Some time ago, through a funny and informative shoe-centric blog Los Zapatos de Dorita (Dorothy’s Shoes), written by the Spanish journalist Ana Durá, I found out about a company called Las Bailarinas Shoes, which, as the title suggests, specializes in making ballet flats. Ballet flats are very popular nowadays and most brands have their “ballerina” lines. Spain is especially rich in those, since many companies had started out producing ballet slippers (the house of Mascaró from Menorca that owns the famous Pretty Ballerinas brand is one example). It’s hard to stand out in the “ballerina” world, but to me, the Elda, Alicante based Las Bailarinas Shoes definitely does. I agree with Ana from Loz Zapatos de Dorita that there is that special something: that creative spark in the design and the choice of materials of the Las Bailarinas Shoes that hits a nerve.
Their raffia line, in particular, blew me away.
Raffia – a natural, airy, but strong material – comes from certain species of palm trees. The material has been widely used to make sun hats, bags, and other things, but is now also becoming a mainstream material for shoe making. The result is very seductive. The moment I laid my eyes on these raffia “bluchers” (a type of shoe that has eyelet tabs for shoelace sewn on top of a single piece of leather, originally created for the military), I thought that it was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Being a conservatively “girly” type of shoe wearer, I have never before considered wearing bluchers, no matter how well made, but I would wear these in a heart beat:
And the matching ballet flat:
The “bluchers” also come in black and grey. Some more colors of the raffia ballerinas:
I love the delicate and ornate quality of the raffia shoes – raffia can be woven so fine as to create an illusion of lace, and it won’t fall apart on you, either. Also, the low-cut, or décolleté, vamp (the front of the shoe) is bound to create a sexy “toe cleavage”. It was Manolo Blahnik who said that properly calibrated toe cleavage is key to making the shoes and subsequently the feet an object of desire. And, deep down, isn’t it that what we secretly hope for when donning on a pair of pretty heels (or in this case, flats)?
Other attractive lines include prints, animal skin and fabric (yes, it’s a trend, but here too the company goes with unconventional choices).
Here are some green ostrich skin ballerinas:
These pink “houndstooth” pattern ballerinas are trendy, yet also different in this pink version. By the way, the equivalent word for “houndstooth” in Spanish is “pata de gallo” or “rooster’s foot”.
And the “glitter” line:
These red ballerinas, thickly covered with coarse-grain glitter, are fun and “Oh, so Hollywood” pretty. It’s hard not to think of Dorothy’s shoes from the classic “Wizard of Oz” movie when looking at them. Had Dorothy been much taller than her companions and chosen not to upstage them during her much publicized journey down the yellow-brick road, these flats would have been just the thing.
In the glitter section are also these Black Silver Sport ballerinas, made from fabric and fine glitter. The ingredients are simple, but the effect is interesting: the glitter is applied in such a way that it creates a kind of a pattern, not quite animal-like, but something close to it.
In the patent leather line I really like these purple “croco graven” ballerinas. These visually striking ballerinas are not actually made of crocodile skin, of course. If they were, the price would be different. Besides, there are many people for whom wearing reptile skin is out of question (myself included).
In terms of prices: the ballerinas and the bluchers hover around 100 Euros, a little less for the flats, a little more for the bluchers. In Spain it includes the shipping. I understand that the website is equipped to handle international orders (not only within European Union) and the shipping is not prohibitive. A custom’s tariff would be applied, of course, which varies with country and circumstances.
The prices seem adequate to me, given that design is excellent, materials high-quality and the company, while young, has shoe making pedigree. Las Bailarinas Shoes is a 100% Made in Spain company. Quality has its price.
That said, Las Bailarinas Shoes ballet flats are cheaper than the ones made by the Pretty Ballerinas brand. For those of you who can read Spanish, you might want to take a look at a recent discussion on shoe prices in Spain’s most popular shoe blog: “Los Zapatos de Barbara” (see post here).
The company website is low-key and easy to navigate. A lot of it is in English, so you’re sure to find you way even if you don’t read Spanish. Information on materials for each specific shoe is easy to find and is in English.
I haven’t tried ordering yet, but boy, oh boy, do I ever want to get my hands on those raffia bluchers. I’ve been thinking about them since February, but they don’t seem to have my size anymore. Then again, the one that they do have available might be the right one, after all. Who knows. The shoe size conversion with Europe is always a bit of a headache. I think that I’ve figured out what’s what (see post here), but there are always odd cases. In short, it’s hard to determine what size will fit until you actually try the shoes.
Anyhow, I suspect that one of these days I will give in to temptation and then you will know how it all ended. If you have experience ordering from this company, wherever you are in the world, please share your thoughts and impressions!
UPDATE: I didn’t get to order my pair of raffia ballerinas, as the brand is no longer around. Such a pity!