By  on February 9, 2009

Ever since Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova snapped up Capezio slippers for herself and her entire company during their first U.S. tour in 1910, the leap from stage to runway to street has been swift for dance shoes: Consider the quintessential ballet flat, that essence of casual chic that enjoyed a fashion renaissance in the late Fifties (merci, Audrey Hepburn, and your skinny pants in Funny Face!). In more recent years, everyone from Lanvin to Nine West has sent forth variations on the slip-ons, from the former’s elastic-structured style to the suedeand feather-covered designs at London Sole.

It was inevitable, then, that another hot-stepper’s footwear of choice—the jazz shoe—would assume its place as a fashion muse, first in the Eighties (remember Fame?) and then in 2006, when Dior Homme put the delicate lace-ups on its models. Fast-forward to spring 2008, and the jazz shoe is most certainly getting its due. More sturdy than the ballet flat—some variations include a stacked heel, while the sneakerlike lace-up design offers ankle support—the jazz shoe possesses an androgynous quality, its rounded toe and cross-stitching lending the effect of a men’s dress shoe.

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