Elegance is all
Repetto has decided to open a new chapter in its history, one that respects these values. Today it’s launching its first perfume.
A satin ribbon tied round the ankle. A body suspended in the air, defying all possibilities. The stunning frisson of swishing tulle. The absolute grace that strikes you from the heart. For more than 65 years, Repetto has been taking its inspiration from exceptional women who achieve the impossible on a daily basis. From principal dancers who defy gravity to young prodigies full of hope, they inspire the dreams of little girls as much as they nourish the search for perfection for the older ones.
A unique brand
A heritage of grace
The icon of French heritage that is Repetto was founded in 1947 when Rose Repetto decided to design a pair of shoes for her son, the dancer and choreographer Roland Petit. All the dancers at the opera house were seduced by these shoes, which were hand-sewn using the famous ‘stitch and return’ process, and they came to get their own shoes made by Rose Repetto, the only person who really understood their requirements. Nearly ten years later, in 1956, Brigitte Bardot gave her a very special order, when she was preparing to shoot And God Created Woman. The young dancer turned actress dreamed of a hybrid shoe that would give her steps some added elegance. Rose Repetto therefore came up with the Cendrillon ballerina shoes that became a legend thanks to Roger Vadim’s film. Three years later, the phenomenal success of the ballet and ballerina shoes led Madame Repetto to open an eponymous boutique at 22 rue de la Paix in Paris, next to the Palais Garnier opera house. Maurice Béjart, Rudolf Nureyev, Carolyn Carlson and all the dance prodigies rushed here, making the address one of the discipline’s infamous spots. In 1970, the singer Serge Gainsbourg turned the Zizi shoe – created by Rose Repetto for her daughter-in-law Zizi Jeanmaire – into his signature footwear. It was an essential part of his wardrobe and he went through a phenomenal quantity each year, finally becoming an ambassador for Repetto. A sleeping beauty in the late 1990s, Repetto recovered its prestige thanks to Jean-Marc Gaucher, who took over as Chairman and Managing Director in 1999.
A place to dream
Magnetised by the shop windows, where spectacular tutus made for performances at the opera house are exhibited each month, wide-eyed visitors enter Repetto as if stepping into a precious childhood memory. Since December 2012, the boutique has also boasted a leather goods collection, as well as something brand new: a ready-to-wear wardrobe comprising of twenty pieces. It’s a contemporary variation on the theme of dance, combining mesh with short wide skirts, mille feuilles of overlaid fabric or clean lines below the knee. These designs all adhere to the firm’s internationally recognised values.
Like dancers tirelessly repeating the same choreography from their first lessons, striving to place their body at the service of art, the Repetto workshops continue to use the famous ‘stitch and return’ method that made the firm’s name. Located at Saint Médard d’Excideuil in Dordogne, they carry on an unparalleled craft, stitching the sole inside out and firmly turning it back so as to give the ballerinas or famous Carlotta pointe shoes their unmatched suppleness.
Repetto has now created a fragrance of their very own, an elegant aura, like a ballerina performing an arabesque driven by a subtle signature providing self-confidence and lifting the body into the air like a Carlotta ballerina. Repetto called on perfumer Olivier Polge to create the formula.
“I sought to achieve a hand-sewn effect by combining a selection of luxurious and authentic raw ingredients. A musky powdered rose, real quintessence of femininity. It’s a refined formula for which I had the pleasure of using essence of rose and vanilla.”
Rose is the fragrance’s spine, rolling over the skin like a satin ribbon. A rhythmical choreography that opens with the optimistic entrechats of pear and cherry blossom accords. We also recognise the precious essence of rose fusing with orange blossom. A bewitching floral heart that arches towards the powdery base like a dancer in her partner’s arms. Then comes the sensual pas de deux between the vanilla pod and the warmth of the amber wood to create absolute equilibrium. A tender, delicate, refined perfume.
A dynamic bottle
The powdered case is the exact same colour as the famous Repetto pink, while the bottle that sits within it bears an identical ribbon to that used on the famous Carlotta ballerina. The satin ribbon is wrapped round the bottle, knotted at the neck, sealed with the brand’s iconic lower-case ‘r’ and weighted with an elegant drop pendant. As for the subtly tinted glass bottle, it seems to have been carved in a perpetual motion. Like a fully choreographed body, the bottle required months of rehearsal. A play of curves, volumes and unbridled forms gives the glass a unique suppleness. Embraced by your hand, it reveals an unparalleled sensuality and softness. Tapered, rounded but entirely irregular, it seems to have always existed, just like a principal dancer simulates apparent ease through their grace. A work of pink glass, between frost and transparency.
Ever faithful to the principal dancers of the Paris Opera, Repetto could find no better ambassadors than these exceptional women. That is why the firm chose Dorothée Gilbert to embody their brand new fragrance. Photographed by James Bort in the privacy of her dressing room, the Danseuse Etoile prepares to go on stage. Hair carefully styled, already wearing her costume, she savours her opportunity, that of finally living her childhood dream.
Miss Dorothée Gilbert, Principal Dancer of the Opéra National de Paris, has been the Repetto ambassador since January 2012.
This world famous, but very open and friendly dancer embodies the values Repetto wishes to communicate through her technique, sensitivity and grace.
She started dancing at the Toulouse Conservatoire, followed by the Opéra de Paris Dance School in 1995. Five years later, she joined the corps de ballet. She was promoted to Coryphée in 2002, then Sujet in 2003.
After being promoted to Première Danseuse in 2005, she was made Danseuse Etoile following the performance of The Nutcracker (Rudolf Nureyev) on 19th November 2007.