The ballerina dilemna

Ballerina Lanvin Repetto

I love ballerinas. I really do. Their grace, strength and dedication to their art never fail to touch me. I am too much of a bad dancer to even dream of becoming one so I will be content with the type of ballerinas that you can wear on your feet.

Repetto ballerina front

I have bought these black Repetto Cendrillon ballerinas over and over again for years. It’s a simple model appropriate for every occasion. Do you know the history of the brand? Rose Repetto created her first ballet shoes in 1947 under the advice of her son Roland Petit, a major choreographer. In 1956, Rose created the Cendrillon ballerina on Brigitte Bardot’s request and this pair of shoes became famous when the actress wore them in the cult movie …And God Created Woman.

Repetto Bon MarchéRepetto at Le Bon Marché

Repetto rue du Four Paris storeRepetto boutique on rue du Four in Paris

Repetto became the supplier of the greatest dancers. The brand now represents French style around the world and remains loyal to its ballet heritage with beautiful stores full of tutus and pointe shoes. Actually, Repetto launched its first fragrance today; you can view the ad featuring Paris Opera Ballet étoile dancer Dorothée Gilbert here.

Repetto ballerina side

Repetto ballerina sole

I just have one little problem with my Repettos: I walk around Paris a lot and after one year, this is how the soles look. Not good… Yet I remained faithful to Repetto. Until one day…

Lanvin ballerina bag

I was at looking at the Lanvin shoes at the Bon Marché. I have loved their ballerinas for years but had never seriously considered buying a pair because of their much higher price. Anyway, the sales assistant convinced me to try them. Because trying doesn’t mean buying, right? I put them on, walked a few steps… and I was sold.

Lanvin ballerina front

The Lanvin ballerinas’ level of comfort is incredibly superior to Repetto’s: the soles are reinforced with a cushion that makes me feel like I could walk for hours whereas Repettos give you the impression you are barefoot on the hard ground. The Lanvin’s tight rubber band at the heel did hurt a little at first but now that my feet are used to them it’s all good.

Lanvin ballerina side

As I said, Lanvin is more pricey than Repetto but so much more comfortable and seemingly more solid. The Lanvin sales assistant told me that the ballerinas last at least 2 years (compared to about 1 year for Repetto) so they should actually be a better deal.


One thing I will remain loyal to Repetto for is the Zizi model. Created for Roland Petit’s wife Zizi Jeanmaire, this model was Serge Gainsbourg’s favorite. I love its masculine style and wear it with everything, all year round, dressed up or dressed down. I had my first pair for 2 years before I had to buy another one.


Are you a ballerina girl? Is there a brand you favor? My friend Hannah-Rose from Capture the Castle has raved about Porselli; have you ever tried those?


J’adore les ballerines. Leur grâce, leur force et leur dévouement entier à leur art m’émeuvent à tous les coups. Moi, je suis la pire danseuse du monde alors je me contente des ballerines portées au pied.

Ces Repetto Cendrillon noir, je les rachète depuis des années. C’est un modèle tout simple qui va avec tout pour toutes les occasions. Connaissez-vous l’histoire de la marque ? Rose Repetto a créé ses premières chaussures de danse en 1947 dans son atelier près de l’Opéra de Paris, sur les conseils de son fils le grand chorégraphe Roland Petit. En 1956, Brigitte Bardot lui commande le modèle Cendrillon qu’elle porte dans le film Et Dieu… Créa la femme. Et c’est ainsi que la petite ballerine devient culte. Repetto a été le fournisseur des plus grands danseurs. La marque représente aujourd’hui le style français à travers le monde et reste fidèle à la danse avec des belles boutiques remplies de pointes et tutus. D’ailleurs, Repetto a lancé son premier parfum aujourd’hui avec un film publicitaire mettant en scène la danseuse étoile Dorothée Gilbert. J’ai juste un petit problème avec mes Repettos : je marche beaucoup et au bout d’un an, voici l’état des semelles. Pas très joli tout ça… Et pourtant je suis restée fidèle à Repetto, jusqu’au jour où…

Je regardais les chaussures Lanvin au Bon Marché. J’aimais leurs ballerines depuis longtemps sans avoir l’intention d’acheter une paire à cause de leur prix. Remarquant mon intérêt, le vendeur m’encouragea à les essayer. Parce qu’essayer n’engage à rien, n’est-ce pas ? Je les enfilai, fit quelque pas… et n’ai pas résisté. Les ballerines Lanvin ont un niveau de confort bien supérieur aux Repetto. Leurs semelles sont renforcées d’un coussin grâce auquel j’ai l’impression de pouvoir marcher pendant des heures, alors qu’avec les Repetto c’est presque comme si j’étais pieds nus sur le sol dur. L’élastique serré des Lanvin m’a fait mal au début à l’arrière des chevilles mais maintenant tout va bien. Comme je l’ai dit, les Lanvin sont plus chères que les Repetto mais beaucoup plus confortables et d’apparence plus solide. D’après le vendeur de Lanvin, les ballerines durent au moins 2 ans (contre environ 1 an pour Repetto) alors au final elles devraient être une bonne affaire.

