I used to think me and my ballet flats were partners for life. They captured my heart with their star(let) qualities, from the classic chic of Audrey, to the modern cool of Kate and Alexa. Not to mention they got on with everything in my wardrobe. But when the noughties saw them over saturated on the high street, reduced to bargain basement school run essentials and written off by the fashion press, I had no choice. It wasn’t me, it was them.
I moved on. Other flats – brogues, gladiators, sneakers – filled the gap, but I still had a secret yearning while watching reruns of Roman Holiday. Then, just when I thought I was over it, my daughter started ballet class. The seed was re-sown.
So I have been quietly giddy to witness the ballet flat slowly regaining status. Recent seasons have seen it edging back into favour, starting with the Celine catwalk last summer. For S/S16 Miu Miushowcased Instagram-worthy punked up versions. They have been spotted on the red carpet. (The Cannes Film Festival continues to ban flats from the red carpet, so the ballet flat becomes a mini act of rebellion. Who’d have thought?)
Not to mention the perfectly timed Amy Winehouse retrospective which has reminded us the look can be edgy, too. Her treatment of the authentic ballet flat was fabulously rock and roll. (While we’re on the subject, the ONLY place to watch Amy is at the equally rock and roll Projector cinema in Singapore. A perfect combination.)
As with any relationship second time around, some things have changed. A slimmer toe, sometimes more complicated (see Miu Miu). Celine does it well, as do French Sole. I have a yearning for classic Chanel. And don’t dismiss the authentic ballet shoe ala Amy: As well as being kind on our pockets, the sunnier climate of this side of the world make it easier to wear a flat that – let’s face it – wasn’t designed for anything other than pliés . And we can always get a cab.
More importantly this is a look that comes into its own in a city where the preferred starlet pairing (with bare tanned legs) is so achievable. The black opaque has no place in this relationship.
So it’s official. Me and the ballet flat are ‘on’ again. I can’t tell for how long. But I’ll be enjoying it while it lasts.