It’s official – ballet pumps are back in style. A silhouette not out of place on the Kings Road, the classic ballet pump has been worn by some of the most stylish women in the past 50 years.
The silhouette of the ballet pump has existed for centuries, primarily worn by men. The ballet shoe as we know it was first worn by the 18th century dancer Marie Carmargo. This style is usually made from satin, and finished with either a round toe or a squared pointe.
The transition of the shoe from function to fashion was in the late 1950s. The French actress Brigitte Bardot, a former ballerina herself, famously asked Rose Repetto to create a delicate dance slipper to be worn in everyday life. Styling the red pump with trousers and a Breton tee, the ballet pump was born. The following year, Audrey Hepburn styled her ballet pumps with cigarette pants in the film ‘Funny Face’.
Since then, the humble ballet flat has been a staple in the wardrobe of iconic women everywhere, from Jane Birkin, Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Camille Charriere. They can be styled as easily with a pair of jeans as with an evening gown, and will keep your feet comfortable from dawn 'til dusk.
We asked stylist, writer and ballet pump lover Amanda Woodward-Brown for her thoughts on this iconic shoe:
“The perfect mix of ease and elegance, ballet pumps epitomise effortless dressing. They lend an air of breezy femininity to everything from denim to floor-sweeping gowns (Incidentally I switched into a pair at my wedding reception.) Yet they are duplicitous in their simplicity - they’re actually incredibly difficult to get right. From the vamp to the sole, it is the design details that elevate this classic style. Find the perfect pair and you’ll have a shoe to wear with almost everything you own.”
Pinkette by Rupert Sanderson
For Autumn/Winter ’20, the bestselling Vedette pump has been reimagined with a square toe: meet Pinkette. Crafted in supple calf leather in either mist or black, Pinkette is topped with a tortoise-shell resin ring – a dainty addition to a timeless shoe.
Alexandra Fullerton wears Ace by Rupert Sanderson
Meanwhile, this season also introduces Ace. A lady-like, bevelled edge ballet pump, Ace is trimmed with grosgrain and topped with a preppy bow. This flat is available in timeless black suede. Take inspiration from stylist Alexandra Fullerton, and style yours with a full-skirted netting dress.