Last night, Rihanna was papped leaving Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel in an Awake NY sweat suit and what looked like a pair of run-of-the-mill Uniqlo socks. Depending on your tolerance for strange shoes, this will doubtless be considered a grotesque example of fashion designers gone mad. But the truth is: it’s been a long time coming. So dogged is fashion’s obsession with unusual footwear—ie, Irina Shayk’s Miu Miu thong boots, Kylie Jenner’s Sportmax pedi-spreaders, and Sophie Turner’s big toe-baring Louis Vuitton stilettos—that going sock-first on the street now seems an entirely logical thing to do.

With perhaps the exception of Jacob Elordi and Shawn Mendes barefooting the sidewalks of Beverly Hills, there are few people who can get away with treating a filth-ridden urban centre like it was some kind of Bahaman beach resort. It’s a casual signaling of someone’s status. And to step out in nothing but a pair of socks—or at least $1,100 Bottega Veneta boots that have been trompe-l’œiled to look like woollen socks—suggests that someone is so rich and so famous that they have transcended even the most basic requirements of behavioral conduct. (It helps, of course, that Rihanna is never more than five yards away from a chauffeur-driven town car and a shoal of umbrella-wielding assistants.)

Robert Kamau

Here’s the thing: the so-called “ugly shoe” has been mainstreamed to such an extent that few are capable of inspiring shock. That is because most of these designs—like Naomi Campbell’s Loewe balloon heels and Victoria Beckham’s Croots—are cartoon, aestheticized versions of ugliness. Our eyes have adjusted to the horrors. And so, it perhaps takes someone like Rihanna to subvert convention and take the whole thing to newly offensive extremes. At this point, no one cares if you leave the house in New Balance’s “controversial” loafers or Simone Rocha’s pearl-festooned Crocs…but a dirtied pair of street socks is something most people will—for now at least—struggle to contend with.

This article first appeared on British Vogue.

Read the full article here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *