What's afoot? Fur! From fuzzy red stilettos to mink-lined flats, it's all kicking off

 

It might not sound practical given the British climate, but that hasn't stopped designers from decreeing that shoes should come adorned with animal pelts on the outside.

Style experts are tipping furry shoes as this year's must-wear as several fashion houses opt to trim footwear with coloured fur. Phoebe Philo, the feted British designer for Paris-based Céline, kicked off the trend in her Spring 2013 collection with a range of Muppet-evoking shoes.

The French fashion house has a selection of red, lilac or canary yellow fur-covered stilettoes for this summer, or, for those who prefer something flatter, it has mink-lined Birkenstocks-lookalikes, or "boxy flats" as it calls them. Emily Sheffield, deputy editor of British Vogue, wrote in the March issue of her "moans of pleasure" when she tried on a pair of Philo's furry creations.

Jessica Bumpus, fashion features editor at Vogue.com, said: "It's fair to say that where Phoebe Philo goes, others follow."

And follow they did, in a veritable stampede at the recent Milan shows. Fendi had fur-heeled booties for this autumn; Just Cavalli plastered red fur on knee-high boots; Marni had beaver-clad riding boots; Versace opted for fuzzy red sandal straps; and Jimmy Choo chose blue stilettoes attached to furry blue leg warmers.

Ms Bumpus added: "I think the appeal lies in the comfort factor and the slippers that Philo showed were the ultimate and luxurious take on this: slip-on Birkenstock-style sandals with a plush lavender or black insole, or super fuzzy and furry stiletto styles. They also had a great humour about them."

As well as Vogue, fashion magazines Marie Claire and In Style have featured furry shoes. In Milan, furry bands also adorned skirt hems, handbags, and even sunglasses.

As ever, it will take time for the trend to filter down to the high street. A spokeswoman for Selfridges said the department store has a "strict no-fur policy", although this does not stretch to faux fur.

Animal-rights activists yesterday sought to scotch suggestions that fur was becoming more fashionable.

"In a recent survey," said a spokesman for Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), "95 per cent of British women said they wouldn't be caught dead in real fur."

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