Behind the scenes

Pointe technique: Michael Halpern designs one-off ballet shoe for Royal Opera House

Halpern joins group of London fashion designers including Simone Rocha and Erdem Moralıoğlu for ROH Unlocked

“Prince’s Little Red Corvette,” reads an email from Michael Halpern, when I ask which song he finds best describes a pair of slippers he recently designed. “It’s about energy, boldness, and the irresistible need to move.”

Halpern’s selection may come as a surprise to some, for the slipper in question – a unique design that can be won via a raffle, with entries open until 31 August – is far from everyday footwear, but a pair of pointe shoes engineered for ballet dancing.

On display at the Royal Opera House Arcade framing Covent Garden’s Piazza, Halpern’s creation, which is dusty pink and features pleated fan-detailing, forms part of ROH Unlocked, a month-long cultural program conceived by the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden estate. 

The American-born designer, who trained at Central Saint Martins, the art school that once resided within walking distance of the Royal Opera House, joined fellow designers Simone Rocha (maker of a peach pink creation studded in milky faux pearls) and Roksanda Ilinčić, who added a painterly, canvas-like finish to hers. Rejina Pyo found the shoe a perfect canvas to many ocean-motif metal charms; Liberty London added flowers. And Erdem Moralıoğlu, who is a known ballet aficionado, lavished a charcoal grey satin pair in iridescent gems.

The Pointe Shoe Display takes place until 10 August; roh.org.uk

In pictures

Roksanda Ilinčić  for ROH Unlocked  ​

Roksanda Ilinčić for ROH Unlocked ​

Rejina Pyo for ROH Unlocked

Rejina Pyo for ROH Unlocked

Erdem Moralıoğlu for ROH Unlocked  ​

Erdem Moralıoğlu for ROH Unlocked ​

Liberty London for ROH Unlocked  ​

Liberty London for ROH Unlocked ​

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