” I’M MAD punk princess who loves sneakers, ”said Andrea Cacho. On any day, you might find the New York University music student wearing spiked metal jewelry, black high top shoes, a black waistcoat, and one of three sparkling tulle skirts she has black, white and yellow. She’s delighted to mix up her leather jacket and colored Skittle stockings once the weather gets colder. Inspired by old school Madonna (“She’s hardcore”) and modern artists like Bikini Kill and Willow Smith, 19-year-old Ms. Cacho adopted her new look this summer. This reflects the “hardness and anger” she feels after a difficult year of pandemic. Of course, but a tutu? “Who says I can’t be feminine and tough and strong?” She asked, rhetorically.
Over the past few months, the ‘ballerina punk’ look – a leather-laden and ruffled mashup that’s both Hell’s Angels and ‘Swan Lake’ – has been thrown from the catwalk to the red carpet (see Cyndi Lauper’s VMA look , and also everything she wore in the 1980s) to women’s closets. For fall 2021, Christian Dior has paired diaphanous skirts with chunky combat boots; Alexander McQueen sells various tulle and leather pieces, such as a ruffled, zippered biker jacket; and at Noir Kei Ninomiya’s Tokyo show, the models dressed in bulbous mesh skirts and black bombers pierced with metallic quills looked like puzzling but attractive gothic porcupines.
““Who says I can’t be feminine and tough and strong?” ““
“It’s about escape … and self-expression,” said Emily Gordon-Smith, who is a fashion analyst at global trend intelligence firm Stylus. In the age of the pandemic, “we have seen enormous interest in historic, romantic and overtly feminine clothing,” she said. That, combined with Gen Z’s ‘current obsession with creativity’ from the ’80s and’ 90s subcultures, contributed to the rise of the punk ballerina.
In her fall presentation, London designer Simone Rocha wrapped her models in precious black or blush skirts, then armed them with platform boots and voluptuous leather jackets. Ms. Rocha was “in full containment” when designing the collection and, for her, these outfits, which she called “protective cases [with] fragility below ”, represented the pandemic atmosphere. “It’s something strong but still feminine that comes out of a very unhappy time.” Ms Rocha considers most of these clothes to be daytime wear and has observed that her clients buy more complete runway looks, rather than one or two pieces, than in previous seasons.
While it may seem suited to fashion eccentrics, college-aged rebels, or villains in the Tim Burton films, this brooding look has mass appeal. The Etsy online marketplace reported that over the past three months there has been a 29% increase in searches for tulle skirts and dresses and a 25% increase in searches for leather jackets over the last three months. same period last year. Jean-Marc Gaucher, CEO of French ballet shoes and clothing brand Repetto, said sales of tulle skirts and tutu have increased by more than 100% since he first noticed the trend. this spring. He added that the brand has sold out certain styles and sizes of tutu around the world. At a dinner party in lower Manhattan last week, I counted three women wearing boots, bombers and mesh skirts, myself among them. Leather and tulle have cluttered my closet for over a decade, and when layered on top of a bodysuit, I find the jumpsuit to be a simple yet dramatic option in everyday life. Most telling is that my mother-in-law decided to pair a vaporous Brunello Cucinelli skirt with black boots adorned with crystals. At a recent dinner party in upstate New York, she was inundated with compliments.
This is not the first time that tutus have been appropriate or diverted since their debut at the Paris Opera in 1832. Madonna wore a white one as an ironic nod to chaste femininity in her “Like a Virgin” video “from 1984. Haute couture designers like Christian Lacroix and John Galliano put lavish exaggerations on models in the ’80s and’ 90s. Björk sadly hit the red carpet at the 2001 Oscars. And Carrie Bradshaw wobbles in an ivory version and a pink top in the opening credits of “Sex and the City”. In contrast, today’s tutu takes are less girly cartoonish. They’re heady, intentional, and, yes, wearable.
Keisha Ransome, the Baltimore-based designer of tulle brand Lotus Bloom Co., bases her ethereal skirts on hoodies, Doc Martens and Yeezys. Her advice to beginner ballerinas: [the outfit] simple because your skirt will make 80% of the conversation. Los Angeles stylist and costume designer B. Akerlund favors a sculptural approach. She advocates defining the waist with “tons of belts” or a corset, and increasing the setting with “fun socks” and gloves. “I think anyone – any shape, any person – can do this look their own way.” Having her both “feminine and mean,” she said, increases her appeal.
Ms Cacho said her friends, family and teachers admired her punk ballerina clothes, which she buys at thrift stores and on the Depop resale site. She is comfortable wearing them in any situation. “Unless my parents [make me] go to church, ”she admitted. “I guess I would wear a little dress or something.” There is no shame in that. Even the original “punk princess” traded in her tutu for a light dress for “Like a Prayer”.
YOU HAVE BEEN PUNKED
Six feminine pieces with a wild side
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