Image: Instagram @balenciaga

We’re at the pointy end of fashion week—the last few days of Paris, where the biggest shows are debuting in rapid succession. There’s an overload of beautiful clothes, and it can be a challenge for designers to make a statement that stands out from all the (exquisitely tailored) noise. Balenciaga, under the helm of Georgian phenom Demna Gvasalia, always manage to do just that. Last season it was the post-apocalyptic rave set, the season before it was that *that* gold dress. This year? It’s the heeled hotel slipper.

No stranger to a cult accessory (he made his name spinning DHL tees and BIC lighter-heeled boots into fashion gold at Vetements after all), Gvasalia really pushed the boat out this season, with the creation of fluffy kitten mules, clearly inspired by the kind of complementary slippers you receive at mid-priced hotels and spas. The shoes featured prominently throughout the collection, flat for men, heeled for women, available in white or a bold shade of crimson, emblazoned with the Balenciaga logo.

Image: Balenciaga

Call us fashion tragics, but we are wholly on board with this trend. After six months spent largely housebound, I have long felt that women need a ‘in between’ period before we can truly embrace the outside world (and the world of heels) again. Of the few women that attending Paris and Milan Fashion Week this season, very few women were wearing heels. Heels haven’t featured in most collections—at Balmain models walked barefoot, and at Valentino Pierpaolo Piccioli revamped the iconic ‘Rockstud’ into a covetable flat sandal.

We aren’t quite ready for towering stilettos or pinching pumps—and who knows, maybe we never will be again? But soft shearling slippers, with the addition of a three-inch heel for a little extra height? That’s the kind of pandemic-inspired innovation we can get behind.