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

“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  ​
Rejina Pyo for ROH Unlocked
Erdem Moralıoğlu for ROH Unlocked  ​
Liberty London for ROH Unlocked  ​

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