American Ballet Theatre's gorgeous new-old production of Sleeping Beauty—you know, the one with the gloriously old-fashioned tutus—got us thinking about the history of the tutu. Tutus have evolved a heck of a lot since their debut in 1832, but the basic premise of the costume has persisted. Their hemlines rise and fall, their circumferences increase and decrease, but tutus never go out of style.
Some of the beautiful tutus from ABT's Sleeping Beauty (via @PaulinaWaski on Instagram)
Partly that's because the workmanship required to construct a tutu, even a simple tutu, is so extensive that each one becomes a work of art. In fact, many museum exhibits have treated tutus as just that: precious artwork.
A tutu has a special power onstage, but in a museum setting, it acquires a different kind of magnetism. Seeing one of these costumes up close—close enough to acknowledge not only the incredible detailing and craftsmanship, but also the sweat stains, the tiny tears in the tulle, the missing beads—is almost overwhelming. It becomes at once more magical and more real.
In honor of #TutuTuesday, we've rounded up some of our favorite photos from museum exhibits honoring the tutu. Take a look!