‘Beautifully chosen’: David Hockney’s yellow Crocs impress King Charles

Artist’s choice of footwear for Order of Merit luncheon highlights shoe brand’s enduring popularity

It is a question that must have plagued those attending King Charles’s first luncheon for the Order of Merit on Thursday – what to wear while eating partridge pie with the new monarch.

For the 85-year-old artist David Hockney it was simple – his signature checked Savile Row suit, a knitted checkerboard tie … and a pair of yellow garden Crocs. As a fan of the great outdoors, the king was delighted. “Your yellow galoshes!” he remarked. “Beautifully chosen.”

Crocs might be closer in shape to clogs, but he was not far off. Durable, sturdy and slip-resistant, crocs began life as outdoor shoes but were quickly adopted by blue-collar industries, notably kitchen staff and nurses. Made from a proprietary cell resin material called Croslite, which is somewhere between rubber and plastic, they are comfortable for workers to stand in for long hours and thick enough to protect feet from a stray cleaver.

We love to hate Crocs – but that does not stop us buying them. Driven into the arms of comfort-wear during the pandemic, sales have soared in the past five years. In the quarter ending 30 September, they reached almost $1bn (£827m). According to a spokesperson, more than 100m pairs are sold each year. It is less about who is wearing them, and more about who is not.

Influence tends to trickle up, so it was only a matter of time before Hockney would join the Crocerati, a broad but notorious band of wearers that includes the pop star Justin Bieber, rapper Post Malone and the actor Adam Sandler. Blame Christopher Kane and Balenciaga, too, who have refashioned Crocs, whacked up the price and caused them to sell out.

Hockney, of course, has always been a style icon. Over the past two decades, Paul Smith and Christopher Bailey have designed collections around the artist’s wardrobe, which included (but was not limited to) Coney Island logo sweatshirts, striped rugby shirts, slacks and spectacles. Historically, though, the artist preferred a pair of white, battered, lace-free white plimsolls.

The luncheon’s dress code is a long way off that of broader culture. Most attendees wore black. The TV presenter Floella Benjamin was among the few guests to introduce a welcome pop of magenta in her headpiece. These days, Hockney mostly uses a wheelchair, so was presumably granted carte blanche. Comfy on levels actual and spiritual, he no doubt chose Crocs because they have a deep insole, so one can pop their orthotics inside.

But he may well have been drawn to the colour. Guests will have noted he wore them with a pair of blue socks. From a distance, it was as if his 1967 masterpiece, A Bigger Splash, had come to life.


Morwenna Ferrier

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
David Hockney's blues and sunshine moments come out in new biography
Author Christopher Simon Sykes given access to Hockney's inner circle for biography detailing artist's life since 1975

Mark Brown

31, Aug, 2014 @11:01 PM

Article image
David Hockney retrospective becomes Tate Britain's most popular show
Exhibition receives 478,082 visitors, with demand pushing the gallery to open until midnight over its final weekend

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

31, May, 2017 @9:00 AM

Article image
David Hockney window at Westminster Abbey to honour Queen
Artist who once turned down knighthood will design 6-metre stained-glass piece for longest-serving British monarch

Maev Kennedy

22, Nov, 2016 @12:01 AM

Article image
David Hockney rescued after being trapped in Amsterdam lift
Artist and group of journalists tell jokes to keep spirits up before Van Gogh Museum show

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

28, Feb, 2019 @8:20 AM

Article image
David Hockney exhibition will feature artist’s latest self-portrait
Cambridge to host Hockney’s Eye: The Art and Technology of Depiction, opening in March

Nadia Khomami Arts and culture correspondent

21, Feb, 2022 @12:01 AM

Article image
David Hockney show is fastest-selling exhibition in Tate's history
About 20,000 advance tickets have been sold for the retrospective which opens on Thursday at Tate Britain

Hannah Ellis-Petersen

03, Feb, 2017 @6:53 PM

Article image
Major show of David Hockney drawings will trace artist's career
National Portrait Gallery exhibition to include schoolboy self-portraits and new works

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

03, May, 2019 @11:07 AM

Article image
‘I hope it gives young people some ideas!’: David Hockney’s immersive art show – photo essay
A new exhibition lets us see the Yorkshire artist’s greatest hits – and overlooked rarities – through new eyes. Photographer Justin Sutcliffe went behind the scenes

Tim Jonze and Mee-Lai Stone

20, Feb, 2023 @7:00 AM

Article image
Beer mat artist delighted as David Hockney weighs in on wellness
Hockney sends message to artist Mr Bingo after buying mats featuring phrase ‘bored of wellness’

Mark Brown North of England correspondent

15, Nov, 2021 @4:43 PM

Article image
Charles to treat palace visitors to his 70th birthday pick and mix
Prince selects more than 100 objects and works of art for Buckingham Palace opening

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

19, Jul, 2018 @11:01 PM