For a few seasons now, gross f-ugly shoes have been steadily elevating themselves from fashion taboo to street style staple; a move spearheaded by the shoe equivalent of Marmite – Crocs.
A word once synonymous with luxury reptile skin, faux or otherwise, these days it’s a term most of us associate with spray-clean rubber clogs and, while once upon a time the fashion crowd may have dismissed them as sartorial suicide, they’re now regarded as the shoe of the future.
For spring summer 2018, renegade designer Demna Gvasalia sent Crocs down the catwalk at Balenciaga. But, these were a far cry from the sort worn by gardening grans, hospital workers and small children.
Taking the ubiquitous germ-hardy shoe to new heights, Gvasalia’s versions came with a 10cm platform in pink and school bus yellow, as well as decorative Balenciaga Jibbitz in the form of avocados, dogs, flowers and the brand’s logo.
“When Balenciaga approached us, we were intrigued by the opportunity to push the boundaries of our design and moulding capabilities to see what we could create together,” says Crocs’ senior vice president of Global Product and Marketing, Michelle Poole.
“Working with Balenciaga has been so much fun for our team, and once again demonstrates the relevance of our iconic clog in today’s fashion and design world, as well as allowing us to tap into the excitement and energy that comes from unexpected relationships.”
Coming from the same brand that just created the ultimate “ugly” sneaker with the Triple S and a £1,600 bag reminiscent of Ikea’s iconic blue tote, Crocs are just the latest normcore addition to Balenciaga’s line-up, but this isn’t the first time they’ve been spotted on the runway.
For spring summer 2017, Christopher Kane became the first designer to collaborate with the brand, while Maison Margiela offered a sturdy, leather take on the rubber show that same season.
While they would appear an unlikely choice for high-fashion designers, Crocs represent an attempt to challenge the invisible rules of what luxury means in such a fickle industry, but whether or not they’ll be a sell-out when they hit stores next year remains to be seen.
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