Today I'm going to review the new lolita footwear brand, Les Bourdons. This brand uses leather, so please be aware of that before we go any further. Les Bourdons translates as The Bumblebees, and is run by Nina of Lockshop Wigs.
I discovered this brand at Tea Party Club's event, Wicked and Whimsy, in August last year. The shoes on display were very beautiful, and reminded me of some featured in an old Gothic Lolita Bible that I really loved. I got chatting to Mai and Nina at the stall, who were lovely and fun to chat to. I lamented that their beautiful shoes probably wouldn't fit me, because I have large calves and struggle to find wearable boots even on the high street. Mai asked me what my shoe size was, and suggested I try on their white pair, which happened to be my size. Because they have adjustable buckles, I was able to make them fit perfectly and they looked great. I instantly fell in love with the style and followed their facebook page (none were for sale at that time).
*+:｡.｡ Details ｡.｡:+*
* Material: Leather outside, apricot leather inside
* Heel height: 7cm
* Platform height: 2cm
* Size range: EU 34-44
* Pre-order price: €120 (€30 discount) (About £105)
* In stock price: €150 (About £130)
* Possible to pay in full, or in 2 parts.
Black, Ivory, Brown, Bordeaux, Navy, Dusty Rose, Gold & Silver
Colour Selection ♥♥♥♥♥
The choice of colours is good, and suits a lot of classic lolita pieces. I decided to go for a "staple" colour, and narrowed my choice down to black, ivory, and brown. I'm not a fan of black and gold (the buckles are always gold apart from on the silver pair), and felt ivory might get dirty too quickly, so I went for brown. If I had more money, I would have bought the ivory as well. Now that I have AP's Cirque Du É'toile, the black would have worked after all. Truth be told, I'd love every colour except the metallics, so you can tell I'm a fan! I think it would be nice if they added a deep green, but I can see that colour not selling as well.
As mentioned, Mai and Nina were really lovely, and without their encouragement, I would have just assumed the shoes would not fit. They left me with a feeling that I really wanted to support their new brand. The preorders were announced on facebook, and all communication was carried out through facebook messenger. Les Bourdons was good at keeping us up to date on the process and exchanges were polite and friendly. They reply within minutes if you need to ask a question, but don't always reply on their main page. When the shoes arrived, there was no note or invoice, which I felt a shame and lacked the personal touch that had been going until that moment.
I do not feel I can fairly judge this, as when I preordered the shoes, they had only created sample designs with the factory and didn't have any in stock. The factory made a mistake with the silver shoes, which delayed production for all other colours, so the shoes should have taken 1 month to make, but ended up taking 3 months. Add to the fact the waiting list was open for 1 month, meant 4 months waiting in total if you ordered at the start like I did. However, I was not in a rush to get them and there is a chance the next round of preorders might be faster. In fact, it was quite good as I ordered them when I had a higher paying job, and they turned up on Thursday, just as I was feeling that I cannot afford really nice things at the moment. I would just bear the waiting time in mind and not plan a specific event around them. As a thank you for customers waiting a long time, they sent out free insoles with the shoes.
The shoes were packaged very carefully and arrived in a shoe bags, inside a shoe box, surrounded by foam pellets, in a mailing box, so there was no chance of them getting damaged. The box is plain with a business card taped to the front, and two extra business cards (I assume to give one to a friend). The branding on their cards is very appealing. As previously mentioned, there was no note, which would have given it the full 5/5 rating.
The shoes are as beautiful as the stock photos and the sample designs shown at Wicked and Whimsy, and I am very pleased with them. Mine are an all-over matt, brown colour, and the buckles are a gold colour. The attention to detail is very nice, as the sole features a cute ribbon. They will work nicely with classic lolita coords, or just nice dresses.
I ordered a half size up, as that is the pair I tried on at Wicked & Whimsy, so I'm not sure if they run a little small or if its just what I found to be comfortable. The tricky thing with buying shoes online is you can't always tell if they will have the right fit, and the price means they might be difficult to resell. They fit well over my calves, but I wouldn't recommend them if your lower calves are larger than about 32cm.
The shoes are SO comfortable to walk in, and the inner apricot leather is soft. They are almost like wearing slippers. Unlike most leather boots, you don't have to "wear them in" for them to be comfortable. The sole has an all-over grip, so you don't have watch your step like some brands (looking at you, Irregular Choice). I walked/stood in them all day and felt comfortable, but due to the open design, I will now save them for the Spring.
Durability & Quality (tbd)
Being made from leather, the shoes should be hard wearing and durable, but I will update this post when they have seen more wear.
You get a €30 discount if you preorder, which was what tempted me to get them. If the discount wasn't there, I probably would have waited to see other reviews and buy them once in stock. However, I'm glad I did preorder, as right now they only have two colours and two sizes in stock. I was able to split the cost over two payments, which I decided to do. For £105, the cost seems pretty steep if these were just off-the-shelf, but the fact it is an indie brand using quality materials, attention to detail, and comfort, it is a good price, and reflective of similar shoes on the high street. I usually buy boots in the sale, so although I have footwear above this value, I usually pay less for them.
Overall Score ♥♥♥♥♡
I love the 3 Strap Victorian Booties, and I'm very interested to see if Les Bourdons comes out with more designs. I wouldn't feel right giving them the full 5/5 due to waiting time and price, but I still feel both those areas are reasonable, and I would shop with them again if I could. I think these will be very popular, and I already know a lot of people that bought them in the bordeaux and gold colours. They are doing another preorder in February, and you can find their facebook page here. I don't think you will regret buying these, just be aware that they might take a few months to get to you.