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Just missing the tutu

The latest in fashion is ballerina chic: She's the epitome of grace and dresses comfortably too.

January 12, 2005|Samantha Critchell | Associated Press

NEW YORK — Women of all ages, and different levels of limberness, have an opportunity this season to live out their childhood fantasies of being prima ballerinas.

Or at least they can dress like one.

Flattering wrap sweaters and delicate flat shoes, many with a bow, are among the most tempting items that tap into the trend because they can find a place in most women's wardrobes. Touches of satin, which the dancer has on her pointe shoes, and tulle, which gives an airiness to a ballerina's stage costume, also can be found on Main Streets, in malls and in high-end specialty stores.

"The attraction to the ballerina is what she represents. She is the epitome of gracefulness and ideal femininity in physical form and motion. Women aspire to capture the almost goddess quality that the ballerina embodies," says Massimo Ferragamo, chairman of Ferragamo USA.

Ferragamo has offered a ballerina flat shoe known as the Audrey (named for actress Audrey Hepburn) in different colors and fabrics every year since 1954.

Cristiana Proietti, founder and designer of the cashmere line Cris, had her own ambitions to wear a tutu: "All girls at a certain point dream to be a ballerina -- I know I have. Most girls took ballet classes, and that stays with you. Ballet is soft, pretty, feminine and girlie."

Proietti's current collection features off-the-shoulder sweaters to be worn with visible tank-top straps (representing a dancer's leotard), a layered skirt and cashmere pants with wide waistbands that fold over, like ballerinas wear during their warmup exercises. The palette is mostly pastels mixed with light heather gray, cream and black.

A delicate pink is the perfect complement to soft cashmere, Proietti adds.

Ferragamo has clean-line satin clutches and pump high heels with bow details in that same light pink, and the ballet flat is offered in blue for fall-winter and in tan with tiny orange polka dots for spring.

There also is a touch of practicality to ballerina-inspired apparel because it is based on what is essentially athletic wear: Dancers need to be able to move comfortably, something that can't easily be done in too-tight garments and too-high shoes.

Ann Taylor Loft's interpretation of the ballerina this season includes a full skirt in camel that's tied with a velvet ribbon, lacy capelets, layered and fluid skirts, pearls that tie with a ribbon, ankle-strap shoes and sweaters with bow ties.

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