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From left: via Elevé; via Ainsliewear

Classwear has come a long way in terms of pairing style with practicality. But while designs like mesh inserts and bold prints can work all year round, other elements lend themselves to particular seasons. Case in point: velvet. The fuzzy fabric has made its way from the runway to real life, and now, even dance rehearsal. Thicker than your average cotton or lycra leotards, velvet's extra cozy material and luxe look makes it perfect for the cooler months ahead. Shop our top picks, and get ready for a barrage of leotard compliments at the barre.

LeaMarie Tatiana Leotard

via LeaMarie

Combining two trends we love, LeaMarie paired a black velvet bodice with mesh sleeves that include polka dots and a pop of teal color.
leamarie.com, $80

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Francesca Hayward wears her Lululemon Principal Dancer Golden Lining Bralette and Golden Lining Leggings. Photo via Lululemon

Officially joining the ranks of ballerinas-turned-designers is The Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward. Working with Canadian activewear brand Lululemon (whose leggings earned them a cult following), Hayward will be releasing a limited-edition collection on October 9.

"The feel, it's amazing against my skin; the way it fits my body, the position that everything sits at has been especially designed between us," Hayward told ELLE UK. "And I love the colors, too. That was my problem with dancewear before, it wasn't that the fabrics didn't feel good but they just weren't me. They were pink and flowery, and so stereotypical. I just think let's move forward and not be so old fashioned. I don't need to be a pink ballerina," she said.

Hayward in her Lululemon collection Principal Dancer Funnel Neck Sweater. Photo via Lululemon.

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Just for fun
The Washington Ballet's Brittany Stone. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

While we love fall's crisp air, pumpkin spice treats, and, of course, the official start of the ballet season, there are some downsides. Cooler weather means that unfortunately it's no longer practical to throw on shorts over your leotard and pretend it's a shirt. Does the thought of putting together outfits for autumn stress you out? Don't worry—we've got you covered. We've pulled some of our favorite dancers' street styles from past issues of Pointe to give you the fall fashion inspiration that you're looking for.

Miami City Ballet Principal Simone Messmer

Kyle Froman for Pointe

Simone Messmer's ensemble points out the biggest difference between summer and fall: Jackets! And not heavy, practical winter parkas, but fun, light jackets with the power to instantly transform any outfit. Messmer's selection comes with quite a bit of history; it's her best friend's father's army trench. We also love Messmer's slip-on shoes; they're a reminder to wear all of your favorite no-socks-necessary shoes this season before the snow starts to fall.

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The Washington Ballet's Brittany Stone. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

While we love fall's crisp air, pumpkin spice treats, and, of course, the official start of the ballet season, there are some downsides. Cooler weather means that unfortunately it's no longer practical to throw on shorts over your leotard and pretend it's a shirt. Does the thought of putting together outfits for autumn stress you out? Don't worry—we've got you covered. We've pulled some of our favorite dancers' street styles from past issues of Pointe to give you the fall fashion inspiration that you're looking for.

Miami City Ballet Principal Simone Messmer

Kyle Froman for Pointe

Simone Messmer's ensemble points out the biggest difference between summer and fall: Jackets! And not heavy, practical winter parkas, but fun, light jackets with the power to instantly transform any outfit. Messmer's selection comes with quite a bit of history; it's her best friend's father's army trench. We also love Messmer's slip-on shoes; they're a reminder to wear all of your favorite no-socks-necessary shoes this season before the snow starts to fall.

Ballet Stars
NYCB's Miriam Miller and Unity Phelan in Côté Cour. Photo by Erin Baiano.

How do you make a leotard line stand out when there are so many options? Erica Sabatini, a former soloist with Carolina Ballet, makes it look easy with her pairing of architectural designs and bright colors. Before officially launching Côté Cour in 2015, Sabatini's interest in fashion was sparked during her Balanchine-based training at the Miami City Ballet School.

Phelan in MIA Multi Turquoise. Photo by Erin Baiano.

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Ballet Stars
From left: Peter Walker, Harrison Coll. Photos by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

A company's corps de ballet is rarely the pool from which title roles are plucked. Yet New York City Ballet seems to buck convention, especially for its full-length production of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet. When it debuted back in 2007, the ballet featured a cast of untested corps members and apprentices as the eponymous stars. (A School of American Ballet student was originally tapped to dance Juliet, but she wasn't able to perform due to injury.) At the time Martins, who recently retired as NYCB's ballet master in chief, attributed his casting choices to the characters' ages in Shakespeare's play; Juliet and Romeo are 14 and 19, respectively. Also, he remarked, "Never underestimate youth."

This week, two young Romeos are stepping up from the company's corps. Harrison Coll made his debut on February 13, opening night, alongside principal Sterling Hyltin (the original Juliet in the production's opening night performance back in 2007). Peter Walker follows on Friday, February 16.

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Ballet Stars
NYCB Soloist Indiana Woodward in a costume fitting for Justin Peck's premiere. Photo via NYCB on Instagram.

Last night was New York City Ballet's annual Fall Fashion Gala at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Billed as "Uniting the Worlds of Ballet and Fashion," the event paired choreographers with high fashion designers. Chaired by known fashion icon and NYCB board of directors vice-chairman Sarah Jessica Parker, the evening attracted big names in the worlds of dance and fashion. This year's gala featured four premieres choreographed by NYCB affiliates: company dancers Troy Schumacher, Lauren Lovette and Justin Peck and School of American Ballet Alumna and current Dresden Semperoper Ballett apprentice Gianna Reisen. Reisen, 18, is the youngest person to choreograph for NYCB to date.

Gain greater insight into the minds of the designers and choreographers in this NYCB produced video, screened at the Koch Theater last night before the start of the show, and check out some of the night's best moments (and outfits) from the red carpet to the stage.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Kyle Froman

For Zhong-Jing Fang, being an artist extends beyond the studio or stage. "Being a ballerina is such a creative thing, and that gives me permission to be creative in my own life," says the American Ballet Theatre corps member, who's known for her collection of whimsical hats. She discovered her love of hats a few years ago while recovering from an ankle injury, when she came across a shop full of them. "I used to go there and try different hats on and the designer would tell me, 'This hat was inspired by Audrey Hepburn,' or 'This was inspired by Liza Minnelli,' " she says. "It gave me an idea that hats can capture some spirits." She enjoys the process of browsing vintage stores and boutiques and crafting her own outfits.

In rehearsal, Fang's look varies depending on her mood and the repertoire, but she especially loves practice tutus, leotards with lace and mesh detailing, and French brands like Chacott. "I want to look classic and clean because ballet is such a sculpting art—everything is about lines and sculptures," she says. In or out of the studio, fashion is an opportunity to show her individuality. "I think it's very encouraging for ballerinas to think outside of their box," she says. "It's so inspiring because everyone has different style."

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Ballet Stars
One of the many outfits Kansas City Ballet's Kelsey Ivana Hellebuyck sports on her Instagram, @ivanadance.

While we know you practically live in your leos and tights (and a tightly wound bun), summer is the perfect time to literally let your hair down and show off your style outside the studio.

Not sure where to start? Take a page from these pro dancers' ensembles. From classically chic to kooky and daring, these ballerinas know how to express themselves—on and off the stage. The #1 rule? There are no rules.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

There's one accessory Brittany Stone doesn't leave home without: her headphones. “I'm always listening to music, usually something from the '90s," she says. “It just makes your day better, especially in the morning when you don't really want to get up and take class." Her playlist is full of “good walking music"—upbeat songs that get her moving and motivated. The rest of her street style is characterized by cozy standbys: T-shirts and jeans, white sweaters, overalls and her favorite shoes, Dr. Martens. “They're basically my staple," she says. “I have three pairs. I wear them all the time, especially in the winter."