Je reste cependant fidèle à Repetto pour les Zizi. Créées pour Zizi Jeanmaire, la femme de Roland Petit, ce modèle était le préféré de Serge Gainsbourg. J’aime beaucoup son côté masculin et le porte avec tout, toute l’année, habillée ou décontractée. J’ai eu ma première paire il y a 2 ans avant de devoir en racheter une.

Aimez-vous les ballerines ? Avez-vous une marque préférée ? Ma copine Hannah-Rose de Capture the Castle adore les Porselli ; avez-vous déjà acheté cette marque ?

21 thoughts on “The ballerina dilemna

  1. I have four pairs of Repettos. With each one, I wore the new pair a couple of weeks to scuff up the bottoms, then took them to my cobbler to have them resoled with leather. It doubles the thickness of the sole and prevents the shoes from wearing out. Costs about $30 USD per pair. My oldest pair is four years old.

  2. I love my porselli; they are a closer fit to my feet, and on average, a bit cheaper than repetto, with longer lasting soles. I’ve previously owned a classic pair of repetto ballerina, and one with a mid wedge, the latter was very painful to wear. repetto does come with many more colors and selection though.

    1. You’re right about Repetto: they have a unique wide range of colors and materials. I’d love to go for one of their glittery models one day. Thanks for your feedback on Porselli!

  3. I love the Lanvin ones here, beautiful colour. I’ve been eyeing up Repettos in the recent sales but didn’t love one enough to buy it. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve lived in my Zara flats for over a year in they show absolutely no wear and are perfectly pretty!

  4. The Repetto website is soooo beautiful! I used to dance ballet (from 5 to 18 years old), but despite the fact that I was a good ballerina, mother Nature did not bless (or curse?) me with a ballerina flat body. Before I knew it I was all curvy (which I don’t mind) and I had to bid Adieu to the dream of being a professional ballerina. But I still go mad when I see anything ballet related, may it be tutus, ballerina photographs, ballet spectacles and so on. Classical music is my favorite haha

    Anyway, back to the ballerinas :) I have never tried the Repetto ballerinas. The ones I have been wearing were from Zara. I did buy once a pair from H&M and regretted them instantly: they were uncomfortable on long walks (it was like walking bare foot) and they didn’t last over a month (and I walk a lot!). But those Lanvin ones look darling. I just wish I could afford one pair :) Maybe someday…

    1. To be honest, I couldn’t afford Lanvin either. This pair is a gift from the other person who insisted I try them on ;-)
      I love your story about growing up dancing ballet. I never took a dance class in my life (my passion was playing the piano) but have become hugely interested in ballet over the past year. It’s such a beautiful art, bringing together dance, art, stories, fashion and music.

      1. Well it is surely a nice gift :)

        Piano and Ballet go so well together, I think. But I agree, ballet is a really beautiful art, it always stirs emotions in me from within. If there is a documentary on ballet, you can be sure I’ll be watching it. Speaking of which… you should watch “Ballerina” a 2006 documentary which follows five ballerinas of the Kirov .

        1. I saw it on Youtube! Aaaaand I’ll see Svetlana Zakharova and Evgenia Obraztsova perform in Jewels in London next month for my birthday. I’m so excited! I’ve heard so much about these two I can’t wait to see them in person :-)

          1. No way!!! Oh my gosh I am so jealous right now! Hope you will blog about it so that I can “profit” through you haha They are just brilliant!

  5. I have been eying the Lanvin ballerinas for ages now. The leather, the colours, the fact that they curl up a bit, everything seems to be perfect. Only the price makes me not buying them. Last week when I was in Paris I had a serious look at the ones from Repetto but didn’t buy them. There weren’t the right sizes anymore and I still prefered the Lanvin ones. After reading your story I’m sure I will go for the Lanvin ones.
    Let’s hope for a miracle during the sales… :)

    1. I’m not sure the Lanvin ballerinas are ever on sale since they’re permanent items in the collections :-( And I’m like you, I have loved them for ages but never bought them because of the price. The only reason I own them is because they’re gifts. But if they really last at least twice as long as Repetto, I think I’d rather invest in Lanvin from now on.

      1. I have seen a few on sale but of course those are the ones with odd patterns and colours, not the ones you would prefer ;)
        And oh, what a lovely gift!

  6. I would love to see how the Lanvins will wear after a year, and see how they compare in terms of durability!
    Also, Lanvins do go on sale! I just saw black ones on sale at the outnet for 55% off, limited sizing though. Usually it’s the less classic colors and styles that get on sale.

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