Jane Winkworth

Smoking Hot! December 01st 2016

Gentleman's Smoking Slippers or Opera Slippers as they are sometimes called, were a unique fashion phenomena during the Victorian era and exclusive to the upper class and aristocratic Englishman who would have these "manly" versions of a house slipper made to order especially to match their silk, embroidered – and often quilted - smoking jackets, which would be worn on evenings that were spent at home, perhaps playing cards with friends while they enjoyed the pleasure of smoking cigars.

Competition was rife amongst gentlemen of those days in the exclusivity of their jackets, which were mostly made by their tailors from exquisite silks brought from China at the end of the great China War. The shoes, which were also made from Empire silks, were embellished with decorative motifs, bows, buttons and quilted linings to match the smoking jackets.

This style then made an entrance after spats were discarded to be worn as a black patent shoe for nights spent in dinner jackets at black tie events such as the opera or the ballet and of course are perfect for dancing in and now feature in all major luxury brand men's footwear collections for evening and formal wear.

This fashion has always intrigued me and I designed my first pair of velvet Smoking Slippers back in 1991 - with a beautiful deep navy blue quilted satin lining and a silk cord trim and with just my initials embroidered on the vamp. This shoe has continued to this day to be one of our most popular bespoke shoes at French Sole.

This Christmas, I have collated a large collection of our most popular motifs all embroidered in gold thread on deep pile, made from lusciously soft velvets with leather soles and gold heels.  My favourite shoe currently is the "Queen Bee" slipper, which (yes you guessed it) I designed for me!! 

I am definitely the Queen Bee at French Sole and we decided to make this as part of our now famous "Mummy and Me" collection and the children's version has already been a sell-out success, but we expect more to arrive any day and certainly in time for Christmas. These gold embroidered velvet slippers make the absolute perfect gift for someone you love and if your mother or loved one is the absolute "Queen Bee" in her orbit - then this collection is tailor made for her.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!

Categories: Fashion

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Charities Jane supports:

The Royal ballet school English National Ballet Starlight ACCA The Royal Marsden Havens Hospice