Rupert Murdoch Sparks Divisive Wedding Style Trend As He Ties Knot With Bride #5

Old dog, new kicks.

Rupert Murdoch Sparks Divisive Wedding Style Trend As He Ties Knot With Bride #5

Image: Sky

Rupert Murdoch has sparked debate by wearing sneakers at his wedding, challenging traditional fashion norms.

Following hot on the heels of Joe Biden’s fall-resistant Hoka sneakers, another very rich geriatric has bucked style convention by wearing some surprisingly stylish casual shoes alongside his formalwear. This time, it’s billionaire media mogul and Australia’s least-loved export, Rupert Murdoch.

Making headlines once again, but this time not for his controversial media empire or outsized political influence, Murdoch married his fifth wife, Elena Zhukova, in a lavish ceremony at his Tuscan-style vineyard in Bel Air, Los Angeles earlier this week. While the event itself was naturally a mass-media spectacle, it was Murdoch’s choice of footwear that somehow stole the show.

Breaking The Mould

Traditionally, a wedding suit is paired with polished leather dress shoes — Oxfords or Derbies that naturally signify formality and sophistication. However, Murdoch controversially opted for a pair of sneakers, a move that has ignited something of a flurry of debate across the internet.

Critics argue that such a casual choice undermines the elegance of formalwear, while supporters hail it as a modern, potentially practical twist. Eugene Rabkin, editor of StyleZeitgeist, said this,

“Casualisation has penetrated so far up the chain of formality that it would almost be punk for him to wear leather shoes.”

Fashion purists are quick to point out that a suit and sneakers clash, defying all traditional expectations around wedding attire. The requisite footwear for a formal suit has always been a hard-soled leather shoe, which “finishes” the look and acts as a coded social signifier of courtesy and good manners. Jim Moore, the creative director of GQ, emphasised the importance of this traditional choice, pointing to instances where political figures have faced scrutiny for their casual footwear in the Oval Office.

Rupert Murdoch and his new wife, Elena Zhukova, sat next to each other.
The footwear in question. Image: NYT

Function or Fashion?

Murdoch’s new bride, Elena Zhukova, a retired molecular biologist, donned a more traditionally elegant, ankle-length off-white cocktail dress paired with matching pumps. Some fashion experts have speculated that Murdoch’s choice to start from convention was driven by practicality rather than a desire to make a fashion statement. Nick Sullivan, creative director of Esquire, suggested this:

“Most likely the addition of sneakers for a lawn wedding was just common sense.”

The debate over Murdoch’s wedding sneakers highlights a broader trend in fashion: the blending of casual and formal elements. In recent years, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lines between these two styles have become increasingly blurred, with sneakers making appearances in contexts once considered off-limits.

Rupert Murdoch and his new wife, Elena Zhukova, sat next to each other.
The happy couple. Image: SMH

This writer can’t help but wonder if Murdoch’s age might be a factor her etoo. At 93, the media mogul is getting on a bit and would likely benefit from a comfier, more supportive shoe while standing for such a prolonged period of time. This is especially true in such a public context where he’ll doubtlessly want to appear strong, fit, and stable. This theory puts him very much in-line with Biden’s special sneakers, mentioned earlier.

While not everyone is on board with this trend, fearing that the erosion of formal dress codes could lead to a broader decline in decorum and respect for once-significant occasions, the sight of Murdoch pulling off this style sidestep proves one of two things: either that casualisation has reached maximum societal penetration or, more likely, that if you’re rich enough, you really can do whatever you want.

Whether Murdoch’s footwear choice will set a new trend or remain a one-off curiosity is yet to be seen. One thing is certain, though: Murdoch still knows how to get people talking.