At the recent men’s shows, Birkenstocks with thong accents were shown with suits (and socks for double the ick) at Calvin Klein Collection, more casually (can anything be more casual than a Birkenstock?) at Robert Geller, in black at Patrik Ervell, in basic brown at Michael Kors, as part of the Gated Community prep homage at Michael Bastian and with criss-crossing straps at Perry Ellis. Michael Maccari, the creative director at Ellis, previously showed Birkenstocks with bulky, athletic socks for Spring 15 and when pressed on the choice replied simply: “Sports fabrication is here to stay.”
Sports fabrication we’ll keep — the Birkenstock we’d prefer to keep at a distance. As fashion forward as many of these collections were, we had to wonder if the addition of the Birkenstock to these otherwise polished looks was an attempt by the designers to pull a fast one on the audience.The strappy, cork-filled sandal began reappearing on runways in a big way for spring 2014, from Givenchy to J. Crew as part of the “ugly” shoe revival of the season that also included blocky sneakers, chunky oxford high heels, clogs and flatforms. As quickly as they appeared, fashion insiders racing between the shows embraced them as the old favorite of Phish fans was updated with prints, new materials, embellishments, utilitarian soles and even mink lining. (The Givenchy floral-printed Birkenstocks on all the bloggers costs upward of $1,000). The clacking of heels was temporarily silenced from the halls of chic, replaced (we hope only temporarily) by the plodding thud of waffled soles.