Rihanna wears them. Miley Cyrus has them. Brooke Shields rocks them. Crocs, those most divisive of shoes, may have reached official fashion status after Christopher Kane put bejewelled versions on models at his spring 2017 runway presentation in London on Monday.
The colourful, perforated foam shoes have received mixed reviews since they first made an appearance on the feet of suburbanites and small children in 2002. Although they were quickly adopted by comfort-seeking celebs like Mario Batali and Rosie O’Donnell, they were widely derided by the general public. The blog IHateCrocs.com popped up in 2007 at the height of the shoe’s popularity and made the company the butt of slogans like “Friends don’t let friends wear Crocs” and “For those about to Croc, we refute you,” which were printed on T-shirts.
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But that may all change next season with the support of Kane. Paired with appliqued floral dresses and toppers, transparent mesh tops, tiered lace skirts, and a bevy of the designer’s signatures like mixed material gowns and hole-punched T-shirts, the earth-toned and crystal-studded Crocs served as the proverbial cherry on the top of a schizophrenic collection dubbed “Make Do and Mend.” The name is a nod to a pamphlet created by the British government in the 1940s to encourage housewives to repurpose household items and clothes in an effort to be both frugal and stylish.
The fashion industry’s reaction to Kane’s Crocs was mixed.
Kane has jumped on what appears to be an ugly shoe bandwagon that’s been prevalent in fashion over the last few seasons. In spring 2013, Pheobe Philo, creative director of luxury French fashion house Céline, famously showed Birkenstocks with fur insoles, reigniting the style scene’s love affair with the classic German comfort brand. And in spring 2014, Prada elevated Tevas to couture status by jazzing up the shoe of choice of the outdoor enthusiast via platform soles and appliqued crystals.
Whether these venerable designers were taking their cues from the normcore trend or vice versa, the fact remains that the public’s acceptance of ugly shoes has extended to include the reappearance of Adidas shower shoes and Ugg boots, leaving us to rethink the concept of suffering for fashion.