Mario Batali just invested in 200 pairs of the exact same shoe: bright orange Crocs.
At first glance a purchase like this might seem like a frivolous impulse buy. But to those familiar with the celebrity chef and restaurateur, it is common knowledge that this particular shoe has become intertwined with Batali’s persona. So when Crocs announced it was retiring his “signature” color, Batali’s shoe-shopping spree seemed understandable.
In a recent interview with “Details” magazine, 53-year-old Batali broke the news that while he currently has 30 pairs of his favorite footwear, upon learning Crocs was “about to take orange out of the field,” he placed his large order, and the company made a “special run” for him before it retired the color.
But even with his bulk order en route, Batali is still not happy about the loss.
“They’re gonna stop the Mario Batali orange! It’s preposterous!” Batali told the magazine.
In a June 2013 interview with Inc., Batali said that he received his first pair of Crocs-style shoes from his wife when he opened his first restaurant, Po, in New York City in 1993. When the actual Crocs brand came out, Batali said it “was obvious that they had built them for me. 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.”
The color choice was a personal one, as Batali told Inc. that orange is the “Batali family national color.”
“My children started wearing orange and yellow coats so we could identify them in a sea 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!”
Batali became so well known for his love of the “comfort footwear” that in May 2007 he endorsed Crocs “Bistro Mario Batali” shoe design. In a Crocs news release, Batali said that the model, created specifically for restaurant and food service industry professionals, “brings functionality for the kitchen to the equation producing a product that I am happy to support.”
Though the company has confirmed that it is discontinuing Batali’s beloved bright orange Crocs, its Batali-endorsed Bistro shoes will still be available in orange.
“Nothing lasts forever, baby,” Batali said.