Stylish Movies: The Red Shoes (1948)

Some people believe that The Red Shoes is one of the most beautiful films of all time, a riot of colour that was shot so perfectly, with faultless performances by Anton Walbrook and Moira Shearer. Certainly, it always rates highly in the top ten best British movie polls, and was innovative in its day due to the actual ballet that features at the heart of the film, that of the red shoes. But, until the week, I had never actually seen the film, even though I loved the Matthew Bourne version of the film which I had watched a couple of years ago, and also adored the Kate Bush Album that was, in part inspired by it. I watched it for the first time yesterday, and truly fell in love with it, it is a masterpiece.

It is also so, so stylish. Moira Shearer, a real ballerina, plays Vicky Price, an inspiring ballerina who manages to attract the attention of impresario Boris Lemontov (Anton Walbrook). At the same time Lemontov takes on a young composer, a music student called Julian (Marius Goring). He tasks Julian with creating The Ballet of the Red Shoes for Vicky, but in the process they fall in love. Vicky becomes a big star, but Boris, who also has feelings for his protege, is jealous of her love for Julian, and forbids them both from having anything more to do with the red shoes. Vicky, turn between her love for two men, and her love of dance, is turn between the two, and the red shoes which commit the wearer to dance and dance until death, do their worst, leading to a heartbreaking denouement.

For lovers of style, there is a lot to love. Ballerina fashion has long since been a part of our mainstream fashion, with tulle skirts and dresses, wrap style cardigans, and ballet slippers and pumps all iconic classics (think Carrie Bradshaw and Amy Winehouse for modern aficionado’s of the ballet look.) Vicky also has one completely standout look when she attends a work meeting wearing an exquisite evening dress of turquoise, so effective against her glorious red hair.

But it is the dance practice outfits that really stand out, the outfit below could’ve been worn yesterday, rather than in a film made over 70 years ago, it is that modern.

If you have yet to see The Red Shoes, you are in for a real treat, it is a fascinating, beautiful movie that will have you spellbound.

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