Like most Asian children growing up in international schools, my mom had me enrolled in almost every extra curricular activity that involved performing arts, which in my case included ballet and jazz class, which I hated with a passion, preferring rounders and art class instead. Quintessentially Pinoy (and hilarious, now that I look back at it), my mom’s friends way of “motivating” me to continue ballet were illogical statements like, “Wat ip sambady asks you to perporm at a party? You cannot ask dem to get a swimming pool to show you can swim. You hab to learn how to dance!”
Now that I have put my horrendous ballet past behind me, my love for their comfortable ballerina shoes have still remained. Simple, elegant, and very European, I love the quality of ballet flats like French Sole and Repetto, but they can be quite pricey, given their quality and the where all the materials are sourced from.
Similar to French Sole but not as heavy on the wallet, is the Spain import, Menina Step. A brand of handcrafted leather shoes founded by four stylish sisters from Madrid, Spain, it was born out their need to find comfortable, stylish yet not overly trendy, quality shoes they could use everyday.
From Madrid to Manila, Menina Step launched its debut collection at the South Court of the Powerplant Mall last May 30-31, 2015. The brand works hand-in-hand with the shoemakers to ensure the caliber of every pair, with each shoe painstakingly fabricated by a leather artisan trained in the art of shoemaking. This shows in all the beautiful designs up for sale that afternoon, delicately displayed in pull-out drawers, on fluffy poufs, and suede settees.
This sparkly Emma ballet flats adds a bit of edge to the simple boyfriend jeans + white t-shirt combo – totally something Vanesa Hudgens, Kate Moss, or Rihanna would wear. Bring out your inner rockstar and pair these with a studded black bag and black eyeliner or a leather jacket when it starts to shower.
Aside from being known for the ballet slippers, they also boast of their slip-on series, evident in my favorite pair, the Kali Cinder (Php 3,750). Kali Cinder is a perfect addition to anyone’s wardrobe, this soft grey suede with a hint of gold, Kali Cinder gives off a luxe feel, something I could imagine Penelope Cruz, Toni Gonzaga, and Beyoncé sporting in skinny jeans and a dark tank top.
Going back to the playful ballet flats, they come in different colors to suit different lifestyle and personalities, so there’s always something for someone.
The Emma Boa Natural (Php 2,950) is perfect for the office, for those who want to be stylish yet comfortable. Running around the city for business meetings in heels are never fun, so this makes for a great option.
The flirty Edith Nassau (Php 3,450) is a muted pink that looks very much like a ballerina’s point shoes minus the pain! Made of the softest cow leather, wear this with an above-the-knee skirt and a flowery top, making for a comfortable date outfit or brunch with the girls.
My favorite of the lot is the Emma Leopardo Rosa (Php 2,950), made for the adventurous type that’s not afraid to stand out. The ponyhair leopard print goes well with the boho in you, so pair these with shorts, a fun top, and a suede brown bad. I’d wear this with everything – it’s a classic, with a twist!
I tried on the Emma Cielo (Php 2,950) as well as the Kali Cinder, preferring the ballet flat over the slip-on (although it really looked good in the mirror!), as these adorable Tiffany blue ballerinas seem to go well with just about anything in my closet at anytime of the year.
I had a fun time at the debut’s pop up over the weekend, and I’m waiting for the other beautiful designs they’ll be bringing into the country soon. The brand is known for its classic ballerinas made up of 100% leather but also carries slip-ons, sandals and espadrilles of topnotch quality. 5 years into what used to be a family project, Menina Step is spreading the love all over the world through their stores in the United States, Spain, and now the Philippines.