Category Archives: French Brands

The Repetto Alicia-Jolie Chaussure Pointe

What’s very expensive, but beautiful nonetheless? Shoes made by the classically French company Repetto. From their cute ballerina flats to their lovely satin pointe shoes, Repetto is a well-known brand for dancers and non-dancers alike.

Repetto Alicia

Repetto Alicia. A beautiful hug to the arch with 3/4 shank construction.

For many years, the only pointe shoe models that were advertised on their official website were the Juliet and the Carlotta. I almost gave up hope of finding anything new on their site.

Although Repetto came out with the Alicia in 2015, they are new to me, and possibly to you as well. According to Repetto, the Alicia model is for intermediate or advanced dancers with several years of training. It is a 3/4 shank shoe with long vamps and a medium profile.

As they say in French, these are jolie (pretty) pointe shoes.

Aux Fleurons De La Danse Of Paris

aux fleurons de la danse shop paris

Aux Fleurons De La Danse Paris shop front

In my world, few things ballet-related tug at my heartstrings more than the image of a solitary cobbler working quietly at his bench constructing a pointe shoe. Even though many reputable manufacturers employ large numbers of cobblers, there is something really beautiful about the lone pointe shoe maker who runs his own little shop servicing the individual needs of one dancer at a time.

Somewhere in the heart of downtown Paris, France is ( or was) such a shop. Here, a dancer could come in and have her pointe shoes made especially for her by Monsieur Dimitri Angelakov .

Who Is Dimitri Angelakov ?

From my hours researching the background of Monsieur Angelakov, I found only  bits and pieces of  his legacy online. There is a patent for the business name from the 1970’s. He is mentioned fondly on a French dance forum and on Facebook.

I don’t know his nationality or the journey he took to learn the craft of pointe shoe making. What I do know is that he was a very special man to the dancers who relied on him for their custom-made pointe shoes in that section of Paris.

Aux Fleurons De La Danse Translated Means:  The Jewels Of The Dance

There is something so beautifully personal about the relationship between a pointe shoe maker and his client. The care and love that goes into making each shoe is obvious in the video.

Each layer, each pleat, every brush of glue and turn of satin is gently and patiently tended with the delicate touch of an artist.

 These precious artisans are tucked away in obscure places, yet mean so much to the traditions of ballet.

As I write this, I am not 100% sure that Monsieur Angelakov is still here.  The last activity noted for Aux Fleurons De La Danse on Facebook was in 2011.  The web domain for his business, auxfleuronsdeladanse.com, expired last month.

Monsieur Angelakov in his shop

Although custom-made pointe shoes are available online, nothing can compare to knowing and talking to the person who makes your shoes. If Monsieur Angelakov has indeed gone to that big cobbler shop in the sky, somewhere on the streets of Paris walks many a broken-hearted dancer.

 

Merlet’s Newest Model; The Diva

Merlet DivaWhen you hear the word Diva, you can either imagine something negative or something positive. You may imagine a high maintenance woman who is very difficult to please. In the artistic realm, the definition of a diva is one of outstanding theatrical talent.

This past June, Merlet of France decided to name the latest addition to their pointe shoe collection Diva. The Diva is an aesthetically balanced shoe with several high-tech components.

The Diva Is Supposed To Be A Ready-To-Dance-In Model

Besides the non-slip platform, it comes with removable gel toe pads inside. This is a 3/4 shank shoe where the shank is made of polycarbonate materials; a tough, flexible substance similar to acrylic.

No matter how you view photographs of the model, it is obvious that a lot of care went into creating sleek lines for the shoe. So what is so Diva-like about it?

Did you notice those purple linings? Purple is the color of royalty. Ballet comes from royal lineage. A Diva, or a dancer of outstanding talent, may feel right at home in pointe shoes with a little hidden ” royal secret”.

Isn’t it interesting to find relevant innuendos in the world of pointe shoe marketing?

You can learn more about the Diva on the UK MerletDance website. The Diva isn’t featured on the Merlet USA website.

Pointe Relevé by Domyos Of France

In one of my earlier posts from 2010, I spoke about the French Domyos pointe shoe model Renaissance. After visiting the website, I noticed that the Renaissance model is sadly no more. However, there is another interesting shoe in its place; the Relevé.

According to Domyos, this model was created to alleviate pain on pointe. The inner toe is lined with an award-winning elastomer insert material for shock absorption and comfort. You can also see the traction tip on the platforms.

The wide metatarsal area reminds me of the Capezio Aerial. It isn’t going to work for every foot shape, but pointe shoes constructed with extra width in this area are a blessing for dancers that need the room.

With all the other athletic products and shoes that this gargantuan company manufactures, it’s wonderful to see a highly promoted specialized pointe model in their collection.

Another feature of this model is a 2-year guarantee. (!) Only time will tell if that is true. This model has only been on the market since Spring. If there is no paste to break down, a reinforced tip and strong polyester fabric used, it may outlast a traditional pointe shoe.

You can read details about the Relevé in English here.

Can This Model Survive?

DOMYOS-RELEVE

The built-in elastomer padding

As I was writing this, I couldn’t help but remember the demise of a similar silicone-pad-built-in idea; the Capulet Juliet D30. After the novelty wore off and the negative reviews started spreading online, both the shoe and eventually the Capulet brand bit the dust.

It appears that Sansha bought them out. You can see that the poor shoe lives permanently in the clearance department. Here are the biggest dancer complaints about built-in padding:

  1. With frequent use, pads shred, break into pieces or move round inside the toe box.
  2. Odor. With the heat and sweat that builds up during class, pads that you can’t take out and replace with fresh ones turn pointe shoes into stink bombs.
  3. Feeling bulky, can’t feel the floor as well, no room to add additional toe protection.

On a positive note, I wish Domyos the very best success with the Relevé. I would love to hear your opinion about pointe shoes with built-in padding.

The Domyos official website offers a choice of many languages, but you can choose the UK link for English. You can find many more photos of their products on their Facebook page.

The Repetto Julietta-A Beautiful Shoe For Beginners

Repetto JuliettaIn a post I made way back in March of 2011, I  wrote about visiting the Repetto website and only finding one model in various forms for sale; the La Carlotta.

Today, I find another model for sale on the Repetto website; the Julietta. Not only does the name conjure up images of romantic pas de duex variations that could involve Shakespearean balcony love scenes, the design concept and advertising is interesting too.

According to Repetto, this lovely shoe is designed for beginners that need a low-vamped, flexible soft-sole style that allows for easier demi-pointe work. Repetto offers this model with either a large box or a medium box and the sides are cut higher to stay on better.

The online advertisement comes with a strong warning to potential buyers; they don’t want anyone to buy the shoe unless they have been fitted in person first. Did someone buy a pair of pointes without trying them on and end up in a French hospital in toe slings blaming Repetto?

Since getting fitted for pointe shoes is very important and taken for granted as law in the ballet world, this passionate message is very curious from a business view-point. Collectors like me neither care about  proper fit nor do we fly from country to country checking in with manufacturers and fitters. However, we have money to spend and all pointe shoe companies need profit.

In light of this requirement, how would you enforce this policy online? Alarm bells? Police sirens? A fitter  security guard that jumps out of the screen and grabs you by your tutu spewing French obscenities?

There is only one thing that my rebellious spirit wants to do; click the order button to see if I get a warning pop-up message from Repetto stating that my IP address is on file as belonging to unfitted, undesirable  feet.