The unbelievable story behind Repetto's Zizi Oxford, now in collaboration with Tsumori Chisato

The unbelievable story behind Repetto's Zizi Oxford, now in collaboration with Tsumori Chisato

Laced with history

Text: Jolene Khor

Repetto and Tsumori Chisato build on the legacy of Zizi

Rose Repetto's legacy dates back to 1947, when she designed her first ballet shoes at the behest of her dance choreographer son, Roland Petit. Shy of a decade later, her iconic Cendrillon flats was born. The red shoe shared the spotlight with its wearer, a young Briggit Bardot in 'Et Dieu... créa la femme', a film widely perceived as a breakthrough, propelling the then-precarious career of the sex kitten to superstardom.

Repetto's next success drew even more controversy during her time. Her Zizi Oxfords may have been created for her ballerina daughter-in-law Zizi Jeanmaire, but it was Serge Gainsbourg, French singer-filmmaker who put them on the map.

Gainsbourg was photographed heavily donning the lace-ups — during his torrid 10-year-long affair with Jane Birkin, a woman whose reputation within the fashion cognoscenti and Hollywood circuit hardly needs introduction. In Cannes, in Vogue, at jewellery exhibitions and movie sets, Gainsbourg's musician-muse relationship with Birkin, documented with Zizi on his feet led to an ambassadorship for Repetto.

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg in Vogue circa 1970.

Their explicit relationship didn't make it to the finish line, but the Zizi Oxford shoe survived scandal to reach cult status of its own.

In the 2017 turn, Tsumori Chisato joins its long lineage with by offering two new colourways printed with polka dots and cat paws. One in black and silver and the other in white and gold, each pair is adorned with cat ear cut-out on the tongue, and is packed with two pairs of laces to match the hues on the leather enveloping the white sheep leather insole and ecru fabric lining.

See them here:

Repetto x Tsumori Chisato is available online and in the Repetto store located at 01-13 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.