(l) Cecil Beaton in black patent leather evening pumps
(r) David Niven in velvet moccasins
So, which is it?
The velvet smoking slipper, originally designed for the Victorian gentleman's smoking room, has stepped out from the chamber and onto the Fall Winter 2009 runway. In my part of the world smoking rooms have returned. Smoking slippers and denim perhaps.
Dolce & Gabbana velvet and grosgrain moccasins
Buy them here.
The black patent leather evening pump, sometimes referred to as the opera pump, was once reserved for black tie affairs and silk socks, yet, like the velvet smoking slipper it's sashayed its way onto the Fall Winter 2009 runway.
Both the opera pump and the smoking slipper were en vogue in the 1930s. During the Great Depression men took the shoes and paired them with more casual attire, a sentiment to the dire economic situation of the time.
Fashion repeats itself.
Tom Ford black patent leather evening pump
A great history of the gentlemen's smoking costume can be read on Cigar Aficionado here.
What became of the men's pinky ring?