An afternoon of thunderstorms and hail threatened to cancel Crocs's first-ever "fashion show" on Tuesday evening, held on the rooftop of the Holiday Inn in midtown Manhattan.
But by the time the first model walked down the runway — I mean, "funway" — in Crocs sandals and an elaborate parrot costume over a bikini, the sky had cleared up and the wind had died down completely. A diminished crowd was armed with ponchos in case the weather turned.
"Crocs is all about the fun of being a little bit different," said Katy Michael, VP of global communications at the company. "So we can't do anything normal, everything has to have a Crocs twist to it."
The funway show was certainly not normal. The models dance-walked the perimeter of the pool dressed in kitschy costumes, including a cowboy, Mexican wrestler, superhero, astronaut and daisy. Then the Aqualillies, a professional synchronized swimming and dance company, performed an elaborate (and unexpectedly revealing) routine inside the pool. All while wearing Crocs sandals, of course.
"This is a first time for us," said Michael. While the live audience was smallish, Crocs partnered with Twitter to promote a video version of the funway, called #FindYourFun. An online app allows Crocs fans around the world to choose a model, costume, shoe style and soundtrack to make their own 30-second video that the company is hoping shoppers will share across social media.
Crocs is hoping that the bold and colorful campaign is the beginning of a new chapter for the 12-year-old, Boulder-based company. After sluggish sales results, Crocs announced plans to lay off 183 employees and to close or convert 75 to 100 Crocs stores worldwide last July. A new senior vice president of global merchandising, Michelle Poole, was hired in August and a new CEO, Gregg Ribatt, joined in January. The brand is available in 90 countries and sold 56 million pairs of shoes last year, 27 million of which were its iconic clogs.
Those clogs just got a sales boost courtesy of Prince George, who was spotted wearing a blue pair at a charity polo match earlier this month. "It's the gift that keeps on giving," said Michael about young Prince's stylish influence. "Our EU business has really benefitted from the Prince wearing the shoes."
See more snaps from the Funway Runway below.