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Chips Off the Old Moc

July 18, 1996|MIMI AVINS

For a long time, colorful, flat-soled driving shoes with the J.P. Tod label were only the province of the well-heeled. But their popularity has spawned a number of mock mocs.

The originals were created by Italian shoe designer Diego Della Valle in 1979 to help Fiat auto magnate Gianni Agnelli grip an accelerator. He took to wearing the patent leather versions with his tuxedo. Although J.P. Tods now come in more than 150 styles and more than 100 colors, including chartreuse crocodile and brown and white pony skin, the simple brown leather moccasin with studded rubber bottom is still the bestseller at Della Valle's four American boutiques, including one in Beverly Hills, as well as at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

Princesses Diana and Caroline, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, Brad Pitt and Henry Kissinger have been snapped by paparazzi in their soft, comfy slip-ons. "The other day I was on the Concorde, and I saw 10 ladies wearing J.P. Tods," Della Valle said. If there were impostors in that group, he'd be qualified to spot them.

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