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Flip Flop Chic

Flip Flop Chic: The Fashion Week Takeover

If you didn’t think that flip flops belong on fashion week runways… think again. 

Everyone at Spring 2023 fashion week was wearing flip flops, from street style stars to celebrities and the models themselves. Flip flops had a serious fashion moment – sparkling with diamonds and evening gowns.  

Flip flops aren’t being discussed in the right way. Nobody asks what flip flops would match my gown and satin gloves? If being barefoot is a luxury, shouldn’t flip flops be just as fanciful?  

A-List Celebrities are definitely embracing flip flop chic. Naomi Campbell wore the same pair with a long trench skirt and matching utility jacket, while Mariacarla Boscono wore a simple, less ritzy pair. With a crinkly swimsuit-gown hybrid, Bella Hadid wore a heeled flip flop that mimicked a surfboard strap. 

People were obsessed with the flip flops at Burberry’s 2023 show. In addition to the show almost never happening and the way it was inspired by goths at the beach, flip flops were the highlight of the show.  

Kanye West sat front row at Burberry’s postponed spring 2023 show in a pair of Margiela tabi socks and diamond flip flops. Later, he would use his Instagram Story to share a close-up of his glitzy pair along with the words: “Don’t talk to me.” 

The flip flop is often considered the footwear equivalent of a Do Not Disturb sign. It’s likely that someone in a pair doesn’t want to be seen, whether they’re on their way back from a pedicure or they’re on a midnight treat run to the corner store. Flip flops caused a tiny stir during Copenhagen Fashion Week in 2018, but this fashion month, the flip flop conversation is finally seeing a major, more elevated shift. 

Flip flops were featured in Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s pre-fall 2023 collection at The Row. Many flip flops. Other shoes included pointy brown ballet flats, canvas sneakers, and white sock boots with black heels and soles. It was the flip flops that everyone was talking about. 

Flip flops layered with trousers, a white collared shirt, and a long flowing black satin trench! Flip flops worn with white scalloped edges dripping over the neck and under the arms of an absolutely gorgeous asymmetrical crochet gown. A sleeveless cocktail dress and leather opera gloves complete the look! Aside from that, whenever Ashley and Mary-Kate appear in pictures, it’s usually of them wearing flip flops with the confident charm that’s their signature style. In New York, flip flops were also seen at Gabriela Hearst and Khaite with simple black strapless dresses and dresses that collapsed into fringed fits. 

How to use the word “chic” has been a topic of discussion this fashion month as well. When people are too lazy to describe their feelings about something, they reach for this overused term, but it should really be reserved for when they’re actually speechless: when something or someone is so stylish that no other description will suffice. Totally chic things can also be a little zany. Lace-trimmed dress and five-inch pumps are pretty. But rubber flip flops with a knockout evening gown? That’s chic.  

Some might attribute the proliferation of flip flops at fashion week to Y2K or even the newfound mainstream popularity of Margiela’s split-toe tabi. It’s possible we’ve all become so used to toes – whether it’s in flip flops from recirculated 2000s tabloids or on heels – that we no longer worry about hiding them. Maybe it’s the blissful confidence of a flip flop that we’ve just begun to notice. The flip flop is a sign that you know who you are without risking blisters in order to stand taller. 
Flip flops, unlike shoes that actually add inches, like those at Saint Laurent’s spring show, let you simply float around. Is there anything more beautiful than that glow you get when you’re not afraid of falling? 

Even at shows without flip flops, like Courrèges, Ferragamo, or Jil Sander, the flip flop philosophy was evident. Each of the three brands had runways made of sand, and it was hard not to imagine the models in Ferragamo suede suits or knit sequined fringe skirts at the beach. In Courrèges, models walked barefoot, dangling the slings of their heeled slingbacks between their fingers, wearing dresses with spirals of mostly unfastened rouleau buttons from neck to hem. As if they had kicked off their shoes and headed to the sea after a night out dancing, they looked cool and undone and unbothered. Perhaps their effortlessness would have been even more believable if they had started the night out in flip flops. 

Now that flip flops are being embraced by the fashion world, I guess that apart from our criteria for awesome flip flops – chic can be added to the words that describe them. 

Find the chicest pair that suit your style in our flip flop reviews and recommendations here on Flip Flop Daily.