Ready to Wear: Enter the humble sock in its not quite so humble glory

Fashion has cast off any whimsical tendencies in favour of all that is pragmatic, or so the story goes.

Buying a winter coat that actually keeps its wearer warm, for example, is high on the agenda for autumn/winter – and that, truth to tell, is sensible almost to the point of uninteresting.

Not everything in this most practical of all possible worlds is quite so grounded in boring old reality, however.

We may currently be hankering after nothing more obviously show-stopping than the kind of neutrally hued outerwear that MaxMara is famous for – and, for the record, this label remains purveyor of some of the world's finest coats – but there's always room for a touch of fashion folly, surely?

Enter the humble sock in its no longer quite so humble glory.

Anyone who normally buys theirs in packs of three needs to adjust their sock-buying habits, pronto. The statement ("it"?) sock is henceforward the height of chic and, in the most gifted of hands, it combines extreme modishness with warmth, and sparkling wit with more than a little good sense. It should come as no great surprise that quite the finest example hails from Miuccia Prada.

The designer who has in the past given the world jarringly coloured knee-high designs notable for the fact that they have no feet, and rib-knit grey tights covered in crystal (to name just two exuberant hosiery moments) has excelled herself once again.

This time around, the bourgeois-with- a-quintessentially-Prada-esque twist aesthetic that this designer is known and loved for is made all the more desirable by the presence of thigh-high Argyle knit socks, either in cobalt blue and tan or grey, or in dark grey and red – and very lovely they look too.

These, the first lady of Italian style has decreed, must be folded over to the knee and worn with not even remotely sensible footwear – that would be too obvious by far – but with patent leather spike-heeled court shoes, or strappy sandals trimmed with bows, in ruby, cobalt blue again, and – Prada's favourite – brown.

The merest flash of skin between the hem of a pencil or A-line skirt is the secret to total fashionability here, crucially.

You have been told.

s.frankel@independent.co.uk

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