Slipping into Something more Comfortable…
Duke & Dexter are bringing outdoor pizazz to the slipper – a shoe that in many ways should be a natural extension of the loafer
Article by Nicolas Payne-Baader
Apart from possibly sock suspenders or sweater vests – or maybe those v neck sweaters which have a bit of shirt sewn in to the top of them – there are few items of men’s clothing as oft maligned as the slipper. With the great British tradition of good shoe making combined with the equally great British tradition of poor draft proofing, the slipper really should have a more revered place in our national psyche. However more often than not, and this is perhaps driven more by the fairer sex, slippers tend to synonymous with old age and somehow giving up on life.
Not so everywhere; there has been a mini revival in the slipper’s fortunes over the past few years with the Pitti peacocks and the Neopolitan sprezzatura crowds slowly venturing back into a shoe that in many ways should be a natural extension of the loafer. A few companies have come along and tried to nail the perfect intersection of something essentially made for the bedroom but in an itineration that looks acceptable and practical for town. In the main these companies have come around with designs a bit flouncy for every day – more flocked wallpaper than elegant gentleman.
However, there is progress with Duke & Dexter making an impressive fist of it. With several well-dressed celebrity fans including Eddie Redmayne who went to pick up his Oscar this year wearing a pair and everyone’s favourite hard to tell if he’s thin or not celebrity Jonah Hill being counted as a fan, D & D as they are affectionately known have entered the market with a far fresher approach than the opposition.
Mainly foregoing stylistic tropes such as initialled velvets (it’s only cool if it’s your coat of arms), everyone has initials and if you can’t remember them you have bigger problems to worry about than your shoes. Instead D & D have concentrated on interesting, contemporary materials and creating something much closer to a loafer in wear-ability than anyone else has managed to come up with.
The highlight of their new collection is a pair of black velvet slippers with a beautifully embroidered Cheetah across the back. Just the right side of subtle and ideally suited to black tie the pair also has the positive aspect of 10 per cent of the profit from every shoe being donated to a the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a charity that has done a huge amount of work trying to combat multiple issues that have seen the Cheetah population drop by 90 per cent since 1900.
Slippers are no longer the only item on the D & D quest for footwear domination. Their first foray into other styles of shoe has resulted in a rather natty Chelsea boot. “We just felt it was the right time to expand but still stick to our principles of innovating on the conventional” comments founder Archie Hewlett, “the Chelsea boot, being such a quintessentially British shoe, seemed the next logical step,” . Elegantly shaped and made in Sheffield in an 80 year old family workshop, should you need something a trifle warmer than your slippers to see off the Pitti peacocks, these should be right up your street.