I'll come out and say it: There's no nail varnish shade more iconic than Essie Ballet Slippers (£8). The sheer pinkish-white polish is loved by everyone from the queen and Meghan Markle to Karlie Kloss and Emma Stone. Even Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly, is reported to have worn it. By 2016, over 10 million bottles had been sold worldwide. Sure, the classic colour goes with any outfit, without detracting attention, but what has made this seemingly "safe" shade just so popular? Keep scrolling to find out why fashion editors and celebrities worldwide continue to stockpile the cult colour…
Back in 1982, Ballet Slippers was born. As a child, Essie Weingarten (founder and creative director of Essie cosmetics) dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, and it was her nostalgia for those days that inspired her to dream up the hit hue.
Just seven years later, in 1989, Weingarten received a personal letter from the queen's hairdresser requesting the shade be sent directly to Buckingham Palace in bulk. And the Ballet Slippers madness began…
How Ballet Slippers Became The IT-Girl Nail Polish
Over the years, it's not just the queen who has loved the simplicity of Ballet Slippers. The award-winning shade has earned a cult following. Barbra Streisand, Karlie Kloss, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez and Emma Stone have all spoken about their love of the £8 polish. In fact, it was Ballet Slippers that Meghan Markle chose to wear on her wedding day to Prince Harry.
It's not just celebrities and royalty who have brought fame to the shade. Weingarten revealed to Into the Gloss that one coat of Ballet Slippers mixed with one coat of Marshmallow was the shade Miranda Priestly wore throughout filming (no other polish would be fit for the editor in chief of Runway magazine, of course).
It also garnered a seal of approval in Cecily von Ziegesar's 2008 book Don't You Forget About Me (the 11th book in the original Gossip Girl series). In the book, Blair Waldorf reminisces about a time when best friend Serena "expertly painted [her] lids with black liner, or lacquered her nails with ballet slipper pink Essie polish." Any Gossip Girl fan will know that only the chic-est shade would make it onto Waldorf's mani…
Ballet Slippers Now
Fast-forward 37 years and Ballet Slippers is more iconic today than ever. It continuously wins beauty awards around the world, is found in pretty much every nail artist's kit backstage at fashion week and graces the red carpet regularly. Sure, nowadays the queen (more regularly than not) opts to forgo polish altogether, but Ballet Slippers is continuing its royal reign through Markle and Middleton.
Take a scroll through Instagram and you'll often see that fashion editors, celebrities and bloggers worldwide opt for a sheer polish on their nails. It's not so much a safe shade as it is a classic shade. It's the no-makeup makeup of a manicure. And at £8 a bottle, it's not a bad bet to make.
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