September 21 2011
Bespoke online sounds like a contradiction in terms, but Penelope Chilvers’ new Dandy velvet slippers come as close as we’re likely to get. The shoe designer best known for her handmade and fitted boots – including the tasselled style beloved of the Duchess of Cambridge – understands all aspects of detail and fit and has taken everything into consideration to make this as nearly as possible a foolproof system, as well as keeping it simple with one basic style. It is technically customisation, because the slippers are made on a wide range of standard half-sizes (for men and women, 35-46), but the choice of detail is so huge that the chances of customers picking the same combination are slim.
The Dandy is a classic velvet slipper with an elegant toe line and a low heel that has the traditional detail of a sliced-off front corner to prevent trouser hems catching as you walk. Size is crucial, and here Chilvers helps with a printout size chart on which to place your foot. As the site is interactive, you then work the design by playing with colour combinations on a visual template of the shoe. There are 10 velvet colours – from classic black or navy to topical purple, ochre or moss green – 10 shades of leather lining and 20 colours of grosgrain ribbon-edge trim, including extrovert hot pink and fluorescent yellow. You can then monogram the slipper with one of five embroidered designs or up to three initials, placed as you wish and in gold, black or silver.
The one drawback (if you can call it that) is that such a range of details makes choosing difficult. So pour a drink, relax and prepare to take time designing, because it is surprisingly difficult to find a combination that really doesn’t work – it depends more on the mood you want your slipper to create. Anyone with queries over size or colour can contact Chilvers’ studio direct; they will send out velvet swatches and a sample-size shoe. The slippers take about four to six weeks to make and cost £350, and orders are now being taken.