You might think it premature, but Jingle Bell Rock is blaring through Selfridges, Claridge’s have rolled out their frosted Christmas tree display, the road partition on Regent Street is crammed with folk trying to get an Instagram photograph under the light up angels (side note: London’s chicest investment, bar none) and festive invitations are filling up our DMs.
With invites comes dress codes. A word of advice for men at any festivities this season: you can't go wrong with the added zhuzh provided by a smart pair of velvet slippers, be that for black tie or smart casual soirées. Don’t shudder: I am talking less Prince William’s aeroplane-embroidered Top Gun premiere pair, more rakish, Oscar Wilde adjacent elegance.
The style has hit Hollywood; Euphoria and Saltburn's Jacob Elordi made a convincing case for the style in his GQ Men of the Year cover story, which sees him in various states of undress (channeling Yves Saint Laurent) in Roger Vivier court shoes, Manolo Blahnik white pumps and Armando Cabral leather slide slippers. All tempting options. Meanwhile in London, the new party set is smit. Madonna’s son Rocco Ritchie is hardly ever out of a pair, much like his friends artist Isaac Benisgon and photographer Robin Hunter Blake. All are partial to Church’s classic crown logo velvet loafers, but it is Savile Row's bespoke shoemaker Arthur Sleep that has their heart.
“It doesn’t get more elegant than a velvet slipper,” says Jahangir Azam, co-founder of Arthur Sleep. “We offer two handmade lasts (shapes) a house silhouette almond toe and a squarer toe, all with a very cushioned quilted lining,” he says.
For those looking for a special touch: “Our in-house illustrator draws up a monogram, family crest or any bespoke design for our opera pumps and velvet slippers. We can make them start to finish within a week,” he continues.
Another other society staple is Baudoin & Lange, who specialise in short-tonged loafers. “We have invented a construction that incorporates the benefits of goodyear welting while retaining the sleek elegance of an evening slipper,” says Allan Baudoin, the creative director, and co-founder at Baudoin & Lange. “I would recommend on one end of the formal spectrum a very dark navy mohair tuxedo (navy reflects light best and is more elevated than black) and on the other end simply raw selvedge jeans with a white shirt and navy cashmere and silk blazer.” A sumptuous slipper: welcome at all occasions.
Baudoin’s styles start at £390. For more affordable options look to Ralph Lauren (£235), Russell and Bromley (£245) and Moss (£59.95).