Quite Continental Loves: The Red Shoes and Ballet-inspired Fashion

11/01/2011 § 1 Comment

A dear, sweet friend of mine recently gifted me with one of my most favorite movies of all time, The Red Shoes.  The film was originally released theatrically in 1948; stars Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook and Marius Goring; and has inspired many a baby ballerina (including myself!) to head to the barre.  I am now the happy owner of the 1999 Criterion Collection version.  There is a newer version, featuring a new digital transfer and even more extras, but I am quite happy with the one I’ve received.

With all the accolades Black Swan has been receiving lately, I had an urge to revisit The Red Shoes over the weekend.  For those that have not yet seen this masterpiece of early Technicolor, you must see it!  It is the story of Victoria Page, an aspiring prima ballerina from an aristocratic family; Boris Lermontov, the brilliant, cold and demanding director of the Ballet Lermontov; and Julian Craster, a young, gifted composer. Victoria and Julian both join the Ballet Lermontov on the same day, and eventually Lermontov comes to realize and acknowledge their remarkable abilities – he promotes Victoria to prima ballerina and asks Julian to write the ballet of the Red Shoes.

Based on a fairy tale by Hans Anderson, the ballet tells the story of a girl who buys a pair of beautiful red shoes to wear to a dance.  She dances at the party and has a wonderful time, but when she tires and attempts to rest, the shoes will not let her rest nor can she take them off.  She dances and dances and dances, through lands near and far, until she ultimately dies.  At that time, the red shoes can finally be taken off.

The Red Shoes, with Victoria dancing the lead, is released to great acclaim in Monte Carlo and Lermontov is overjoyed until he realizes that Julian and Victoria have fallen in love.  Lermontov firmly believes that great dancers cannot rely “upon the doubtful comforts of human love,” and asks Julian to end the affair.  The ballet comes to mirror the plot of the movie, as Victoria is forced to choose between two loves – dancing or Julian – and her choice to dance has tragic results.

The film is gorgeous, from the costumes to the makeup to the dancing and the sets.  It is an amazing fantasy that you must see!


Everywhere I look, I see the ballet in fashion and streetwear – delicacy, gauziness, movement, body con, fluidity, severity, chingnons…even red shoes!

Denisa Dvorakova by Johan Sandberg for Marie Claire Italia January 2011

Hanna Jirickova by Alyona Isaeva for Marie Claire Russia January 2011

Serenay Sarıkaya by Eric Guillemain for Vogue Türkiye January 2011

Kendra Spears by Jason Kibbler for Vogue Nippon January 2011

Melodie Monrose, Anais Mali by Sølve Sundsbø for Interview December/January 2010

Keira Knightley for Vogue Italia January 2011 by Ellen von Unwerth

Natalie Portman by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue US January 2011




Kristine Drinke by Jonas Bresnan for Black No. 13 Fall/Winter 2010

And while I haven’t laced up my ballet slippers in years, Tod’s La Scala flat may prove a worthy subsitute…

In a fusion of Italian art and craftsmanship, Tod’s has designed a ballet slipper inspired by those worn by the performers at La Scala, the famed Milanese opera house. The Ballerina La Scala shoe is made of buttery suede, hand-sewn with wide satin ribbons and completed with the rubber-pebble sole that has been a Tod’s trademark since the release of its iconic Gommino driving loafer, 32 years ago. A simple silhouette, meticulous construction and sumptuous materials transform this shoe from a run-of-the-mill ballet flat into something, well, to dance about.  Handmade by Tod’s artisans, the Ballerina La Scala comes in a variety of colors.  (via Departures)

Hmmm.  Wonder if they come in red…?

Tagged: , , ,

§ One Response to Quite Continental Loves: The Red Shoes and Ballet-inspired Fashion

  • littleowlski says:

    I must admit, I was never a ‘ballet’ girl; but I saw the advert for Black Swan and thought it looked good. I think that could encourage a big ballet fashion moment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Quite Continental Loves: The Red Shoes and Ballet-inspired Fashion at Quite Continental.


%d bloggers like this: