ON POINT: The Lanvin ballerina flat became an “It” shoe in the late 2000s and beyond — and the back story might surprise you.
Inspiration struck when Lanvin’s then creative director Alber Elbaz was preparing his debut show for the French house in 2002.
“I was doing the fittings, there were so many pins on the floor and I wanted to protect the feet of the model, so I bought ballerinas,” the designer told WWD in a 2014 interview, adding that “in the end, it was just about protection and nothing else.”
He clearly liked the look of his cocktail dresses with flat shoes: A collaboration with Repetto followed, which then yielded to an in-house bonanza.
Jennifer Lopez, Emma Stone, Blake Lively, Nicole Richie, Reese Witherspoon and Emma Watson were among celebrities snapped wearing them in off-duty situations.
And now the ballerinas are back big time, with a dedicated digital campaign and distribution globally through Lanvin boutiques, on lanvin.com and select department and specialty stores from today.
The Lanvin design studio tweaked the design, which boasts ultra-flexible construction, elastic and an integrated mini-wedge, according to the house.
Retailing at 590 euros, the ballerinas come in matte and patent leather, and future drops will include variations adorned with jewels or bows on the toes. The house logo appears on a contrasting pull tab on the heel of each shoe.
Photographer Theo de Gueltzl lensed the playful campaign, with ballerinas arranged in floral formations, or jutting from a model’s head like a punk hairstyle.
In its press kit, Lanvin notes that ballet slippers were invented by Charles Didelot in the late 18th century, and first entered the fashion lexicon in the mid-20th century thanks to their “feminine yet pragmatic appeal.”
The ballerina project is among key product volleys — a seasonless eveningwear and special-occasion capsule is another — as Lanvin seeks to bolster sales in the second half of the year.