I was actually having a lovely weekend, thanks – a bit of telly, a new book, a late breakfast – when, “Oh, what’s this all over my Instagram feed?” Giant, rubbery, pukey-pink Crocs. Balenciaga strikes again. Someone pass me a bucket.
Yes, on day six of Paris Fashion Week – arguably the chicest of all the fashion cities – Demna Gvasalia showed his fourth season for Spanish fashion house Balenciaga. An extravaganza of newspaper-print shirting, tartan trousers, shoulder-tied jumpers, bumbags (those again) and, it has to be said, some lovely checked coats, the major talking point of the show was the 10cm-platform Crocs. Coming in Barbie pink and rubber-duck yellow, they were studded with plastic Balenciaga charms – known in the Croc world as “gibbits”.
Talking to Vogue, Gvasalia explained that his interest in the plastic clog lay in its innovative nature: “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.” Apparently, he’s been wearing them all summer. Presumably on his allotment. With a Spam sandwich.
Of course, we can’t be wholly surprised by Gvasalia – after all, this is the man who gifted us the £2,325 Balenciaga “blanket tote” (a glorified plastic duvet bag) and introduced the world to £185 DHL T-shirt under his Vetements label. And this isn’t Crocs’ first go on the catwalk, either. Christopher Kane paired designer dresses with marble-effect, stone-encrusted iterations for his SS17 collection. You can still buy a pair for a cool £154 – the fur-trimmed variations are on sale for just under £500. Sure.
A sworn Croc opponent (could you guess?), it pains me tell you that I saw this all coming. In fact, I reported on the Croc comeback in 2015, when the American footwear brand underwent a company restructure and launched a worldwide advertising campaign with the tagline “Find Your Fun”. It appears the fashion industry well and truly has.
An opinion divider if there ever was one, the Croc revival has stirred conflicted views. While many, like me, would rather claw their own eyes out than lay a single foot inside the gopping rubber hooves, there are those who are sold on the comfort and practicality factor – “But F, they are great on the beach and the kids look so cute in theirs.” Hmm, try saying that when they cost more than a beach hut at West Wittering, as Balenciaga’s versions undoubtedly will.
But, back to planet Fashun, and Crocs are not the only chronically minging shoe that have made an appearance. At Valentino, breathtakingly beautiful floor-length gowns were paired with crystal-studded, foot-glove trainers, Céline made the case (again) for mismatched shoes, while Claire Waight Keller's first show for Givenchy proved that cowboy boots are indeed back. Yeehaw. Sob.