In the otherworldly annals of royal sartorial protocol, perhaps the most infamous tale regarding what is appropriate is the Duchess of Sussex’s claim that she was reduced to tears during a disagreement with the now Princess of Wales over whether flower girls should wear tights for her 2018 royal wedding.
Now we have a new headline. It’s hard to imagine that many colorful Crocs have trod the halls of Buckingham Palace, but for this week’s Order of Merit luncheon—hosted for the first time by King Charles—the once-maligned slip-on shoe now beloved by A-listers including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kendall Jenner, and FKA Twigs made a surprise appearance.
When getting dressed for the formal lunch, the 85-year-old artist David Hockney opted for a striking plaid suit and checkerboard tie, worn with Crocs in an uplifting paintbox shade of yellow that evoked his own landscape paintings. In official photos from the event, his clogs are a splash of color in a sea of shiny black lace-ups.
A brief history of the rise of the Croc from orthopaedic ugly shoe favored by chefs and surgeons to acceptable formal wear: back in 2016, Christopher Kane collaborated with the brand for his spring 2017 collection, making the practical rubber clog instantly runway ready. The following year, Balenciaga unveiled a platform iteration at Paris Fashion Week. Its luster only increased when the pandemic hit four years later, as its mixture of fashion cachet and comfort chimed perfectly with the national mood.
During the lockdown, Nicholas Braun, aka Cousin Greg on Succession, wore a navy Paul Smith suit and Crocs to Zoom into the Emmys from home, while Questlove has sported them IRL to both the 2021 and 2022 Oscars.