Mario Batali just bought 200 pairs of orange Crocs. But why? The top chef is hardly considered a fashion leader, but the polarizing foam-rubber shoes have become his trademark. And while 200 pairs of orange Crocs sounds comically excessive, there is a reason behind the madness: Batali is apparently hoarding his favorite footwear after Crocs announced that the orange shoes he favors will soon be discontinued.
The former Iron Chef America host told Details magazine that when he realized that Crocs was "about to take orange out of the field," he ordered his 200 Crocs in orange, a demand so large that the company made a "special run" just for him! Despite Batali's VIP Crocs treatment, however, the celebrity chef is still not a happy camper. "They're gonna stop the Mario Batali orange! It's preposterous!" Batali said.
Earlier this year Batali told Inc. that his love of Crocs traces back 1993, when his wife gave him a pair of Crocs-style shoes around the time he opened his first restaurant, Po, in NYC. But when Crocs the brand was created in 2002, Batali fell head over heels in love with them. Crocs were originally conceived as a spa shoe, and became popular with gardeners and outdoor loafers. But Batali made Crocs his mainstay.
"It was obvious that they had built them for me," Batali said in the interview. "And I've stuck with them and I'm a big fan of the Croc look and the way that it shames most of my friends in the fashion world." Batali claims that orange is the "Batali family national color," and therefore has always stuck with the bright shade.
"My children started wearing orange and yellow coats so we could identify them ... because there is nothing more frightening than not being able to find your children, especially young ones who could easily wander out into the street, or whatever could happen to them in New York City. We could say, 'Oh there they are! Orange and yellow right there!'"
The chef loved the footwear so much that in 2007 Batali endorsed the Crocs "Bistro Mario Batali" shoe design, which was intended for other chefs just like him. The shoes became a functional footwear for cooks and people working in the kitchen.
While Crocs is discontinuing its standard line of Crocs in Batali's favorite shade of orange, there is hope for other orange Crocs lovers out there. Batali's specially designed line of Crocs will still be available in the classic orange. No need to buy 200 pairs of them.