Remember Crocs? More importantly, do you remember platform Crocs? Of course you do – The Pool wrote several, pretty hard-hitting think pieces about them. Crocs themselves were obviously designed by someone who hates people. Kidding, don’t write in (on Twitter) – I know they’re super useful if you like gardening, are a doctor or just enjoy torturing your neighbours by forcing them to look at them. They were appropriated, however, by Fashion with a capital F, when the likes of Christopher Kane stuck some crystal jewels in the little holes in the front, charged £275 for them and wasn’t even joking. Demna Gvasalia, fashion’s wunderkind of the last few years and creative director at Balenciaga, saw Kane’s crystals and raised him (literally) a pair of platform Crocs. That wasn’t a joke either. Then, earlier this month, Crocs collaborated with rapper Post Malone for a second time, creating a range of, well, Crocs. They sold out in minutes.
2018 also gave us DSquared2’s own foray into, er, interesting shoes, in the form of the new Giant Heels for spring/summer 2019. What do you get when you breed a Velcro sandal with a dad trainer? DSquared2’s Giant Heels, that’s what. Debuted at Milan Men’s Fashion Week (because men need them too, people!), Giant Heels were worn by the handful of women who walked the catwalk and looked a bit like they were perhaps a collaboration between DSquared2’s designers, Dean and Dan, and the costume designer of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Held in place by a Velcro ankle strap, they were just the right amount of orthopaedic to ensure that debate raged on social media, with Vogue Paris demanding the most pertinent of questions: “Would you dare to wear these DSquared2 sneakers?” Or, more radically – would you want to?
Well, Cardi B wants to. Just a week ago, she posted a picture on Instagram of herself wearing a pair, prompting a deluge of confused comments and even entire articles dedicated to this one social media post. Then came a wave of other articles delcaring Crocs to be the "Fashion success story of 2018", with another suggesting that in 2019, trainers are only set to get "uglier". While Balenciaga kick-started (pun intended) the trend for chunky trainers, they've now practically become ubiquitous, there to be seen in almost every shop on our high street. And they're big business, too. Balenciaga's trainers, for example, cost anywhere between £600-£700, with many styles selling out faster than they could be re-stocked. So, what is it about these so-called ugly shoes that people enjoy so much? Well, I have a theory.
These shoes have impeccable timing. With America on the verge of implosion and every other headline simply reinforcing a sense of doom, fugly shoes seem like the perfect distraction. People can get angry about them – as obviously people do like to do that on the internet – without it really meaning anything. People can talk about how much they like them, or they can simply laugh at how funny it is that, come fashion week in February, there will be many, many “influencers” who hobble their way across the world’s fashion capitals, stopping every six seconds to take a photograph of themselves in the Giant Heels. Or platform Crocs. Or, indeed, trainers that cost them hundreds of pounds. Ah, it’s like a scene from Zoolander. Except funnier, because the people doing it think it’s literally anything other than funny.
Anyway, while I’m on the subject, I would highly suggest taking 10 minutes out of your inevitably bad-news-filled day to appreciate the men’s catwalks of 2018. It might not be your thing but even a fashion naysayer might find it hard to look at Raf Simons’ ice-blue and marigold coats in Duchesse Satin and not find their spirit buoyed somewhat (I also really, really want one). Or, you could take in the absolutely bonkers Walter Van Beirendonck show, which featured male models in everything, from cut-out blazers to skeleton costumes. Show your dad/brother/lover/male friend and just enjoy his reaction. Oh, how you’ll laugh. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll forget how terrible everything seemed this year on the news. You might even laugh harder than DSquared2’s designers will, when they realise that those trainer heels they designed when they got a bit tooty are, in fact, a sellout. See you (and your shoes) in 2019.