Welcome, I am happy you found my blog. I am a passionate dancer and life time ballet fan who also is the proud mom of 2 girls who happen to take after the same passion. Guess what, this blog will initially talk about ... tutus, yes that's right.

Oh ... before you read on and go exploring, please take my short poll on this page on your prefered kind of tutu. Hope to see you back soon.

Picture above obtained from
http://thedesigninspiration.com/photos/balletbird .

Copyright please see author in the original source.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Designer tutus on the catwalk for auction at English National Ballet's Fundraising Summer Party

Last month the English National Ballet has auctioned 9 tutus made especially for their dancers by several fashion designers. The stars of the English National Ballet from the company of Strictly Gershwin, mingled with celebrities and guests at one of London’s most glorious outdoor settings, The Orangery, Kensington Palace, for an evening of breathtaking ballet and fabulous fashion.

English National Ballet dancers pose in tutus by top fashion designers
English National Ballet dancers pose in tutus by top fashion designers at the Orangery in Kensington Palace, London. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Each designer had chosen a dancer from the Company to inspire their creation. On the night of the party the dancers modelled the tutus in a catwalk show, before they went on display for guests to bid. The tutus were not really designed to be danced in as you will notice most of them are actually strapless, hence the catwalk show where they were auctioned throughout the evening in a silent auction to raise funds for the company.

 Kerry Birkett in Erdem Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

It certainly is a creative and unique way to do so! And unfortunately necessary after the Arts Council grant had been slashed by 15 per cent until 2015 - about £2 million. Without fundraising ENB would have to curb performances and touring. What a shame. At least this auctions braught them a little over £50,000 to start with.

The dancers involved in the show were Laurretta Summerscales, Kerry Birkett, Shiori Kase, Natalia Kremen, Jia Zhang, Stina Quagabeur, Alison McWhinney, Fernanda Oliveira and Ksenia Ovsyanick. They were favoured to wear tutus designed by Erdem, Agent Provocateur, Giles Deacon, Julien Macdonald, Roksanda IlIncic, House of Worth, Kinder Aggugini, Moschino, Jacques Azagury

There were supposed to be ten tutus originally, but it was announced that for personal reasons Bruce Oldfield was no longer able to take part. Begoña Cao and her Bruce Oldfield's tutu were therefore not part of the show.
It would seem the tutu designers have been heavily influenced by the Black Swan hype. Pitty they did not go for a bit more colour. Although Swan Lake obviously has inspired many a dancer over the centuries as I even myself related to in my previous post ("How to make a tutu" for Swan Lake).

 Ksenia Ovsyanick in Roksanda Illincic Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato 

Fernanda Oliveira in Moschino Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

Alison McWhinney in Kinder Aggugini Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato
Natalia Kremen in House of Worth Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

The eternal child and romantic soul in me is happy to see that at least one has been inspired by the romantic tutu style!
Laurretta Summerscales in Agent Provocateur Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

So, which ones do you prefer?

The dancers not only modelled tutus, but also some tiaras and shoes exclusively designed for them by top fashion houses. Wright & Teague and Natasha Zinko designed the tiaras. Christian Louboutin and Beatrix Ong designed the shoes for the auction.

Christian Louboutin has designed a pair of eight-inch stilettos of towering and Swarovski-encrusted silk based on the ballet shoe. There is a picture below, now I would really want to challenge anyone, ballet dancer or not, to walk around in these! When quizzed about his design, Louboutin said:
“Isn’t the classical dancing ballet slipper the ultimate heel? The heel which makes dancers closer than any other women to the sky, closer to heaven.”
Closer to heaven ? More like closer to a nice sprain if you ask me.

Christian Louboutin's stilletos

In step: English National Ballet principal dancer Fernanda Oliveira tries on the Louboutins

Designers Wright & Teague for Dancer Kerry Birkett
Designers Wright & Teague for Dancer Kerry Birkett , Photograph: John Davis, Styled by Fabio Immediato

Beatrix Ong for Kerry Birkett Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

Although the auction is obviously closed, you can download the catalogue here if you would like to have a little more information on each item.

There is a short movie promoting the event and the tutus. The tutus are not shown very often. I was hoping to find a video the show on the catwalk itself but I have not found one yet.  Altough I can imagine some would actually prefer this more ahem, ... let's say sensual, version!

 Stina Quagabeur in Julien Macdonald Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

Jia Zhang in Jacques Azagury Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

Shiori Kase in Giles Deacon Photograph : John Davis, styled by Fabio Immediato

Personally I like the tutus from Moschino and Agent provocateur best, along with a special mention for Kinder Aggugini and House of Worth for their colours.


  1. Thank you so much for letting me know about your blog! What a lovely idea! :)

    Great dance blog links too...I'd love it if you would consider adding 4dancers.org!

    All the best--I'll be back to visit!

  2. Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for your comment back. Yes of course! (slap on the head)

    I was convinced 4dancers was already listed, it is such a wonderfull blog. I absolutely love what you do!

    I was actually already following quit a while , but apparently forgot to update my blog list - still new to this. All done now!

    Read you soon.


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