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The Rise and Fall of the Men’s Slipper

Sometimes the fashion world ruins things.

It happened to Chuck Taylors. It happened to the espadrille. And now, it’s happening to the slipper.

Just a year ago, things looked so promising. The velvet slipper was one of the prime items of a 19th-century gentleman’s wardrobe—and since it was comfortable as hell, it seemed ripe for a revival. It was a charming eccentricity, the kind of thing that could elevate a homebody’s Sunday afternoon.

And then, of course, Louboutin had to get involved.

That means studded leather slippers like the ones pictured, or the Jimmy Choo version in “porno camo” that was feted by the Times this week. Naturally, these are all designers who cut their teeth on high heels, and they’re pouring the same dandyish excess onto what used to be an understated item.

It goes without saying that these shoes are terrible. You’ve got eyes; you already know. But more than that, they’ve ruined the velvet slipper for everyone. It was pretty risky from the beginning, but now anyone who wears them out will be conjuring up images of runway shows instead of retired British admirals. It’s a shame.

But you can keep the pipe.