Susannah Frankel: Ballerinas, versatile, elegant and now a classic

Ready To Wear: 'It will be possible to snap up a limited-edition copy of the ruby red Repettos that were made for Brigitte Bardot'
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Picture the Independent fashion team loitering in front of the office early last week for no apparent reason – oh, alright then, we were, as Kate Moss is wont to proclaim, having a fag – and knock me down with a feather if we weren't all wearing the same shoes. This was not, thankfully, as embarrassing as it might seem. The footwear in question was not of the must-have variety – we were not like three Wags at a wedding in the identical Chloé outfit, for example. We were not all wearing Yves Saint Laurent Tribute sandals. Instead, ballet slippers were our mutual choice, and they looked just fine and dandy – with skinny jeans, with a candy-pink miniskirt and with a little black dress.

This should come as no surprise. Whether "ballerinas" – as they are now known – appear at the top or bottom of any in/out barometer, they are by now a classic. A most democratic choice of footwear, they can be worn with anything whatsoever, and are simple and elegant rather than fashion fabulous. Most importantly, they can be styled any way their wearer wants them to be.

And that is clearly the thinking behind a travelling exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of Repetto – Parisian home of the ballet pump for on- and off-duty ballerinas alike – which lands in London today. The show, at Dover Street Market, features customised designs by 60 luminaries from the worlds of dance, film, art, choreography, music, design and, of course, fashion, all keen to put their own stamp on this wardrobe staple.

Catherine Deneuve's pumps, then, are wrapped in rosy tulle; Chloë Sevigny's are platformed; Carla Bruni's are stamped with dragonflies and stars; Jean Paul Gaultier's are lined in a Breton stripe; and Kirsten Dunst's have a sad little face painted on them, complete with crimson moue (poor Kirsten!). There will also be tutus designed by the store's maverick proprietor, Rei Kawakubo. My favourite is a big tutu with a baby one appliquéd on to it.

Sadly, none of these collectables will be for sale here – instead, they will be auctioned in Paris in October to raise money for Repetto's Dance For Life initiative, part of Unesco's Education of Children in Need programme. However, for £255 it will be possible to snap up a limited-edition (of just 30), numbered copy of the ruby-red Repetto ballet shoes made for Brigitte Bardot, and worn by her in her first film – And God Created Woman.

Join the queue now. Dover Street Market, www.doverstreetmarket.com

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