Tuesday, 12 December 2017

It’s time to talk about Katrinski

Women, shoes and tango; three words that go together well. To these, those living in, staying at, or visiting Buenos Aires should add a fourth - ‘Katrinskis’.

I should make it clear. This blog is inspired by shoes - with no hidden deviance or incentives to hyperbole. Katrinski is just like any other bespoke shoe maker in Buenos Aires, but better. And it is her professionalism, attention to detail, line of sight, shape and form - that makes her shoes outstanding.

Stephanie and I arrive in Gallo on the 29 colectivo and walk to Katrinski’s studio via Soler. Within seconds of pushing the bell, she is there to escort us to her first floor atelier overlooking the street. Her workbench sits just inside the door. Here are her tools: leather shears, mundial tailor scissors, nickel hammers, shoe knives, lining pliers, rasps; and the skeletons of shoes - neat heels and soles awaiting leather uppers. Ranged beneath the window are finished shoes, glistening with style and sophistication. Shoe boxes containing hidden delights mount up the wall to the left.

Over to the right is the leather-trove: a cupboard containing small rolls of the finest hides, fabrics and leathers - some bright, others shimmering. They feel soft to the fingertip, with almost an elastic stretch. They smell divine.

Katrinski (Katrin Urwitz) came to Buenos Aires from Sweden just over ten years ago. Since then she has dedicated herself to making shoes for dancers - up to 8cm heels for tango, and her famous ‘Katrinski flats’ for every occasion. In a previous blog I said that no woman should be without her Katrinskis - for the open air milonga, the time after midnight when feet in heels are exhausted, or simply to walk the city streets in style. 

A first pair of Katrinskis tango shoes constitutes a rite of passage from ‘dancer’ to ‘tanguera’. Today Stephanie selects a high open heel, double cross-over strap style in embellished nude gold. The sample are so light that they seem to float in the hand. The finished shoes will be bespoke-made in three weeks.

As we leave and walk hand-in-hand to ‘La Pharmacy’ bar I boast to Stephanie, “So that’s my Christmas shopping done”, and grin with a pleasure that only us guys will understand. “Now, who’s going to buy the coffee?”

To visit Katrinski’s Facebook page click the link

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