Interview with shoe designers Pretty Ballerinas
“We work with the best suppliers in the world”
Pretty Ballerinas is a brand of ballerinas and flat shoes launched in 2005 via its own website, PrettyBallerinas.com
Although the name is relatively new, the shoes have been made in the same village on the Mediterranean island of Menorca by the same family since 1918.
Each shoe shape is named after a female screen or music icon to help customers remember which shape suits them best.
Pretty Ballerinas opened its first boutique at 34 Brook Street in Mayfair, London in February 2007, followed by stores in Pont Street, Belgravia and Threadneedle Street in The City of London. The year after saw the first retail outlets in continental Europe with two stores being opened in “Barrio”
The interview below with Sophie was conducted by Ellen Sampson, Cinderella project Curator. For more information on the groundbreaking Cinderella project go to http://www.northampton.gov.uk/thecinderellasyndrome
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Where are you based and what is your workspace like?
Mediterranean island of Menorca.
We have our own state of the art production and design facilities in the same village where we started 95 years ago. We have the design offices looking over a mountain full of Mediterranean pine trees and the factory part of the building below. Next door we have 6500 square feet of retail space where we showcase the collections.
How does your company’s design or development process work?
We develop the lasts (shapes) first, then investigate materials then design the uppers and combine the materials on each style. Each shoe passes through between sixty and a hundred loving pairs of hands before it is finished.
What Inspires the Shoes you produce?
Our customers desires, our lives where we live and when we travel, our past and fashion trends. We also work with the best suppliers in the world who show us new things and we get inspired working to paraphrase Picasso!!!
How do historic/vintage shoes relate to your current Collection? Do you use them for inspiration? Is there a continuity or evolution of a vintage style throughout your brands history?
Sure – we have shoes that go back to 1918 and even have shapes we still use from the 1960s. We keep the old shoes in a special cabinet to remember techniques and special designs.
Describe the historic/vintage shoe you picked.
The shoes I sent the picture of I chose because they are a recreation of the first ballerina we made when we started in 1918. They are made by hand and the original would have had a sole that didn’t reach the end of the shoe so the dancer could “feel” the floor with her toes.