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Who wears YELLOW crocs?


David Hockney, that’s who.


Even when meeting our new king at Buckingham Palace for the Order of Merit lunch in November. Worn with checked Saville Row suit, checkerboard tie and matching yellow glasses.


His Majesty was delighted: “Your yellow galoshes! Beautifully chosen.”


But why crocs?


I don’t really know much about David Hockney. Modern art, ‘A Bigger Splash’, iPad artwork, Bradford chuckle.

I can however do a product interrogation with the best of them.


Apparently, crocs started life as outdoor shoes before being taken up by kitchen staff and nurses. They’re made from a material called Croslite, a cross between rubber and plastic. That makes them sturdy, durable, slip-resistant, protective and, of course, easy to slip on and off.


Above all, they’re comfortable. And whatever fashion conspires to dictate to us, that’s surely the place to start with shoes. Particularly if you’re planning on standing in them all day long.


Maybe that’s why they’ve become Hockney’s shoe of choice. Not just his either. More than 100m pairs are sold each year.


And why yellow?


OK, here we go again, mental availability, distinctive brand assets, I know, I know.


But it’s a new year, let’s try swimming in the deep end. It’s kind of appropriate here.


You see, I now know Hockney was born with something called synaesthesia. That means he sees colour in response to musical stimuli.


He also grew up under the stifling grey skies of Britain before being drawn to the bright light of the California sun. That’s where he painted ‘A Bigger Splash’. He was interested in using paint to capture transparent materials like water and fleeting moments like a splash.


And this was the late 60’s. Britain was emerging from post-war austerity into a period of optimism. Hopefully like soon.


So colour’s his thing and yellow in particular. When he did his 2016 show of 82 portraits, they were all of people in his Hollywood Hills home sitting in the same yellow chair.


So why yellow crocs, deep down?


Comfort and joy, I reckon.


Comfort in terms of emotion as well as function. As he said: “I prefer living in colour’.


Joy because crocs leave him free to do what makes him happy. “I’m usually drawing or painting. It’s all I want to do now, I mean, I’m 85, how much longer do I have? I’m a smoker. But I might have five years, I don’t know, and that’s all I want to do.”


So they help him keep on keeping on. In fact, his new immersive experience, ‘Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)’, opens at Lightroom in London’s Kings Cross later this month.


And that, by the way, is how you do it. Do what you love doing.


Except my crocs will be like the pool, discerning blue.

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by RICHARD BROWN

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