Stubbs & Wootton, best known for embroidered slippers worn by the well-heeled men of Palm Beach and the Hamptons, has piqued the attention of the fashion set thanks to recent collaborations with men’s designers.
This story first appeared in the September 15, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
During New York Fashion Week, those collaborations have been on display on the runways of Michael Bastian and Commonwealth Utilities, both of which partnered with the shoemaker to create contemporary versions of the slippers originally popular in Edwardian times.
“We’ve been around for years but suddenly there was this interest this season,” said Stubbs founder and owner Percy Steinhart. “It’s just good timing. Everything is preppydom again and the younger, edgier set is looking for footwear like this.”
For his runway show on Monday night, Bastian created seven different slippers in fabrics that worked back to the collection’s Latin-inspired clothing, including an opera pump in zebra-print pony hair, a slipper in gray serge with a seagull print, a ecru linen model and a denim slipper embroidered with a sun based on the Argentinian flag.
The shoes, what Bastian called “contemporary remakes of a men’s wear classic,” were updated by elongating the toe and using a higher vamp than Stubb’s traditional model.
“We wanted something dressier for this show,” said Bastian, whose previous collection for the runway used hiking boots for the rugged, outdoor-inspired looks. “A modern slipper seemed perfect for this collection. They have an old-world feel but dressed the proper way seem contemporary too.”
Bastian’s designs for Stubbs & Wootton become available today for special order at the company’s Madison Avenue store. They start at $600.
Commonwealth Utilities designer Anthony Keegan said the slippers have found new currency with the fashion crowd amid the trend for styles that blend high and low, and casual and formal.
“I like the idea of taking this uptown shoe and pairing it with downtown looks,” said Keegan, who worked with Steinhart to create espadrilles in suiting fabric and canvas slippers for his show runway show on Sunday. “So often men’s footwear is about function and utility. But these are so expressive; it’s a different aesthetic.” After a positive reaction at the show, Keegan said he may make a few of the styles available by special order.
“These shoes look great as long as you don’t wear them so obviously,” explained Keegan. “You can’t do the head-to-toe Hamptons look. It’s about a cut-off jean, a cool T and espadrilles. Makes it less Park Avenue; more Thompson Square Park.”