7 Fashion Passages From The Ballet Lover

7 Fashion Passages From The Ballet Lover

The following passages depicting transatlantic fashion from London and Paris to New York in the 1970s are taken from the novel The Ballet Lover by Barbara L. Baer. The book is available at Open Books Direct.

“Natalia Makarova entered from the wings in pink toe shoes that squeaked newness. She wore a tulle skirt too wide for her delicate body, and a disaster of a golden wig, a foot of faux Renaissance curls that made her strain to keep up her small head.”

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“Vivian pulled a black silk suit with lapels and big shoulders from the bag. ‘Put yourself in it, luv. You’ll fall in love.’ Geneva stepped into the skirt and buttoned the jacket that hugged her torso in an astonishing way. The material gave her waist definition. Vivien handed her high taffeta pumps and stockings with rhinestones with a black seam up the back. A veiled cloche was passed behind the dressing curtain.”


“Geneva’s first glimpse of the ballerina in repose made her think she was seeing a work of art, not a woman. The dancer, seated beside a reading lamp, wore her pale blond chignon pulled tightly back to the fastening of a high-necked dress. The sleeve of her dress, the fall of silky, clingy material in a burnished copper, glowed.”


“Natalia Makarova emerged in a clinging black dress, black boots, and boa thrown over her shoulders. She had outlined her eyes, deepened them with shadow and kohl, wrapped her hair under a gold and black turban, her profile imperious as smoke curled up from her long black cigarette holder.”

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“Rudolf Nureyev was wearing doeskin and thigh-high taupe boots the color of creamed coffee, a garnet lamé scarf wrapped turban-like around his head. Accompanied by three companions’—Madame Veliani, fire red hair and lips, and an androgynous couple, tall, spectral in tuxedo and black tails, white-faced, slicked-back hair, out of Cabaret—the quartet strolled in unison.”

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“Ruth wore a polka dot red and white halter top and white shorts. She smelled of sun and sea, with the freshness of basil she carried in her hands.”


“At the center of the room, beside a pale pink and cream floral display, sat Natalia Makarova on an Empire-style sofa. She wore a floor-length mulberry dress the color of a cloudy sunset whose folds of cloth came together in a gold pin on one shoulder. An ivory crocheted shawl trailed over her arms. An exquisite miniature, Geneva thought, in its gold setting.”

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THE BALLET LOVER by Barbara L. Baer