|Christian Louboutin studded, velvet slippers.|
Embroidered velvet slippers were an elegant accessory for men throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Think Prince Albert and the Victorian era. Each hand-made design was a sentimental gesture by young ladies, showing their men how well they could sew. Fashionable as eveningwear, the flat-soled shoe proved a more comfortable alternative to fancy heels. The cost of velvet signified wealth and prestige and the slipper was seen as an intimate garment as it was worn so delicately and more often in the bedroom.
Clark Gable, ‘The King of Hollywood’ and an icon of the 1950’s brought the slippers new popularity; of course he would only wear them with socks and a shirt of the same colour. Not forgetting Winston Churchill and Noel Coward, both known for wearing the slipper during the same period.
Influential shoe designer Emma Hope emerged in the 1980’s creating luxurious shoes of velvet in rich colours, which she described as ‘Regalia for feet.’ Following the tradition of the slippers’ monogrammed toe, her famous black velvet shoes were also embroidered, but with the ‘Black Goddess’ of cabaret, Josephine Baker. Similarly shaped to the traditional velvet slipper but with a heel, they were for women who liked to make a statement.
The unisex footwear has been up and down the catwalk recently with Tom Ford and Dolce and Gabbana, both keeping the traditional appearance to the simple slipper. They have been modelled with heavy clothing, skinny jeans, shorts and dresses, suiting a range of attire. Crockett and Jones have taken a Christopher Kane-style slant by adding floral embroidery and décor to their reinvention of the traditional slipper.
Pharell Williams and Kanye West's stylist Cassius Clay are among the influential faces wearing the slippers today. They have a more ‘rock n roll’ feel, designed with a skull and cross bones as opposed to the traditional crown or monogram seen before, never the less smart casual is the new fashion, taking comfort into consideration of course.