Knee high socks, Prada and The Queen

By Carolyn Managh - July 16, 2011

It’s a glorious Daylesford winter morning and I’m tucked up in bed still recovering from recent visit to hospital; all toasty under two feather duvets, one woollen blanket and a possum throw.  But something’s missing? Serenading French Army around the bed? Good hair? Jumping out of bed to go make a pot of tea, warm feet hit the Titanic chill of naked floor boards. Ahhh… that’s it…socks! With no Marks and Spencer, Sock Shop or even British Home Stores (bhs) just down the road, a whole new plan is needed for this sock crisis.

Adjusting from European High Street to village shops has been interesting. Previously my shopping basket wove around Selfridges and Marylebone High Street (London), Galleries Lafayette and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (Paris). Happily, I haven’t exactly landed in a shopping desert, as Daylesford has probably the most picturesque streetscape of boutique shops and florists that one is ever likely to find in Australia. It’s a delicious mix of artisan (lots of wrought iron, handmade paper, Alpca clothing), art, homewares, antiques, collectibles, wool, and quite surprisingly, great kitchenware. The chicest of all has to be Peonies and Picnics, with its rustic French linen table clothes and napkins, antique French glassware and Gallic pewter plates and platters, piled up on antique European furniture.  But no knee high socks in sight!

daylesford shop montage
Boutique shops on Howe St, Daylesford.

 

That’s right, knee high socks. The Queen commented a few years ago that her favourite outfit is Hunter Wellies, knee socks and tweed trousers and jacket. Sarah Jessica Parker clearly picked up the idea from her and went one step further and then handed the now third-hand idea onto Prada, who’s gone all knee-to-toe cashmere. But the true heartland of knee high socks is in the country; worn with jeans, oversized jumper, scarf and wellies. The Queen agrees, so it must be right.

long sock and wellies
The Queen politely declined using her photo for this blog, But sent her best wishes.

 

Took a while to find the perfect Queen-worthy pair on the internet but eventually stumbled upon Kabbaz-Kelly, a not-so-pretty, crammed site, stocked with a magnificent selection of Italian and Swiss cashmere (and silk) everything. Including socks! This jumble of an online store instantly bought back memories of shopping expeditions across the Nice border over to Ventimiglia in Italy. Every Friday, Ventimiglia plays host to the largest open air market in Europe- its cashmere, silk, leather, scarf and shoe heaven, piled high on tables or hanging from the sides of the stand. Absolutely no finesse taken with the merchandising, but beautiful quality products at outrageously low prices. I’ve been buying socks and hosiery there for years. With Ventimiglia no longer on my doorstep, Kabbaz-Kelly is definitely the next best thing.

ventimiglia italy
Ventimiglia, the spiritual home of cashmere socks

 

I finally settled on two pairs, made from a fine mix of cashmere and silk (thick socks make your legs look thicker (aka sausages). Just hope my legs have have become skinny by the time they arrive (5-7 days).

Carolyn Managh

When Carolyn isn’t interviewing and writing about stylish people and events from Melbourne to Poland, Auckland to Paris; she is coach, campaigner (and often surrogate parent) for young people, writing books, marketer for glamourous business around the world and occasionally paid to write fabulous articles for fabulous magazines.

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4 Responses to “Knee high socks, Prada and The Queen”

  • lostmagazine says:

    Outrageous that one cannot buy socks in this frosty land!! are you sure?? or is this simply an excuse to shop online in ones pjs???

  • Carolyn Managh says:

    These weren't just any socks.. they were Queen-worthy cashmere and silk knee high socks. Now if I needed a raincoat or rain hat, then fabulous Australian original, Driza-Bone would definitely be my first point of call. But it isn't raining in my bedroom at the moment.

  • The Field of Gold says:

    You need a trip to good old Farmers!!

  • Carolyn Managh says:

    What a shame that Farmers Department store isn't in Australia or Daylesford. Maybe if it received a Royal Seal then they would launch here?

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