Home Essentials The ballerina revolution: the Balenciaga Leopold

The ballerina revolution: the Balenciaga Leopold

Photo credit: Marc Jacobs instagram
Photo credit: Marc Jacobs instagram

2024 marks the return of ballet flats, footwear that has generated mixed feelings in the past. What makes this trend peculiar is that ballerinas are no longer limited to just the female wardrobe, but have also conquered the male one. A particular uproar was raised by the ballerinas designed by Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, presented during the spring-summer 2023 show, where the models walked on a bed of mud, creating a significant impact.

But what is the process that makes a previously forgotten accessory fashionable again? Sometimes, it’s thanks to the most influential designers, who are able to launch a trend through their presence on the catwalk.

Miuccia Prada during the Miu Miu Fall-Winter 22-23 fashion show  presented a series of ballerinas similar to those used in ballet, characterized by practically non-existent soles, round or reinforced toes, satin surface, ankle ties and bow on the toe, thus anticipating the return of these shoes.

In recent seasons, the balletcore trend  has caught on, involving garments inspired by the world of ballet, such as mini cardigans crossed on the chest, tulle skirts and muscle warmers. Ballet flats, of course, have become the must-have piece of this trend, enthusiastically worn by stars and influencers such as Hailey Bieber.

In 2024, the ballet flats trend remains a must-have of the season, with the presence of these footwear on the catwalks of various fashion brands. Harry Styles She anticipated the trend of men’s ballet flats by wearing them on the cover of “Harry’s House”. This style has been adopted by several brands that have presented men’s collections with models sporting ballerinas during Milan Fashion Week 2024 in January, as in the case of MSGM who paraded his models with sweatshirts, brief-sized shorts and ballet flats.

Balenciaga Leopold: the men’s ballerinas

Balenciaga, the famous Parisian fashion house, continues to break the mold of fashion with its bold proposals.

balenciaga leopold | shoestechnologies
Balenciaga’s Leopold
Photo credit: Farfetch

Balenciaga’s Leopold ballet flats, characterized by satin, rounded toe and a romantic bow, have become a real cult as soon as they are launched on the market. These shoes, expertly produced in an atelier in Tuscany, are available in three color variants: black, turquoise and beige.

Made of polyester and offered in sizes 39 to 46, the Leopold ballet flats embody timeless elegance, despite the fact that their price has sparked a lively debate among the public.

Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna, is known for his provocative choices. As early as December 2021, he had introduced the men’s crop top as an essential element of the men’s wardrobe. In addition to the ballet flats, he was the protagonist of another media coup with the Lay’s x Balenciaga Potato Chip Bag Clutch, a bag inspired by a bag of chips.

This eccentric work has divided public opinion between those who see it as a parody of wealth and those who interpret it as a mockery of poverty.

Demna seems to aspire to excel in Google searches with his bold creations, provoking intense reactions.

The Paris Sneakers, “destroyed” sneakers offered at €1,450, are another example of Balenciaga’s provocative creativity. Worn out, torn, burned and stained, these shoes were the subject of an advertising campaign that portrayed them even more destroyed. The reception was mixed, with some appreciating the artistic symbolism and others considering it an insult to fashion and intelligence.

The Leopolds, however, gained visibility thanks to the support of influential designer Marc Jacobs. Through a series of Instagram posts taken in Paris, Jacobs helped make these dancers go viral. Her image with the Leopolds on her feet, in front of the Eiffel Tower, has sparked an online debate between those who applaud them as an overcoming of gender stereotypes and those who see them as an accessory intended only for the catwalks.

Influencers and stars then contributed to unravel this myth, proposing different looks with men’s ballet flats. Danny Bowien, a renowned chef, shared many photos on his Instagram profile in which he wears Leopolds in style, pairing them with ripped jeans or shorts, including a memorable outfit with the turquoise bow variants at the GQ Global Creativity Awards in April 2023.

Balenciaga and artistic director Demna Gvasalia

We have mentioned Demna Gvasalia many times, but who is the creative mind behind the Balenciaga brand?

Demna is one of the most influential designers of recent years, known for his collections that challenge the conventional idea of beauty, resulting transgressive, contemporary and practical. His fashion shows during fashion week are among the most eagerly awaited moments, as he always manages to amaze with innovative and never banal presentations.

balenciaga leopold | shoestechnologies
Demna Gvasalia, artistic director of Balenciaga
Photo Credit: Demna Gvasalia Instagram

Born in 1981 in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Demna grew up with a passion for fashion, despite his parents initially standing in the way of it. In the beginning, in fact, he followed his parents’ wishes by enrolling in the faculty of International Economics  at Tbilisi State University, where he moved with his family at the age of 10 when they fled the civil war.

In 2001, together with his family, he moved to Germany and began, again at the behest of his parents, to work in the financial sector. However, his desire to work in the fashion world prevailed, leading him to abandon everything to pursue his dream: to work in the fashion world.

He moved to Belgium, graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and faced difficult years, especially financially, before becoming an influential stylist. In 2009 she started working for Maison Margiela in Paris, where she became director of the women’s line. Subsequently, he was called by Louis Vuitton and then by Balenciaga in 2015, becoming their creative director.

In 2014, Demna founded his own brand “Vetements” together with his brother, revolutionizing normcore style and popularizing unusual elements such as construction shirt shirts and gas station sneakers. In 2019, he left the brand to his brother to focus on Balenciaga.

And Balenciaga? Who is the master who gave life to this brand?

balenciaga leopold | shoestechnologies
Cristobal Balenciaga
Photo credit: Balenciaga website

Cristobal Balenciaga, a young Spanish fashion designer, launched the brand in 1917. From a young age, he showed an interest in fashion and began working as an apprentice tailor at just 12 years old.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the brand became one of the most well-known in the world, with creations also worn by celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy. After Cristobal’s death, the brand declined and in 1992 the maison closed.

However, in 1997, Gucci acquired the brand and  with creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, the Balenciaga brand experienced a new level of success, becoming one of the most influential and innovative brands in the world. Under the creative direction of Demna Gvasalia since 2015, Balenciaga has continued to challenge fashion conventions, creating iconic clothes and accessories that blend classic style with a modern aesthetic.

Balenciaga: a beacon of boundless creativity

The Balenciaga brand, with its history steeped in innovation and reinvention, continues to inspire a generation of fashion enthusiasts.

The fusion of classic and modern aesthetics, attention to detail and a willingness to challenge the conventional contribute to making Balenciaga a timeless icon in the contemporary fashion landscape.

In a world where individual expression and diversity are increasingly celebrated, Balenciaga continues to redefine the canons of fashion, inspiring  the courage to explore new horizons and embrace the beauty of the unexpected.

Her ability to subvert fashion norms is also evident in the triumphant return of ballet flats, a phenomenon that has crossed gender boundaries and defied traditional expectations.

Balenciaga Leopold | 
Photo credit: 
Balenciaga Leopold | Photo credit: themarcjacobs

2024 is confirmed as the year in which ballerinas establish themselves as an essential style element, for both women and men, once again highlighting Demna Gvasalia’s ability to shape trends and push the limits of creativity.

Now the question is: will ballet flats be valued and therefore worn for comfort and versatility, or will they be chosen for their outfits exclusively by those who follow fashion trends?

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