By Belgian Dandy
Founded in Palm Beach, Florida in 1993 by Mr. Percy Steinhart
Stubbs & Wootton is specialized in luxury men's slippers & espadrilles designed so they can be worn from early in the day to late into the night, all seasons. The slippers look as good with jeans when strolling in the city as with a tuxedo on a VIP-event.
So is this cult shoe a new thing ? No, it is defintively not !
So is this cult shoe a new thing ? Yes, it defintively is !
Sounds weird doesn't it ? Well, do read on and find out why. Belgian Dandy will explain !
What's a slipper ?
The word 'slipper' was first recorded in England (Great Brittain) as early as in 1478. It came from the much older verb to slip, indicating, of course, a kind of footwear is "slipped" onto the foot. In the Victorian era, the traditional British slipper became extremely popular and was called 'the Albert slipper', named after Prince Albert. Their nickname was 'Prince Alberts'.
"Screw You" by Stubbs & Wootton
The Prince Albert is worn around the house, often with black tie, but in modern times it's sometimes worn informally outside. The velvet or Prince Albert slipper was originally worn by the English elite for black tie affairs, i.e. sitting down to several courses of dinner and drinks with friends and colleagues of the same standing.
Stubbs & Wootton 'Nightenday'
As times changed and people began to entertain outside the home, the slippers followed them to the clubs and smoking rooms of London. Their venerable footwear would be paired with coordinating suits or smoking jackets for an impeccably tailored look hopefully accented with a monocle if any stereotypically British movie proves to be true. That's what we find on the internet. Yeah, right !!!
"Fxxx Yxx" by Stubbs & Wootton
So the'Prince Albert'slipper, here it is: In a long gone era when the streets in London and England weren't paved yet, when men wore black leather knee high boots to withstand the torture of mud, horseback riding, mounting carriages, hunting down foxes, deer and rabbits. When the streets were actually the sewers of the cities and villages.
Stubbs & Wootton for J-Crew
There was this prince, named Albert, the husband of Britain’s Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837-1901, who didn't want to enter his mansion/castle and drag in all the filth of the streets. So he commissioned his shoemaker to create a comfortable shoe he could 'slip on' when arriving at his home. He just wanted to keep the filth out, and wear something more comfortable in-the-house.
Absolutely nothing fashionable about that. But a logic sense of decency, and respect for materials: He just didn't want to ruin his precious hand-layed parquet, hand-woven silk carpets etc. And,... he wanted to look more elegant and sophisticated around-the-house !
So what did Percy Steinhart do then to create and start Stubbs & Wootton ?
Mr. Percy Steinhart, being a visionary at the time, was working at Citicorp in the 1990s (now Citigroup) as an executive, when he says, "I saw something happening in Palm Beach, all of my friends were wearing these velvet evening slippers. I thought I could do something more diverse, and more whimsical with it." So he didn't take the idea for granted and brainstormed about it.
He came up with a great idea in his head. So he researched, defined, and researched again, untill he found a factory that would make the quirky velvet slippers he envisioned with emblems ranging from funny harlequins to aristocatic inspired crests to the well-known skulls, in La Mancha, Spain, and finally, in 1993 Stubbs & Wootton saw the light of day ! Stores in Palm Beach, New York City, and the Hamptons (preppy-heaven) soon followed.
Mr. Percy Steinhart
Needlepoint slippers ?
After a while the collection got extended to include needlepoint slippers. As Percy Steinhart says : "I wanted to recreate the slippers Edwardian country women used to needlepoint for their husbands", bags and handbags, espadrilles and mules".
"I looked at the classic men's stores like Brooks Brothers and what they were doing at the time, and I knew I was on to something. There is only a finite group that want to be wearing the Prince of Wales crest." From the start he was well aware he had to be original to be different.
Where does his inspiration come from ?
They might come from anything and anywhere. A small detail might set it off, looking at a design, or a meeting. As Percy Steinhart says: "Seeing a certain embroidery on the street, ironwork, Scottish royalty, dragons - a lot of it is just spur of the moment inspiration." Stubbs & Wootton is what everyday life is all about...
So where does the name come from ?
When you hear the name, it makes you think and feel it's a traditional British heritage brand. Percy Steinhart borrowed the last names of two of his favourite 18th-century English artists, Mr George Stubbs and Mr John Wootton, both are specialised in painting scenes of gentlemanly sporting pursuits. Ain't that fitting for a brand that deals in masculine elegance and sophistication ?
