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Loafing Around

Fashion News
The now iconic fur trimmed Gucci slippers.

By Jessica Michault

Stylish yet a little louche, the dress slipper—or smoking slipper as it is sometimes called—is an item that evokes images of rakish “Hugh Hefner” types found hanging around the fireplace with a whiskey in their hand and smoking cigar clenched in their teeth. But thanks to brands like Gucci, Giuseppe Zanotti and Charlotte Olympia the slipper is giving the slip to these tired old tropes.

This distant descendant of the court shoe started its fashionable ascent as an indoors only item in Victorian times, after Prince Albert, the Queen’s consort, commissioned his shoemaker to create something refined for him to slip on when indoors, in place of his boots.

The shoes feature a notched fabric upper—traditionally made of velvet—that enclose the foot and leaves plenty of room for embellishments such as embroideries. Well-to-do gentlemen wear them to entertain formally at home and would usually match them to their tuxedos. Returned to popularity with the preppy set in the 1990s by Stubbs & Wootton, the evening slipper continues to be an option for black-tie occasions for men and beyond.

This easy to slide footwear, which simultaneously look more luxurious and relaxed and come with just the right amount of insouciance, are now appealing not just to men of all ages but women too.

The slipper has become an alternative to the ubiquitous ballet flat, and is now seen as a timeless staple of any chic wardrobe. A number of top fashion editors have been spotted wearing the fur-trimmed slippers that Alessandro Michele designed in his debut collection for Gucci.

Giuseppe Zanotti likes to cover his slippers in everything from bejeweled skulls to shark teeth, and Charlotte Olympia has come up with a strikingly novel slipper concept that keeps on giving. Her perennially popular “Kitty slippers,” have a diehard following. Renewed every season in an array of colors and seasonally themed variations, Olympia’s slippers have become fashion collectables.


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