The first time I walked into the small little shop on a side street near the l’Opéra Garnier, I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Even on the sidewalk outside, I was already mesmerised by the beautiful window display with elaborate ballerina costumes suspended from the ceiling. But inside, I saw something special. In front of me were four beautiful ballerinas, who probably came straight from their lessons, because they were still in their leotards and tights. They were trying on new pink satin ballet slippers with the shop assistant measuring their feet to make sure they find the perfect pair. I was captivated.
Rose Repetto was the mother of Roland Petit, a famous French dancer and choreographer. When he was still a young dancer in 1947, he often came home from rehearsals with bloody feet, so his mom began to sew ballet slippers for her son. His shoes were such a hit with his friends, including Rudolf Nureyev, that they all starting wearing them. And even today, Repetto still supplies made-to-measure pointes to the ballet dancers of the Paris Opéra.
The part of the story that I really like is about Brigitte Bardot. She was a classically trained ballet dancer and a devoted fan of Repetto pointe shoes. When she appeared in the 1956 movie And God Created Woman, she asked Rose Repetto to create a pair for her to use in the movie. The ballet flats and Bridgette Bardot both became overnight sensations! If you walk into Repetto today, you will see that they have enough variations of colours, styles and materials to suite anyone’s style. Thanks to Bridgette we now have a chic alternative to those killer high heels!!