What is in this article?:
- These Boots Were Made for Dancing
- 'Something Timeless'
In the world of high-fashion, high-function footwear, craftsmanship is still key.
PARIS - What do Kylie Minogue and the can-can girls at the Moulin Rouge have in common?
They all get their dancing shoes from Clairvoy, the Parisian bootmaker that has cornered the market for top end, made-to-measure footwear for screen and stage.
Founded in 1945, Clairvoy still operates from the shop where it all began, at 17 Rue Fontaine, just 200 meters (650 feet) from the Moulin Rouge.
Founder Edouard Adabachian started out making shoes on demand for individuals, but by the 1960s, requests from the world of performance had come to dominate and theatre, cinema and even circuses now account for 80% of the 300-400 pairs of shoes and boots the company makes every year.
Abadachian's descendants sold the business to Moulin Rouge in 2006 but little has changed otherwise. The shop remains half classic footwear emporium/half museum to the stage with its signed pictures of famous performers and a can-can costume permanently on display.
On the floor a smooth red carpet evokes the world of cabaret. "That is where tap dancers test the shoes," says bootmaker Nicolas Maistriaux, the current director of Clairvoy.
The Moulin Rouge takeover has ensured the company's future by guaranteeing a steady flow of orders, Maistriaux adds.
Among these are numerous pairs of the calf-high, blue and red mini-boots in which the can-can is performed.
Thanks to Clairvoy's attention to detail, dancers can thump the stage floor repeatedly in confidence: the heels are specially designed to spread and absorb the shocks.