In dancewear, Stone's priority is seeing her lines. “My style in the studio is very simple, very classic. I almost always wear pink tights," she says. For essentials like toe pads and tights, she turns to Discount Dance Supply: “A lot of times the girls in the company will coordinate when we need stuff and make a big order, because the shipping's cheaper." Outside the studio, too, Stone notes, shopping is a great way to bond with new friends—something she's been doing a lot of since transitioning from Boston Ballet to The Washington Ballet last fall. “Everyone in the company is so nice and welcoming. It's been really good," she says.

Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

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News

Ballet-inspired clothing is nothing new, and the dance and fashion worlds have always been in conversation with each other. Think of how many prominent choreographers have enlisted fashion designers to create costumes for their work, or how ballet flats have become a wardrobe staple.

Lara Tong, Mimi Staker, Olivia Boisson, Unity Phelan and Rachel Hutsell (photo via PUMA)

But lately, activewear brands are catching on too, with collaborations that emphasize the athleticism and strength of ballet dancers. There's Misty Copeland's "I Will What I Want" campaign for Under Armour, the recent GapFit campaign featuring dancers like Calvin Royal III, Keenan Kampa and Mayara Pineiro, and, as of next week, a whole line of ballet-inspired sneakers and sportswear from PUMA, as part of their "Do You" campaign.

The Basket Heart sneaker (via PUMA)

The collection is part of PUMA's partnership with New York City Ballet, which began last summer. Called Swan Pack, it's made up of mostly black and white pieces, including a sneaker with pointe shoe-esque ribbons and a black cape with feather embellishments.

While we're excited about the clothes themselves, the best part of all is the campaign's stunning photos, which feature NYCB corps dancers Lara Tong, Olivia Boisson, Mimi Staker, Unity Phelan and Rachel Hutsell wearing some of the new looks. And the "Do You" message, encouraging self-confidence and individuality, can't be beat.

Lara Tong and Olivia Boisson (via PUMA)

The collection launches on February 1, and will be available in stores and online.

 

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

Ballet Stars
Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe.

What is Céline Cassone's favorite thing to buy? Cowboy boots, to add to her growing collection. “I'm just crazy with boots," the Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal dancer says. “Always the same style, some short and some longer." It's also the one part of her outfit where you might find a pop of color, as most of her wardrobe is black and gray. She has boots in pink and purple, as well as more neutral shades of black, brown and white. “I'm looking for a nice red," she says. She tends to do most of her shopping when the company is on tour. BJM travels five or six months a year, and Cassone has been everywhere from New York City to Israel to Italy.

In the studio, she's never without her bright-green, peanut-shaped exercise ball, which she uses to work on her abdominals. “You can do Pilates exercises with that," she says. “It's super-light and it's always with me." She'll even use it as a pillow on the bus. Cassone favors long, loose layers and fun patterns in her dancewear—but she makes sure to keep her look practical, especially if she needs to dance on pointe. “For center, I want to see my legs and I want to see my feet," she says.

Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Kyle Froman

Don't expect to catch Simone Messmer wearing a leotard—at least, not for company class. “Ballet class is for me," she says. “It happens every day, so it turns into a major part of how you set yourself up for the day and how you're feeling. I think it's really important to take control of that." In class, the Miami City Ballet principal prefers comfortable separates with clean lines and long sleeves. When it's time for rehearsal, she'll bring out her leotards and tights. “And I tend to bring the skirt or tutu that's appropriate for the role. I try to start right away, to get a feeling for it," she says.

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Inside PT

It's okay to want to feel like a princess sometimes. Let shades of carnation and rose gold, and dustings of glitter, whisk you away to the pink fantasyland of your dreams.

Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman for Pointe

When it comes to style, James Whiteside likes to push the limits. “Conforming isn't really my thing," says the American Ballet Theatre principal. He chooses pieces that express his personality, while always leaving room to experiment with new ideas. “I haven't really married myself to one aesthetic, and that gives me a lot of options," he says. “One day I'll be preppy, next day I'll be super-urban, then I can be all tattered and '50s. I like to keep an open mind." In the studio, he sports knits and crop tops, and dyes his hair funky colors when the repertoire allows. It works well for ballets like The Sleeping Beauty (in which he wears a wig) or contemporary work. “But if I'm playing Romeo, this wouldn't make sense," he says. Whiteside is influenced by everything from Japanese anime to '90s boy bands to New York City itself, a place he's always wanted to live. “It's so inspiring walking around the city," he says. “Some people are just killing it. Anybody can buy fashion, but having style is a completely different thing."

Kyle From for Pointe

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News

We love it when the rest of the world gets inspired by ballet—especially when they recognize dancers as the powerful athletes and intelligent artists that we know they are. Through collaborations like Misty Copeland's recent commercial for Dannon's Oikos Greek yogurt and New York City Ballet's new partnership with PUMA, ballet dancers are popping up in places that might have seemed unconventional a few years ago.

Photo by Rob Loud, courtesy Avon (via allure.com)

Now, American Ballet Theatre corps member Courtney Lavine is the face of Avon's new fragrance, set to be released this November. The scent, called "Prima," is floral with notes of plum, and according to the brand, it "celebrates female strength and resilience, as inspired by the grace and beauty of a ballet dancer."

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Featured Article

Let shades of turquoise, amethyst, ruby and emerald add sparkle to your back-to-class fashion.

All photos by Nathan Sayers.

 

Ballet Stars
Erik Tomasson for Pointe.

Dores André doesn't like shopping, but she loves clothes. Her favorite source of style inspiration is the 1964 comedy What a Way to Go!, starring Shirley MacLaine and a closet of over-the-top costumes. “It's just crazy—she wears, like, thousands and thousands of outfits," André says. “I wish I owned every single piece in that movie." When it comes to her own personal style, “I'd say it's a little like Natalie Wood meets Pussy Riot," she says. Black is an easy go-to, but when she has time she puts together more eclectic, colorful ensembles, and she likes a bit of punk edge. In the studio, André dresses for the work she's rehearsing. “I don't like wearing pink tights in general, but if I'm doing a classical piece I'll wear them," she says. “Or if it's a little more contemporary, I'll wear shorts instead of a skirt." She looks for pieces that are flattering (long-sleeved leos are one favorite), while still allowing her to dance her best. “You have to look good, but also make it so you can look good dancing," she says.

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Ballet Careers
Murphy wearing one of her designs. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB.

On any given day, Pacific Northwest Ballet's rehearsal studios are filled with ballerinas decked out in a rainbow of colorful, innovative leotards—many designed and hand-sewn by principal dancer Elizabeth Murphy.

Murphy didn't grow up sewing. In fact, she didn't even know how to run a sewing machine until she was 18. She didn't want to sit still long enough.

The Chelmsford, Massachusetts, native started dance lessons as a child in her hometown, and by her early teens decided to pursue a dance career. She moved to Pennsylvania to train at The Rock School for Dance Education. While still a student, she danced supplementary roles at Pennsylvania Ballet. Murphy then landed a position with Ballet West II before entering its main company in 2007.

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Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman

Hoop earrings are a trademark for Melissa Anduiza. "They remind me of my Cuban side," she says. The Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancer draws inspiration from the bright colors and warm climate of her Miami hometown, and her Cuban and Filipino heritage. "I have a white pantsuit that I rock every once in a while—I feel like I'm part of 'Miami Vice' or something," she says. "And I like that islandy feel in the summertime. Whenever I go home, I'm always in a romper or a sundress." Anduiza prefers a casual yet polished look and gets ideas from fashion icons like blogger Marianna Hewitt, whom she follows on social media. "I like to dress kind of edgy, but classy at the same time," she says. In the studio, the company's contemporary rep calls for pieces that show off her lines. "At Complexions, we always wear things that are fitted to the body. Just our warm-ups are loose," Anduiza says. She'll often balance basic shorts with an unusual top to add flair for class or rehearsal. "I dress to make myself look great," she says. "It's comfortable, but always a clean look."

