminine edginess wins the label this season, saying sweetly “I wear what I want, so don’t bother me“. A great collection that ends another nutritious season!