Horrifying or magical? You decide.
The hottest footwear trend straight from Paris? Crocs. And no, we’re not joking. In a move that could be deemed either aggressively ugly or dynamically innovative, Balenciaga presented on Sunday its collaboration with Crocs in the form of customizable platforms. As part of his SS18 collection, Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia created a platform version of the iconic Crocs sandal with the sort-of brilliant customization options like pins reminiscent of a middle-schooler’s backpack that attach to the perforated upper.
If there’s anyone who can make Crocs cool again, it’s Gvasalia, creative director at Vetements and Balenciaga. Christopher Kane’s Crocs collaboration last year — a marble-print, jewel-stuffed sandal — went relatively unnoticed, in spite of Kane’s Crocs fandom. “I like that they are perceived by some to be quite ‘ugly’ and not at all feminine or designed to flatter,” Kane said at the time of the limited edition collection. Now Gvasalia, whose Vetements ethos successfully changed fashion, might be the capable hands Crocs needs to be officially deemed cool.
Known for his unlikely collaborations with brands like Reebok and Ikea, Crocs seems like a new challenge for the designer to, as Vice says, “blur the lines between luxury fashion and the clothing we insist belongs outside of it.” Gvasalia loves a good tongue-in-cheek design that makes light fun of high fashion, and Crocs is a brand, until yesterday perhaps, so uncool that it’s almost anti-fashion (unless you count its cult following of menswear editors).
Vice writer Rachel Tashjian put it perfectly: “They tout its un-fashionability as an asset, but the Croc remained outside the exclusive realm of luxury fashion until yesterday, when it appeared as the epitome of Gvasalia’s signature fashion trick: he takes clothing, references, cult styles, and most of all, other brands, and puts them on the runway to suggest it’s not design skill or craft that makes something “luxury,” but rather the framing or context.”
Sometimes the edgiest fashion can be found, it turns out, in a suburban mall next to a Cinnabon.