What… Velvet Slippers

Why… Because a bespoke service means you can create your own timeless classic

Velvet smoking slippers have made a resurgence. Inspired by classic menswear, this versatile shoe can be dressed up or down for evening or daytime. And right now, we're really digging those created by Penelope Chilvers.

Smoking slippers first gained popularity in the 1800s as at-home entertaining footwear for the English leisure class. Though Yves Saint Laurent’s 1966 “Le Smoking” tuxedo collection really made them vital in a woman's wardrobe: think  less Hugh Hefner puffing a cigar and more Marlene Dietrich arching an eyebrow.

There was a smoking slipper renaissance in the 90s as the shoe was reimagined by Tom Ford's Gucci as evening wear. Now, Penelope Chilvers’ Dandy Slippers offer a new twist on the storied accessory. Named after Oscar Wilde’s legendary wardrobe decadence and personal self-indulgence, they are fittingly embroidered with the most luscious of gold thread.

You can create your own pair by choosing through a multitude of fabrics - linen, suede or velvet in a spectrum of colours from the most vibrant of pinks to muted taupe - with the choice of grosgrain and calfskin lining. Easy to slip on and off, the soft linings mean they can be worn with or without socks.

The filigree emblems are inspired by a visit to the Parisian archive and have recently been updated, mixing modern and classic styling. They include a whippet, a hunting dog jumping through a French horn, a palm tree, acorns with oak leaves, a horse, a chain-linked horseshoe, a lobster, a fiddle, a scallop shell and a crown. Alternatively, Penelope Chilvers offers a bespoke embroidery service at her store in Mayfair where the slippers can be monogrammed with up to three initials. 

Of all people Oscar Wilde knew that a little (well, maybe a lot of) personal embellishment never hurt. He once declared that “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art”. Following in his footsteps these twinkly-toed slippers, described as the “perfect blank canvas on which to create a bespoke masterpiece”, are a pretty fun place to start.

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