The Mollusc-like Magnetism of Céline's Soft Ballerina Pumps

Pin It
Styling by Lu Philippe Guilmette

AnOther Magazine's Agata Belcen muses on the aquatic allure of the label's glass pebble-adorned shoe

TextAgata BelcenPhotographyMathilde AgiusPhotographic EditorHolly Hay

Céline Soft Ballerina Pump

With pebble in corn nappa lux; in purple nappa with chain strap and wooden heel, lambskin, 70mm

I like these shoes. I liked them already in the Céline S/S15 show, when the toe-length was a little stubbier than it is in this A/W16 model, and so it made your foot look a lot like a hoof. That edition carried another bovine feature, a gold cowbell attached at the front (only, missing the clapper, so as not to drive you mad with rhythmic ding-donging against the metatarsals). They looked especially good in the buffed oxblood calfskin.

This generation, besides being a little leaner, has also had the bell replaced with a smooth and reflective glass pebble which resembles the liquid form of the extraterrestrial creature from 1989 film The Abyss. In general, even discounting the stone, there’s something of the sea-creature-from-the-deep-dark-void to this shoe. The puckering all the way round the internal edge which grasps onto the skin is a little oyster-ish in texture, or like a water eel, maybe a bit octopus or something that uses a sucking action to move. What all these creatures have in common, in my mind, is a smoothness complemented by a delicately ruckled, muscle-like flesh. They’re also both ugly and delightful at once, as is the shoe.