- Key Details: Shearling, leather, and velvet slides from Italy.
- Competitors: Jil Sander Velvet Slippers ($495); Michael Kors Edie Crystal-Embellished Velvet Slippers ($175); Avec Moderation Aspen Mongolia Faux Fur and Shearling Slides ($330)
- Price: $850
- Why They're Worth It: The impression of casual, confident opulence (with a devil-may-care side of controversy)
(Bloomberg) -- By now you’ve seen the white-hot Gucci slides practically everywhere: Positioned under artfully cut-off jeans on that fashion power-player; bedecking the jet set actress who always manages to be at the best spots; supporting your stylishly platonic, male, writer friend; and too many Instagram fashion girls to count.
Their latest iteration appeared recently in an historic annal of holiday cheer—the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book—and, appropriately for winter, are lined in shearling. The Cotton Velvet “Princetown” Mule ($850) is made in Italy and available in fuchsia, teal, black.
Some fashion insiders decry these slides for looking odd and uncomfortable, but compared to Birkenstocks and Crocs and Uggs (for the fluff-lined versions), they're leagues above in elegance for all their Italian leather glory. Here, comfort and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive. This is a shoe for the aristocratic nonchalant.
They would even suit as lovely driving slippers for short distances. The long, flat top lengthens the foot; the lamb shearling at the back offsets the lack of a heel; the signature metal horse-bit across the top steadies them with a certain equestrian solemnity. I’m imagining a silent winter morning drive, in flannel pajamas and fog, to the corner store to buy coffee and a newspaper. Anything too long and you’ll feel the burn of your exposed heel pressed against the floor of the car, especially if you’re driving a manual. (And I expect you are.)
The velvet version we see here is actually among the less outré of the Princetown collection, which includes zebra-striped, heeled, and stop-sign red among the lot. The shoes also reflect their own portion of an even bigger controversy than one of simple style. When the slides first appeared on the runway during Gucci’s Fall 2015 collections, they were hemmed in wild kangaroo, a sustainable resource, but a sensitive matter for marsupial lovers, nonetheless.
Fashion bloggers and animal rights activists objected (anecdotally, I know of two women who refused to buy them, strictly on kanga-fur grounds), so Gucci leadership began to line the sole with beige-dyed lamb shearling instead. A representative from the 95-year-old brand declined to comment on exactly when the switch was made, or how it has affected sales. But no matter—the shearling looks better on these puppies anyway.