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Inside PT

Shopping for your summer intensive shouldn't feel like a chore. We've gathered dance bag essentials, and classwear that's both stylish and functional, to help you get a head start on your preparations.

Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman for Pointe

Julie Marie Niekrasz doesn't shop often, but when she does, you won't find her at the mall. “I love vintage clothing," the Ballet Memphis dancer says. “I think I owe a lot of that to my older sister, who has a really fun sense of style." And her fondness for the past extends beyond clothing—she even owns a vintage KitchenAid mixer. Niekrasz favors local boutiques, where she looks for clean lines and elegant silhouettes from the 1950s and '60s, in a color palette of grays, blues and blacks. She brings the same aesthetic into the studio, though she's also conscious of her partners and the repertoire. When rehearsing a piece where she'll be bare-legged, “I'll try to wear shorts so that the guys have an easier transition period, so they can get the grip of my leg right," Niekrasz says. “If it's a pink-tights ballet like Nutcracker or Romeo & Juliet, then I'll be rehearsing in full ballet-pink wear." When she thinks of a style icon, the first person who comes to mind is Grace Kelly. “She's the epitome of classic," Niekrasz says. “I just love that old charm in clothes. In a way, I wish we all still dressed like that."

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Linda Johnson for Pointe

As a young student at San Francisco Ballet School, Kelsey Ivana Hellebuyck would record her outfit each day in a notebook. “I've always been kind of a nut about fashion," she says. “Getting dressed in the morning is fun. It gets me going, like coffee." And as followers of her popular Instagram account will tell you, she's still keeping track of what she wears, sharing daily collages of her outfits that reveal her fun and eclectic taste. “I started cataloguing it because I wanted to remember what I wore and what was so magical about that equation," she says, “but now other people are enjoying it, so that makes me happy." Some of the Pennsylvania Ballet corps dancer's best finds have come from flea markets or the hidden racks at the back of a store. “I know when something is good, and when I see it, I'll buy it," she says. Hellebuyck brings her personal style into the studio, too. “I love cutoff tights, bright colors, fun prints, lace—things that are different, not the norm," she says. Her keen eye for detail is inspired by everything from the style bloggers she follows on Instagram to the copies of Architectural Digest or W that she flips through on airplanes. “I'm passionate about fashion," she says. “It's second only to ballet."

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News

"And I stood and was silent. And he was silent. And I stood, silent. And he was silent." Maria sporting the words of Daniil Kharms. Photo courtesy of Koche-Kova.

Jumping on a couch and tossing what appear to be birthday bows, Maria Kochetkova appears in one of two promotional photos for her new clothing line, Koche-Kova, which launches this month.

I was a student at San Francisco Ballet School when I first laid eyes on Kochetkova (a few years before our April/May 2010 cover story). It was her first year with SFB and, one September afternoon before the company’s season was in full swing, she took the Level 5 technique class. Petite and quiet, she appeared almost mousy with her neutral-toned warm-ups and humble demeanor.

Now a principal on two coasts (with SFB and American Ballet Theatre), Kochetkova’s dancing remains as incandescent as ever. But her fashion sense? It’s a far cry from those modest warm-ups I saw nearly 10 years ago. Her affinity for daring colors, pattern combinations and statement pieces has earned her acclaim outside of ballet circles, and her zaniness seems to increase each year.

Kochetkova's fashion line announcement came sneakily, in the form of an Instagram post and links to the website on her social media pages. As of yet, details are scarce: For all we know the line might include eccentric studio pieces or dragon print street wear. Though we have few clues, we can see a nod to her Russian roots. In the website’s minimal photos, she sports shirts with quotes by Russian poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin and absurdist writer Daniil Kharms.

 

Absurd? Yes. Delightful? Undoubtedly. Sign up for email updates on the website, and follow Koche-Kova on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Sheer ennui." Kochetkova sporting the words of Alexander Pushkin. Photo courtesy of Koche-Kova.

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

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