Embroidery or Gold Work
Although a plain front velvet slipper is unassumingly perfect for the intended wearer, the fine work of embroidery is not to be overlooked, and can be appreciated on the vast majority of our Slipper Collection. The technique is called “Gold Work”. It is thought to have originated in China and spread westwards along the silk route to the Middle East and Europe. There are a number of stitching techniques, but it specifically involves a very fine filament of gold or silver wire, which is tightly wound around a metal spike. This creates a long “spring” with a hollow centre. This particular embroidery technique can only be done by hand as each “bead” is cut and stitch specifically to create each design.
It is generally agreed that the style was named after Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert. Developed in early 1800’s as an attractive and practical indoor shoe, worn to protect expensive rugs and wooden floors that adorned the gentry’s palaces and grand homes of England, from dirt and grime. The development of the Albert Slipper coincided with the fashion of wearing a smoking jacket. Described in the Gentlemen’s Magazine of London in the 1850s, as a kind of short robe de chambre, of velvet, cashmere or printed flannel and lined with bright colours. Albert Slippers are generally made of velvet or silk, the upper is usually a whole cut and are fully quilt lined, featuring decorative (Sometimes tongue in cheek) embroidery on the toe.