Repetto – A French Fashion Classic
From its modest beginning on the Rue de la Paix, birthplace of Haute Couture and a few steps from the legendary Opera building, Repetto has expanded internationally, offering a range of very trendy and comfortable shoes as well as dance wear and clothing.
Walking along the Rue de la Paix, the luscious display makes one think momentarily that one has stumbled upon an outpost of Ladurée, maker of those colorful and delicious macaroons. The shop at No. 22 is the birthplace of the ballet flats worn for decades by everyone from movie stars to prima ballerinas to just lovers of beauty and fashion. Known for its stunning, fairytale-like window displays, the interior of the Repetto shop is lit by crystal chandeliers, highlighting the ballet flats fanned out on low round tables, resembling rainbow-colored tutus.
This French fashion classic traces its origin to the 1940s when Italian-born Rose Repetto made a perfect pair of pointe ballet shoes for her son, the legendary dancer and choreographer Roland Petit. His friend Rudolph Nureyev requested a pair and soon dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet were gracefully making their way to Rose’s atelier.
A few years later, screen siren Brigitte Bardot, who had trained in classical ballet, asked Rose to create a shoe as comfortable and flexible as a ballet shoe to wear on the street and also to wear in her upcoming film, “And God Created Woman.” The result, a pair of red leather shoes with a tiny bow in the front, known as the Cendrillon (Cinderella) style. The design became such a classic that it was honored in March 2018, by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which added a pair to its permanent collection.
After Bardot’s appearance, the clamor for copies of the Cendrillon led Rose to open her first shop on the Rue de la Paix in 1959. New styles followed with all still made like true ballet slippers and pointe shoes - hand stitched inside out and then turned. The technique lets the soles disappear inside the shoes, creating an impression of elegance and lightness. And like a prima ballerina, you can request a custom pair, choosing the color, material and trim.
Interestingly, the current selection includes various heel heights, patent or classic leather and a large variety of shoe styles. During the warm summer days, the flat ballerinas will complement an ample pleated skirt or large trousers as well as Audrey Hepburn inspired capri trousers. If you wish to add a touch of glamour, the high heeled pumps will be the perfect choice to go with an elegant cocktail dress. Because, ultimately, what could be better than wearing a pair of shoes in Paris that were made for dancing?