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France’s Foot Fetish: The Cult of Repetto French Ballet Slippers

by Tory Hoen
repetto-parisatelier.blogspot.comparisatelier.blogspot.com

When it comes to footwear, there is one word that sends fashionistas around the globe swooning: Repetto. The brand is a well-kept secret that Parisians have known about since the first pair was created in 1947, but (as usual) the rest of us are just catching on. Frankly, I’m not the type to squeal over a pair of shoes—or so I thought, until I had a Repetto-related epiphany that made me realize what all the fuss was about.

Repettorepetto.com

The brand’s cult status dates back to the 1950s, when Rosa Repetto created an iconic ballet flat for sultry French actress Brigitte Bardot. In the 1970s, Serge Gainsbourg got on board, and the rest was history. Though the company still creates actual dance shoes, many of their styles have been co-opted by those who simply want to prance around the streets in them (myself included). Today, most self-respecting Parisiennes have at least one pair in their closets.

The shoes’ popularity is not solely due to their cuteness (although they’re very cute), but also to the fact that they are made by hand in relatively small batches, so even though they can now be found globally, there is still an air of exclusivity about them. Limited edition colors and styles come out each year—but once they’re gone, they’re gone.

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I made the mistake of falling in love with a limited edition pair and not buying them immediately. Before I knew it, they were sold out everywhere. I literally pounded the pavement in Paris, Montreal, New York, and Paris again before reconciling myself to the fact that it was hopeless. My chance at greatness had passed me by.

And then one day, a greater force lured me into a boutique near Etienne Marcel  and, lo and behold, there they were—in my size and on sale. Suddenly I was squealing, and the salespeople looked scared,  and I was squealing again, and I think I blacked out for a minute, and then they were mine. See? I told you that retail miracles can happen during les soldes.

repetto 1repetto.com

I’m still working on nailing the overall French aesthetic (it’s looking like it’s going to be a lifelong effort), but a pair of Repettos is definitely a step in the right direction. They make a great staple for any wardrobe, but honestly, these shoes are about more than a fad, more than a look, more than a label. Owning a pair feels like owning a little piece of French fashion history.

Plus, when I’m not in Paris, I simply slip them on and I feel like I’m complicit in a national French secret. At 150 EUR for a pair of basic ballet flats, they’re not cheap. But somehow, this is one cult that’s well worth the price of entry.

Read more online, or if you’re in Paris, make sure to check out Repetto’s gorgeous stores:

Boutique Repetto. 22 rue de la Paix, 2eme. Tel: 01 44 71 83 12.

Boutique Repetto. 51 rue du Four, 6eme. Tel: 01 45 44 98 65.

For further reading on Repetto:

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Tory Hoen

After attending Brown University and spending two years in New York, Tory bought a one-way ticket to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a writer (and of drinking wine at lunch). During her time in the City of Light, she chronicled the euphoric highs and the laughable lows of ex-pat life on her blog, A Moveable Beast. Though she's now based in New York, she travels frequently to Montreal and Brazil, and she'll use just about any excuse to jet to Paris ("I ran out of fleur de sel"). A regular contributor to Hip Paris, Tory also writes for New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and she is a co-author of Gradspot.com's Guide To Life After College. View Website

8 comments on “France’s Foot Fetish: The Cult of Repetto French Ballet Slippers

lovely shoes, though what do women with foot problems (huge bunions, wide feet, orthotics, etc.) wear?

They’re fab – but I must say I gave up the ballerines a few years ago and now only wear the Gainsbourg ‘Zizis’…

I was thrilled to find the exact pair I wanted at the rue de la Paix boutique on sale near San Francisco months later!

I have 3 pair and love, love, love them!

Enjoy,
Christine Hueber

[…] hail storm reminded me of how fickle Parisian weather can be. (It was kind of awesome, but my Repetto’s were not […]

[…] spectrum. I have to agree. Getting caught in a freak hail storm a few weeks ago (while wearing ballet flats) made arriving home to our cozy apartment on the Ile St. Louis that much more of a triumph. And […]

[…] spectrum. I have to agree. Getting caught in a freak hail storm a few weeks ago (while wearing ballet flats) made arriving home to our cozy apartment on the Ile St. Louis that much more of a triumph. And […]

[…] up lounging by the Fontaine des Médicis, stopping in for macarons at Pierre Hermé, poking around Repetto, and making a pit-stop at Deyrolle (to fuel my inexplicable taxidermy obsession). • Before you […]

[…] Repetto. I’ve already gushed enough about this one, but no closet is complete without a pair of classic Repetto ballet flats. They’re the perfect everyday shoe, and think about it: every time you slip them on, you’ll think of Paris (or of Icelandic volcanoes). […]

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