A Tale of Two Slippers: The Furlane or the Prince Albert? We Investigate

I remember when I unboxed my first pair of velvet slippers—which weren’t so much the comfortable, shearling-lined design I associated with the term “slipper” as they were a rigid loafer with a smartly raised vamp. They were meant to be worn strictly during formal occasions, with a strip of satin grosgrain along the back, and a hard leather sole that click-clacked with each step. The left shoe depicted an embroidered illustration of a metal screw, while the right was emblazoned with the letter U. “Screw U” they read from left to right.

Sure, they were cheeky, but I wasn’t quite sure just how to wear them. At first blush, they’re a delicate—one might even say a dainty—choice of footwear. But over time, their preciousness wore off, and they could be donned just as easily with a tuxedo as a pair of jeans. That’s why the velvet slipper has attained such cult status, maintaining a foothold on the well-heeled masses since the 19th Century. What sets them apart? They fall squarely into two camps: the Furlane and the Prince Albert slipper, each with their own loyal following.