Happy feet: how fancy slippers took over the world | Women's shoes | The Guardian

2022-03-11 08:53:02 By : Ms. Caroline Dai

Uggs, faux-shearling slides and ‘sluffers’... slippers have had a fashion makeover. Here’s how to get haute and comfy

C icero, Leonardo da Vinci and Shakespeare all thought that eyes were the windows to the soul, but with due respect to the big dogs, I beg to differ. It is shoes which tell you everything. Hype trainers worn with a bland suit; teetering heels worn in defiance of practicality; scuffed ballet pumps; haute hiking boots or polished brogues – shoes hold the clues to what you do all day and how you get there, to whether you really want to be at the party and who you are going home with.

If you are wearing secondhand New Balance 550 sneakers sourced from Depop then I know, and I mean know, that you take your flat white with plant-based milk (pea, having moved on from oat) and are considering a star-sign tattoo. No offence to these creatives, but you can’t tell that from gazing into a pair of blue eyes.

But the shoe currently worn both by anyone who is anyone and by everyone who is everyone else isn’t a “shoe” at all. Right now, it is all about slippers. In two decades of writing about every fashion trend you can imagine, I doubt I’ve ever written about slippers, but this most humble of footwear has finally left the fireside and entered the zeitgeist.

For reference, see Jennifer Lopez at LAX dressed in the modern jet-set uniform of oversized oatmeal loungewear and designer sunglasses teamed not with Nikes or Ugg boots, but with Gucci’s furry slippers. Or Kendall Jenner’s new year weekend selfies, in North Face Thermoball indoor-outdoor puffer slipper boots (also known as sluffers).

Net-a-Porter is leaning into the trend with Balenciaga’s creamy recycled faux-shearling logo-ed backless mules for £550, while Pangaia’s Jersey Sliders (£70), in a mix of recycled and organic cotton mix, come in a very non-pipe-and-slippers shade of flamingo pink. Urban Outfitters, retail’s spiritual home-from-home for Gen Z, has Ugg’s cult Fluff Yeah oversized chubby fur slippers (£60) in panther print or tie-dye. Let’s not forget either that Uggs were the shoe of choice for the late, great fashion visionary Andre Leon Talley, inside and out.

At first glance, this looks like a world which has forsaken fashion for good. Karl Lagerfeld, who thought that sweatpants were a sign of having given up on life, must be turning in his grave at how lockdown’s home comforts have left us with zero tolerance for clothing that isn’t soft and squishy. Once upon a time, supermodels wouldn’t get out of bed for less than £10,000; these days, Kendall and co insist on being swaddled in cashmere, shearling or down-filled nylon at all times. Zoom having broken the fourth wall that once separated our public-facing selves from what we wore at home, we are comfortable being seen in any old thing – as long as it’s comfortable.

But lean in a little closer, and you see that these slippers are not anti-fashion, but nu-fashion. All the major shoe trends of the past decade have been filtered into footwear you can wear when your outfit is accessorised by the telly remote rather than an evening bag. Furry shoes? They’ve been around since Phoebe Philo put fluff-lined pool sliders on the Celine catwalk in 2014, darling. Backless silhouettes? Some of us started wearing them in 2015 when Alessandro Michele did backless loafers in his first Gucci collection. JW Anderson’s cult padded crossover slides, a long-time front-row favourite, gave us the cartoonish proportions now found in flouncy high-street slippers. And what are North Face Thermoballs, if not puffer jackets for your feet? Wear your slippers with pride. Right now, they are as fashion forward as feet can get.

Styling: Make-up: Delilah Blakeney using Charlotte Tilbury. Hair: Shukeel Murtaza at Only Agency using Bumble & Bumble. Styling assistant: Peter Bevan. Models: Kimberley and Trese-San at Mrs Robinson, and Aishwarya at Body London.

Clothing: Top picture, on tiled floor, from left: marble dress, £229, whistles.com, sheepskin moccasins, £48, thesmallhome.co.uk; slip dress from a selection, rag-bone.com, two-stripes sheepskin slippers, £80, mou-online.com; animal spot skirt, £115, kitristudio.com, shearling slip-ons, £117, The Sleeper at net-a-porter.com

Sofa picture, from left: shirt, £85, withnothingunderneath.com, jumper, £125; jigsaw-online.com, jeans, £40, weekday.com, sheepskin moccasins, £48, thesmallhome.co.uk; skirt, £279, and top, £179, uk.sandro-paris.com; necklace, £90, mejuri.com, shearling slip-ons, £117, The Sleeper at net-a-porter.com; jumper, £165, and track pants, £165, ksubi.uk, blazer, £220, from a selection at samsoe.com, socks, £19, redwinglondon.com; scrunchy, £10, stinegoya.com, two-stripes sheepskin slippers, £80, mou-online.com

Stair picture: top, £75, baumundpferdgarten.com, slip dress from a selection at rag-bone.com, scrunchy, £15, itsrooper.co.uk, socks, £19.50, falke.com, Thermoball tent mules, £45, thenorthface.co.uk; animal spot skirt, £115, kitristudio.com, cardigan set, £228, thereformation.com; necklace, £180, monicavinader.com; earrings, £85, missoma.com, socks, £7.99 set of two, sockshop.co.uk, beatnik slides, £90, reebok.co.uk