By Jennifer White
"I HAVE BEEN WEARING SLIPPERSsince I was a teenager," Percy "We started making needlepoint slippers," Percy explains. "In
Steinhart remarks casually.What else would one expect from the Edwardian England as well as the states, the streets were muddy and
mastermind behind the exclusive, upscale Stubbs&Wootton, where dusty, and people didn't wear shoes inside the house. You get home,
embroidered velvet slippers can have a waiting list of over one year. take off your booties, and your wifewould needlepoint you slippers,
After working at a private bank for 15 years, Percy's sharp career which you wore in the house. So I decided to find needlepoint by
change was sparked by an increase in job-related travel, and ignited the yard and made them available for people without the burden of
by a simple enjoyment of the footwear he began wearing at age 17. having to hand needlepoint them."
"I was in Palm Beach one Thanksgiving, and I noticed that Percy's management of the company is anything but
all my friends wore velvet slippers, as we had forever. At the static. Despite the success of Stubbs&Wootton's trademark
time, there were only a couple of places where you could get needlepoint and velvet slippers, Percy knew staying ahead of
them off the rack, and the alternative was to get them custom the times and trends is key. The line expanded to include
made in England. However, they were all pretty boring - you wedges forwomen, and the last few years have shown consistent
have Prince of Wales plumes, a fox head, or a crown - so I popularity for the brand's espadrilles. The shoes, while not
decided it was time to make them, and make them more the signature items of Stubbs&Wootton, are nevertheless
whimsical and more fun," he explains. unmistakable in quality and originality.
"I spent about a year in Europe getting it together, and Another ingredient in the success of Stubbs&Wootton,
most people didn't get it," he laughs. "I originally was going Percy feels, is the edginess they bring to a conservative and
to sell it to people like Brooks Brothers, but they basically traditional accessory.
laughed at me, even though they sold one or two of the more "I'm working with Geoffrey'S because it is what is happening
common ones." with fashion in New York. Velvet slippers are not only for the more
Eventually, Percy spoke to a close friend who now owns conservative clientele anymore; we're getting a lot of younger
Geoffrey's in New York. Intrigued by the idea, Percy was given customers with our edgier stuff. We do have a very conservative
a chance, with only one condition: add a women's line. product, but we have to be ahead of the next trend," he says.
After a successful season with buyers at Bergdorf Goodman His clientele includes a number of well-known names:
and Neiman Marcus, Percy opened a store off Worth Avenue. George Bush, Pope John Paul II, Prince Rainier III of Monaco,
The success that followed his first season in Palm Beach inspired Princesses Caroline and Stephanie Rainier, Susan Sarandon,
him to discontinue his wholesale distribution and open a second Gloria Estefan, Carlos Santana, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie,
store in a basement in Bridgehampton, which subsequently led to Oprah Winfrey, and Barbara Walters, to name a few.
the store in Southampton. The custom-made designs set the slippers apart from the
Eventually, Percy was inspired again, this time through a typical ones found in Harrod's. And Percy is not stopping
desire for comfort and old-world charm. there. He's already looking for the next trend. p--<-<¥,
Photographs Courtesy of Stubbs&Wootton SOCIAL AFFAIRS 109