Why Razak pickled a pointe shoe for the Australian Ballet

Australian Ballet Swan Lake

One of my earliest memories is dressing up to see the Shanghai Ballet Company perform Swan Lake, just my mother and I. Even as a little girl, I was entranced. Despite having not a clue about the story line until after I went home and read the program, I fell in love with Swan Lake.

Fast forward to last weekend, when I got the chance to meet the key ballerinas in the Australian Ballet's performance at the Adelaide Town Hall. It's funny how the new perspective as an adult jolted me into reality - I was shocked at how young the ballerinas all were! When you're a six-year-old gazing up at dancers in pretty dresses, 18 is veritably ancient.

Razak ballet flat

Preserved Pink Pointe?!

As part of the night, 38 Australian designers were commissioned to customise their own ballet flats for auction. Akira Isogawa, Perri Cutten (below), Sass & Bide, and Michelle Leslie of Bali drug fame put their skills to work to raise money for the Friends of the Australian Ballet.

 As you might expect, most were drowned in lace, crystals and silk, but South Australian label Razak presented a pickle jar (left). Naturally, Razak Mohammed, the man behind the label, was the talk of the evening, so I talked to him about why the hell he'd pickle a shoe. His answer was typical of the cute humour we're used to from the store he runs with Joff Chappell, Miss Gladys Sym Choon.

"Very late in my life I tried to do jazz ballet. I was 16 or 17. I thought I couldn't do it, my feet were killing me...

"When I was asked to do this it took a long process to think about it. Then I was cooking one night and I thought oh my god, why don't I pickle the shoes!

"It's a way of saying to people that ballerinas kill their feet, so you should appreciate them more."


Perri Cutten ballet flat
Crystal Couture ballet flat