THE STORY BEHIND IT
Flat shoes were invented for all the occasions when heels feel too formal, and sneakers feel too casual. At least, we choose to believe that. Ballet flats are always the effortless, comfortable and chic option, and when you wear a pair, you’re the embodiment of the French look – a style launched by Coco Chanel in the 1920s and made eternal by iconic women like Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot.
As a matter of fact, big thanks are in order to Brigitte Bardot, who in 1956 requested that the French shoe brand Repetto made a pair of shoes that were as light and flexible as ballet slippers – but a bit more wearable. The brand did the only reasonable thing when receiving a request from The Most Beautiful Woman in the World: obliged immediately.
True ballet slippers (you know, the ones actual ballerinas wear) have been around for centuries. But prior to the 1950s, wearing them outside the practice studio was as peculiar as someone wearing a pair of spike shoes outside an athletics field in the 2010s. So it was up to Brigitte Bardot to bring them into the streets, which she did in a big way in And God Created Woman (1956), where she paired her red patent flats with red trousers and a Breton top. The ballet flats became instant classics.
In the 60 years that have passed since And God Created Woman premiered, the shoes have stuck as a timeless fashion staple, regardless of whatever catwalk trends or temporary fads have been in style. It’s not difficult to understand why – it’s the most comfortable shoe out there!
Celebrate the ballet flats and shop our selected favourites in the list below.