THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE TUTU: FROM BALLETWEAR TO STREETSYLE.
Tutu is originally a term used by the French to refer to the costume worn by ballerinas and is usually made of tulle. The 'real tutu' as we know it today, first appeared in 1832 on the stage at the Paris Opera, where Maria Taglioni wore a gauzy white skirt cut to reveal her ankles, designed by Eugene Lami in La Sylphide. Maria was known as the big ballerina of the romantic era and one of the first to go on pointes (go to on her tiptoes). Ursula Hageli from the Royal Opera House explains How Ballet Evolved. Watch the video, its very impressive.
By 1870, dancers had started wearing tutus above the knee to show their footwork, kept getting shorter to show more leg work. These became known as classical tutus which were made famous in ballets like Swan Lake.
There are 3 types of tutus:
3/4 length bell shaped skirt made of tulle, free flowing to emphasise lightness and ethereal quality of the romantic ballets such Les Sylphides.
Classical Bell Tutu:
A short, stiff skirt made with layers of netting with a slight bell shape and fitted bodice. These are used in the famous ballet paintings of French Artist Degas.
Classical Pancake tutu:
A short, stiff skirt made with layers of netting that extends outwards (from the hips), and has a fitted bodice. This style was designed originally for the ballet version of Georges Bizet's Symphony.
'Tutu' Phenomenon £
Marilyn Monroe was photographed by Milton H. Greene’s in a white tutu by accident. The bodice of her dress was too tight so the dress designed by Anna Klein never happened but Instead of scrapping it entirely, Monroe held herself in the tutu, creating the famous ‘ballerina’ portraits that conjure up a sense of bittersweet fragility, sensual innocence and a whiff of Hollywood heartbreak.
The young and unconventional Madonna appeared in 1984 in a punk rock style bridal gown with a lace bustier and a white tutu skirt to sing Like a Virgin at the MTV Music Awards.
The Madonna Inspo was launched, girls around the world loved the idea so much, we started seeing tutus outside the theatre, pairing them with ripped leggings and studded leather jackets.
In 1998, we saw it on the streets of New York worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the famous TV series Sex and the City.
When I saw the tutu in Nevena's atelier, I was taken back to when I was a kid. I did ballet for over a decade in the academy in Monaco and since the Monroe-ballerina portraits, the tutu has evolved from a performance attire to celebrity costume and populated our everyday apparel.
The tutu made its appearance in Hollywood, worn by pop and rock star community, the tutu seen on Rihanna and Taylor Swift on their concerts tours, and has featured on the catwalk for Dolce&Gabbana, Valentino and Balmain.
In 2010, it appeared in cinemas with Black Swan, a film where the costumes were essential to the performances.