Audrey Hepburn & Brigitte Bardot Helped To Popularize Ballet Flats

See the evolution of this shoe, ahead.

by Sophia Moore
Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty Images

Ballet flats are a wardrobe essential and have been for decades. Here, TZR compiled a non-exhaustive list of the impact that these shoes had in fashion. Ahead, read up on the history of ballet flats and its evolution throughout time.

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1700s to 1800s

Flat shoes, akin to ballet flats, existed during medieval times in the form of court shoes. (The flat, pointed style was worn by aristocrats.) The ballet flat as many know of them today, however, were inspired by ballet slippers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Heritage Images/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


In the 1940s, designer Claire McCardell consulted shoemaker Salvatore Capezio, who had successfully improved the ballet slipper for dance, about making an off-stage version of the shoe. Thus, modern ballet flats were born.Jerry Cooke/The Chronicle Collection/Getty Images


The shoe gained mass popularity in 1956 when Rose Repetto, the mother of dancer Roland Petit — whom she stitched ballet shoes for — was commissioned to create a pair of ballet flats for actor Brigitte Bardot.Gaston Paris/Roger Viollet/Getty Images


The following year, Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn wore ballet flats for her role in Funny Face, solidifying the footwear as a necessary wardrobe staple.Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty Images


Throughout the 1960s, ballet flats rode the popularity of Bardot and Hepburn’s fashionable influence. Modifications like straps, embroidered designs, and bows, were added to some styles of the shoe.Paramount Pictures/Moviepix/Getty Images


After a dip in popularity in the ‘70s, ballet flats came back in the 1980s as practical footwear. Princess Diana, who would be seen in flats, added to the resurgence of this style.Anwar Hussein/Getty Images Entertainment


The ‘90s saw stable popularity in ballet flats, especially when it came to minimalist designs. Supermodel Kate Moss often sported the shoes to public events, adding to their relevance in pop culture.Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images


Kate Moss’ influence only continued to increase in the early 2000s, when ballet shoes had another celebrity-beloved moment. It ladies such as Alexa Chung and Sienna Miller further added popularity to the footwear through the end of the decade.Fred Duval/FilmMagic/Getty Images


Everyone will recall seeing Miu Miu’s viral take on the ballet flat via its chunky straps, grommets, and gingham ribbon designs. They changed the fashion game, and the label has continued to release new iterations of the shoe since.Christian Vierig/Getty Images

2022 & Beyond

Ballet flats will return to the forefront of fashion in 2022 as everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Katie Holmes has been spotted in the style. The footwear is a versatile staple in one’s modern wardrobe, and the center of Balletcore online.Pierre Suu/GC Images/Getty Images

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