Take three steps back and take it all in. That’s right, luxury high-flying fashion house Balenciaga had just sent a series of Crocs shoes down it’s Spring/Summer 2018 runway at Paris Fashion Week. Not just any Crocs (as if they weren’t atrociously hideous enough), but a rather kitschy 10cm platform caricature of the famous rubber clogs topped off with Balenciaga novelty pins.
There’s a reason why, for many years at hand, Crocs were shunned by society (and sensible dressers) as the anti-fashion that has fallen from aesthetic grace. It’s practically the epitome of the term ‘ugly fashion’; stubbornly insisting on comfort, yet ultimately falling short on any sense of good design.
Has designer Demna Gavasalia – albeit a noted humorist – forgotten that? Have all noteworthy designers of the world devised an unspoken ‘ugly race’ in attempt to see who can out-ugly the rest to best delight its eclectic magpie consumers? What has the fashion industry come to? These are the hard-hitting questions we need to ask ourselves in a time of camel-toed boots, mismatched maximalism, and apparently high fashion Crocs.
The Crocs have represented many things: Practicality, comfort, indestructibility. But we think the adjective ‘cool’ will never really be part of that equation – even with Balenciaga’s recent stamp of approval on them. We understand the pressure consumers face from normcore; chasing noise and drama in fashion so as to feel and look different. But there’s a fine line between unconventionality and, well, bizzarie.
Backstage at his show, Demna had this to say to Vogue, “It’s a very innovative shoe. It’s light, it’s a one-piece foam mould and to me these kind of techniques and working with these kind of materials is very Balenciaga”. The designer also spoke of his vision on how Crocs were the shoe of the future. “In the future you will be able to 3D print them at home because they are all one piece.”
This isn’t the first time, after all, that Balenciaga has taken the fashion world by storm with its unexpected designs. Case in point: the Thai technicoloured plastic bags sent down the Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2017 collection last year. We have to give it to him though; Demna is notably forward-thinking and he had good reason behind the collaboration.
The idea of taking something kitschy and turning it into something highly covetable is one that Balenciaga is notorious for. Which brings us back to the viewpoint in question: Would you actually rock one of these Crocs yourself, well-knowing that it’s in the brand’s cheeky DNA itself to roll out such designs?
Perhaps like Freedom Moses – the Israeli take on Birkenstocks – which is currently enjoying a sweet comeback (you can read more about it in our October print issue), the Balenciaga-Crocs collab could work for those who are looking to stand out in those roomy soles. If 2017 is going to be the year of pushing fashion boundaries, then Balenciaga’s Croc attempt will probably go down in fashion’s books as that.
And if you are one of those itching to climb up on one of these platform Crocs, here’s all we know so far: They will be available for sale at Balenciaga’s website and exclusively at Balenciaga points of sale worldwide come Spring 2018 onwards.