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FrontRunners: Sole of the Party

Velvet slippers were invented for entertaining. A plush and comfortable complement to evening wear, they were originally made fashionable by 19th-century aristocrats, who wore them to pad around the house during black-tie dinner parties. Lately, the slipper has made a stylish comeback as the ultra-elegant cousin of the loafer. The Tom Ford Orson tasseled loafer (www.tomford.com), a velvet slipper design from a designer especially attuned to black-tie dressing, is one of many versions of the shoe that Ford is offering this season. But for the holidays, it is hard to top the pair shown here: red velvet with black-leather piping. Each pair costs $900. The slippers are equipped with lightweight rubber soles, making them suitable to wear when entertaining in the manse or alfresco.

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