January 13 2010
Lucia van der Post
Men’s monogrammed velvet slippers seem to come from the reassuring world of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, a more leisurely era when there was time for lounging about in front of roaring fires. But slipping into something more comfortable than a laced-up Oxford at the end of the day clearly has its charms, and Hayat Palumbo, through her Tapisserie shop in London’s Walton Street, has come up with another version – the hand-worked tapestry slipper.
For some time, she has been offering her customers a chance to choose or design their own pattern, which they can either sew themselves, or which the shop will finish for them. (For those who want to do the embroidery themselves and don’t know how, Tapisserie will organise one-on-one lessons for £30 a time.) She then gets the cobbler George Cleverly to form them into a slipper, using one of his standard lasts. At £385 it makes a special present, for the design can be as particular or as personal as one chooses – anything from a monogram to a dog, a coat of arms, a heart, a fish; or an abstract design could be drawn up by the in-house designer.
If you are seeking something even more bespoke, you can now turn to the distinguished shoemaker John Lobb and have the tapestry made into an entirely bespoke slipper. It takes some six months in all, so you need to plan ahead, but you can ask for any design you fancy. At £1,800-£2,000 a time this doesn’t come cheap because John Lobb needs to make a bespoke last (for customers who already have their own lasts, it will cost much less).
For those who are in despair over gift ideas for their nearest and dearest, here is something that would speak of love and care. It’s what Hayat Palumbo calls “a gift for life”.