The favored casual footwear of 1950s style icons like Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren, ballet slippers got an added dose of sex appeal once Brigitte Bardot donned a pair and was photographed kicking up her nonheels—literally. Over the past few seasons, the slipper has resurfaced on style setters like Kate Moss and such fashionable starlets as Sienna Miller and Mischa Barton. Even Hollywood heavyweights, like Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez, have been spotted everywhere from movie premieres to the grocery store opting for the low-key look.
Chanel, whose hand-sewn shoes take more than two days and 100 steps to make, based its classic two-tone flats on the beige-and-black pumps Coco designed to elongate the appearance of the leg. Now available in countless color combinations, they're sharing the spotlight with brands like Delman and Azzedine Alaïa. And while the traditional quilted suede and toe bows are as popular as ever, embellished adaptations are gaining traction. London Sole, a celebrity favorite, stocks in excess of 400 options, using fanciful materials like glitter and faux snakeskin. New classics include versions from Tod's with rubber soles and an elasticized edge, as well as Tory Burch, whose popular Reva style has generated wait lists of up to 200 people.