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Celebrating chic comfort

The red-carpet look almost demands statement heels to complement the fancy gowns and other accessories. But at the Tony Awards on Sunday night in New York, Brooke Shields stole the spotlight with a flat.

Stepping out in a pair of sunny Crocs that matched her bright yellow Monique Lhuillier gown, the star made no apologies for her bold and sure-to-be controversial footwear choice. She even playfully lifted her dress to reveal the practical clogs to reporters. “I’ve got two theatre-loving shoes on,” she declared to the Associated Press.

“Fashion need not be constrained by rigid rules; its beauty lies in its fluidity. The originality, innovation, amalgamation of styles and accessories, and exploration of unprecedented looks are imperative,” point out Aanchal Bubber Mehta and Sanjana Bubber, head designers and co-founders of Bubber Couture. They add, “Crocs starkly contrast with the daintiness, femininity, and softness represented by a dress. The juxtaposition of a luxurious and feminine dress with cumbersome yet comfortable resin shoes makes an ensemble memorable.” Fashion designer Anant Sethi feels Shields’ choice conveys a message to the industry. “It challenges the conventional expectations of red-carpet attire and encourages a more inclusive and versatile approach to high fashion,” he says.

Shields explained her footwear decision, revealing she had undergone foot surgery just days before the event. “Broadway gave me these broken feet, and now I’m fixing them,” she shared with CBS.

But will her gutsy move influence other celebrities to follow suit? Educator and luxury lifestyle expert, Chandni Kumar Mehra feels it will. She calls Crocs a ‘practical fashion choice.’ For Juveca Panda Chheda, creative director of Misfit Panda too, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes.’ “At least you can keep your Crocs on the entire time and not regret wearing them. Most luxury brand heels tend to be quite uncomfortable because they lack extra insole padding and a front platform that reduces how much your foot arches. While I love how beautiful all my Louboutin and Jimmy Choo heels look, I would never wear them to an event where I need to stand or walk for extended periods of time—they’re what I like to call ‘dinner shoes,’ because they make an impact when you walk in, and then you can sit peacefully knowing your feet won’t be crying for the rest of the event.”

As a former face of Calvin Klein, Shields has always been in fashion’s inner circle, epitomising a timeless ‘all-American’ elegance. “Be boldly comfortable. Comfort is here to stay. After years of sacrificing it for fashion, women are now making bold choices that prioritise it,” says Monrow’s Veena Ashiya.

In recent years, Crocs has strategically partnered with various brands. A notable collaboration in 2020 with Puerto Rican musician Bad Bunny resulted in glow-in-the-dark Crocs that sold out almost immediately. In 2023, a whimsical lime green crossover with DreamWorks’ Shrek captured the impish heart of both brands. Their long-running partnership with Balenciaga has produced an eclectic mix of Crocs boots, stilettos, and platforms, blending high fashion with everyday comfort.

Sheilds isn’t the only celeb to celebrate Crocs. Singer Justin Bieber made headlines by pairing an oversized Balenciaga suit with platform Crocs at the 2022 Grammys, showcasing the versatility of the famously casual footwear. Similarly, record producer Questlove sported a shiny golden pair at the 2021 Oscars, turning heads and making a bold statement.

Will it become a red carpet-staple? Probably not. But one of the most important reasons to love Crocs is that they are designed with ergonomics in mind, offering excellent cushioning and support. “They have become a symbol of a growing desire for comfort in fashion, which is increasingly important today. While they might not fit the traditional image of glamorous footwear, their appeal lies in how they cater to our need for comfort,” signs off Ashiya.

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