Summer is my favorite time of year. The brightly colored clothes, outdoor entertaining with friends and family, that easier sense of life; I am definitely a warm weather gal. However, as many of us lament the end of summer, one yearly event helps get one in the mood to face the cooler months ahead: fall fashion!
Maybe it started when Mom would take us shopping for back to school clothes. On that first day in school, we’d proudly walk back into those hallowed halls, sweating with a smile as wore what we thought would be fashionable; our preppy argyle sweaters, Gap cords, and new boots. We were just too cool for school. Now, as an adult, I stand in line at the market, joining throngs of my fellow fashionistas as we peruse the oversized fall fashion magazines. Call it guilty pleasure. Call it a way to pass the time during a dreary duty. But sooner or later, we all take a look at what fashions will coming and ask ourselves the same question: “which of these trends could I, or should I, add to my closet this year?”
While one can’t embrace every hot off the runway style, I’m happy to share one hot trend that I’ll be happily slipping into this fall…the smoking slipper! No matter what the price point, no matter who the designer, from the ultra chic stores of Fifth Avenue to your favorite low priced outlet at the local mall, take a look around; the smoking slipper, is this year’s HOTTEST shoe trend.
Thank the fashion gods, because my feet can’t bear another pair of platforms!
Wanting to dip my toe in these stylish waters, I caught up with one of the coolest fashion experts around, Ken Downing, Senior Vice President and Fashion Director for luxury retailer Neiman Marcus (below). Ken is truly connected into what’s about to blow up in the fashion world and just as enthusiastic about this season’s fashion darling, as his customers.
JSB: Why does the smoking slipper have such mass appeal?
KD: “I think women are happy when they can be fashionable in a flat shoe versus say, a platform. The smoking slipper is a very versatile shoe that can be worn with many things, so there’s a slipper out there that will appeal to everyone.
If a woman’s tired of wearing last year’s trend, the hugely popular ballet flat, the smoking slipper is a great choice as it adds immediate trend credibility to your wardrobe.”
JSB: Ken, where did the smoking slipper come from?
KD: “We’re seeing a real menswear focus this year in women’s fashion. London’s having a real moment this year with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Summer Olympics. Add in the popularity of the series “Downton Abbey” and that English classic sensibility is shaping a lot of elements. The smoking slipper is really a throw back to that classic menswear look. So similar to the boyfriend jacket, the slipper’s a classic style that’s being reinterpreted with a feminine spin for women.”
JSB: What sort of colors, materials or elements are you seeing in smoking slippers?
KD: “So many designers are doing a slipper this year. We’re seeing slippers in leather, in suede, in velvet, in printed fabric…some are decorated with jewels like baroque brooches. We’re seeing brooches as a big jewelry trend this year as well, so that fits. We’re seeing a lot with jewelry touches on them.”
JSB: Do you have a favorite slipper in Neiman’s collection this year?
KD: “Valentino has a nude smoking slipper with a black Chantilly overlay with a hint of metallic that is just lovely and so very feminine. That can be worn with so many different looks.”
JSB: Speaking of styling, how do you see women wearing this shoe?
KD: “This is a shoe that goes from coffee to cocktails. It’s very versatile, so there really is no wrong way to wear it. The natural inclination would probably be wearing with a slim leg pant like the ballet flat, but we’ve also seen many designers pairing it with a longer skirt, that goes generally to the knee or a skirt with a bit more volume to it. Also have seen some designers showing it with a chemise-like dress.
JSB: Do you see the smoking slipper trend carrying over beyond this fall, say, into resort wear and the spring?
KD: “As we come into the resort market that’s delivering in stores mid-November, we’re seeing a real return to relaxed chic. A sort of athleticism is being infused into swimwear and resort wear. A pajama pant, a couture jog pant; its a chic reimagining of a sportier look. In that mode of a relaxed spirit, going into this moment, the smoking slipper will undoubtedly continue.”
While a wide range of retailers are featuring the smoking slipper in a range of styles, colors and prices, all of the smoking slippers featured in this article, can be found at Neiman Marcus stores and online at neimanmarcus.com
Sam Edelman Alvin Leopard-Print Calf Hair Slipper – $150
Cole Haan Air Morgan Slipper – $168
Alexander McQueen Skull-Vamp Suede Belgian Loafer – $645
Jimmy Choo Wheel Glittered Smoking Slipper – $495
Valentino Caviar Crystal Lace Smoking Slipper – $695
Kate Spade New York Cassy Patent Leather Tassel Loafer – $225
Opening photo: Charlotte Olympia Charlotte Spider-Embroidered Slipper – $675