Bespoke Stubbs & Wootton for the release of 'True Prep' by lisa Birnbach
So why does the contemporary gent needs Stubbs & Wootton velvet loafers of slippers ?
Let's cut the crap and make it short and 'to-the-point':
- They go brilliantly with a tuxedo, with shorts, and with everything in between: "They may be worn at all times - with shorts and jeans to tweeds, blazers, suits and of course dinner clothes. They work from day into dawn.
- They are unconsciously self-conscious.
Stubbs & Wooton Skull & Sabre design
- These slip-on's positively exudes raffish charm and will defintively ensure that you stay a step ahead of your sartorially switched-on cohorts. Bear in mind that you can wear them wantonly and you just may be a hit. We at Belgian Dandy consider it quite safe to assume these Stubbs & Wootton shoes have veered away from the halls of formality and are hurtling down an avenue of nearly hubristic proportions.These fine Stubbs & Wootton loafers or slippers will give every look that aristocratic air.
- The style Stubbs & Wootton has been sporting enjoys a revival due to its eternally louche appeal.
- Have you ever considered the Hugh Hefner look when he's sporting them around the Playboy Mansion ? ( He has the babes and ... The Grotto !)
- These S&W's are truly elegant, yet quirky.
Steinhart took great pains to grow the niche brand among a younger age set. "We've really been working hard to reach out to a younger population," he says. "I hear a lot of, 'If my grandmother or mother would wear it, I don't want to wear it.' I was in the store recently and there was this 15-year-old girl who got a pair. She told her mother, 'You can't buy these now.'" Steinhart's efforts to reach a younger customer seem to be working. Kanye West is rumored to have a closet full of Stubbs (even wearing a pair to the CFDA awards in June). Leandra Medine, otherwise known as the Man Repeller regularly blogs about them. And collaborations with Michael Bastian and Marc Jacobs in recent years have helped to broaden their appeal.
Conclusion 1: Stubbs & Wootton: They rock and are a brand to follow !
Conclusion 2: When following trends and hypes in Europe and Belgium, people get the notice that they are female shoes. Just an evolution on the '"ballerina's". Well, they aren't. they are male shoes. Women just got on to the bandwagon....
Percy, you rock ! More information on www.stubbsandwootton.com
In addition to the 30+ varieties of slipper and 5 pair of espadrilles (a flat-heeled shoe made with a rope and/or rubber sole), the Stubbs & Wootton website offers a bespoke section that allows you to create your own custom pair of slippers. Choose your desired shoe type, fabric, trim, and then take your pick of custom embroidery from almost 50 designs. If you'd like more of a personal touch to your slipper, you can add a monogram instead of an embroidery. Choose from machine thread stitching, or wire stitching - hand stitched embroidered monograms in silver and 18 carat gold wire.
- They're very sophisticated. They'll look as nice worn casual, as being worn more dressed.
- The velvet feels soft and luxurious, almost like mole-skin. Extra-ordinary !
- The finish and detailing is exceptional (the inside as well as the outside).
- The embroidery is very detailed, and has a perfect finish. No loose threads whatsoever.
- The inside leather lining is very fine and soft. No stitches found that might irritate you. Feel very comfortable at your feet. definitively a quality for high-end shoes. But we weren't expecting less.
- If you get the right size, they'll fit you like a glove. With an extra-ordinary feeling of comfort.
- In mainland Europe, especially Blgium, people are not accustomed to those kind of shoes. You'll get looks. Some might think you're wearing house-slippers. The more developped ones look at the sole and recognise them as shoes. Don't worry. The ignorant will get over it. And if they don't, well, its on the shoes with the screw....
- Crafted by hand to extreme quality: It's noticed !
- After being popular for ages in the US, following tarditions and heritage in the UK, now they're finally hitting European mainland. Mostly trendy as womens-shoes now (because they think they're an evolution on the 'ballerina's'). The original men's version is still hard to find. But if you visit www.stubbsandwootton.com , it'll be a lot easier.
- You'll get lots of looks. You cannot wear them unnoticable. But hey, you should already know that. thety add to your bold look.
- Enough extravert, funny and creative embroidery designs available to distinguish yourself.
- Womens collection is also available and large enough for even the most discerning woman.
Are they cult shoes ?
- No, they are not: They've been there for ages. And worn for ages (Cfr. Hugh Hefner from Playboy Magazine-)
- Yes, they are: Now finally being hyped in Europe, we can only hope the'll stay !
- And when going for a hype, go for the best, go for S&W !
- And if it's not a hype, and they stay (as we expect), you're already with the best !