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Slippers Do a Whimsical Soft-Shoe

The Velvet Footwear That Is so Hot in Palm Beach Is Making Its Way to an L.A. Trunk Show

June 11, 1998|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's a snob thing, an acquired taste, if you will, by way of generations of upper-crust East Coast types. In Palm Beach, Fla., men wear velvet slippers--without socks--day and night, with tuxedos, and with white flannel trousers and blue blazers (the local uniform).

Percy Steinhart wears them with shorts.

"It's like wearing thongs on Venice Beach," he explains.

The only problem was the slippers were, frankly, boring. Enter Steinhart, Cuban-born creator of Stubbs & Wootton (named for his favorite English sporting painters), who put a twist on the old standard by creating slippers in a rainbow of velvet shades and decorated with such whimsical images as fly-fishing flies, topiaries, Ming vases and El Nino-inspired toppled palm trees.

The slippers are also available in antique paisley, needlepoint and sisal. Women wear them too (with their Lilly Pulitzers). The slippers, as well as similarly styled women's mules, are only available at Stubbs & Wootton shops in Palm Beach, Southampton, N.Y., and Manhattan.

However, for the first time, the shoes will travel to Los Angeles for a two-day trunk sale Friday and Saturday at Hollyhock, the Hancock Park antique and country store.

"They're cult shoes," says Hollyhock's Suzanne Rheinstein. "As far as I'm concerned, there are Belgians, Manolos, Stubbs & Woottons and nothing else."

Prices range from $150 to $200 for men and women's velvet shoes (paisleys are $300). Custom designs with monograms, family crests, pets, yacht club burgees or whatever else impresses your friends are $400 to $500.

Hollyhock is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 214 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 931-3400.

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