New Delhi: Once best kept for wearing at home, to the bathroom and, at most, till the roadside shop, the humble rubber slippers, or flip-flops, are now making a splash everywhere with their colourful, bejewelled and trendy avatars.
Be it in parks, colleges, casual workplace environment, cafes, restaurants and discotheques, boys, girls, men and women of all age groups are flaunting the V-strapped rubber slippers and stocking the many available colours and designs to suit every place and occasion.
"A Jean Paul Gaultier show had models wearing flip-flop and then Swarovski crystals too...Rubber slippers are comfortable and simple and they can even be transformed from a slipper to a girl wearing it to a party showing off her pedicured feet! Open feet in summer is the new definition of sexy," Delhi-based designer and stylist Akanksha Bhalerao, said.
For many, wedge-heeled soft rubber slippers have replaced towering heels during casual outings. Sneha Sood, 46, doesn`t mind flaunting her blingy flip-flops at a kitty party.
"They are so comfortable. I can walk in them for hours without feeling any pain or discomfort. They look fashionable and I can match them with anything," said Sood, whose friends equally love the new, improved version of rubber slippers.
Comfort is the key, says footwear designer Swati Mehrotra.
"Considering the sultry weather in summer, sticky times during monsoon and rainy season, these slippers make for perfect wear. They can be teamed with denims, Indian suits, loose harem pants, skirts, shorts... people aged six, 16 or 60 can flaunt them," Mehrotra, who designs shoes under her label Swati Modo, said.
The designer suggests "funky and fluorescent colours" for the wardrobe, apart from some fun ones with animal prints, glitter straps and ornamented designs.
"The range which is available nowadays is very different from the classic Hawai chappal! The markets are flooded with styles, colours and shapes... they are all very stylised, and so, people don`t think twice about wearing `a rubber slipper`," said Mehrotra, adding that these are, however, best kept away from night parties.
Kartik Rathi, a college student, says it is relaxing and casual to wear flip-flops for his classes.
"They look cool in colours like blue, yellow, red and green! They are simple and inexpensive; so even if I want to own many, it`s not a problem, unlike branded sneakers," he said.
Flip-flops are available in local street shops, at branded outlets and even at expensive retail footwear outlets. They even come with cartoon characters fixed on the straps, which add to the zing.
A pair of Juicy Couture flip-flops could cost Rs.5,000, but a copy can be picked for as low as Rs.200 from a market like Sarojini Nagar or Janpath in the capital.
And just to reiterate, there`s one to suit every pocket and occasion.