With a small-handed maniac in charge of the most powerful nation on earth, the imminent breakup of the European Union, the deterioration of the planet’s environmental equilibrium and the Pope himself, the pontiff on high, warning that rising populism could produce another Hitler, there has never been a more important time to wear some damn sexy socks. How on earth can we sort out this mess unless we’re warm, comfortable and looking our best?

Help us in this mission. Become our brethren. Join our movement. Join our club and use the code DoomedOrLoomed to get a sweet 15% off the marked price.

It ain’t all bad…

President TRUMP


A concise definition of the sense of smell, or olfaction, is that it is the “faculty of perceiving odours” (Oxford English Dictionary). Odours are vaporised chemical compounds that can be objectively identified and classified. If they are perceived to be pleasant they may be called aromas or fragrances, if unpleasant a stench or a stink.

Perception, though, is a complex neurophysiological process that draws from a personal library of memories and associations, sentiments and emotions, cultural influences and innate reactions that gives deeply textured meaning to such abstract stimuli through multiple layers of highly-personalised context. Smelling something then is a subjective experience that can weave introversive narratives, hallucinatory, or epiphanic in its effect.

In humans smell and taste are separate sensory systems, though they are closely linked and often perceived in tandem. The taste (and nose) of a fine wine is a harmony of flavours (and aromas) from various grape varieties, each characterised through contemporaneous climatic and topographic factors called terroir. So drinking or sniffing, if you know what you’re seeking, can be a journey through time and space – a wine’s minerality can transport you to the flinty banks of the Loire, its fruitiness to a particularly warm year somewhile ago when the vines produced vibrant fruit bursting with sugar, or even back centuries to when the ancient pedigrees of grape were first being carefully cultivated.

Perfumes are influenced by terroir in the same way as wines, and Timothy Han is one perfumer celebrating these subtle variations through his small-batch Edition Perfumes. Like a vintage, each perfume is created in a limited run and numbered to enable easy identification of the batch each bottle came from. Contemplating the terroir of each of the purest natural ingredients Han sources, though, is only the start of the olfactory journey he crafts.

Each fragrance features a specially commissioned work of art that is beautifully printed on its box, and each new edition of that fragrance is to feature a new work by that same artist. Each fragrance is further contextualised through taking its name and inspiration from a great work of literature.

“I don’t want you to experience my fragrances in the traditional manner, with the sense of smell isolated. I want all your senses to work together”

proclaims Han, echoing artists such as the aesthete Oscar Wilde, who perfumed the theatres in which his plays were performed to synaesthetically arouse audiences, or Richard Wagner, whose operas were so mighty they were called Gesamtkunstwerk. Indeed, Han himself traces this virtuous ambition’s inspiration to his experience working for another such total artist: John Galliano.

Timothy Han

“His ateliers off the Rue de la Roquette were an exciting place to work in the early nineties – filled with a plethora of larger-than-life characters who would go on to define the era. The fashion world was on the edge of change and he was one of the new designers pushing its creative boundaries. The period saw the rise of les createurs – designers like Galliano and Gaultier who wanted to free their imaginations and those of their customers.

“It was also a period where art and fashion began to merge. Fashion photographers such as Corinne Day and Ellen von Unwerth weren’t just taking glamorous photos, they were making bold artistic statements.

“Galliano was all about theatre. His shows were decadent and wild. He didn’t just present a dress, he would present a performance. Models would fight to work for free.”

And it was amongst this milieu that Han’s own olfactory adventure began.

“John was always burning scented candles that filled his atelier with fragrance. I loved it and, inspired, started my own small candle company. It went on to be a critical success, but sadly not a commercial one.

“Sometime later, having left Galliano for Givenchy, and then the fashion world entirely (to study architecture), I was with my friend the mixologist Paul Tvaroh and commented how difficult the drinkable perfumes he is famed for create must be to make. “Why?” he replied, “It’s easy. What’s a cocktail but alcohol and flavours? What’s a perfume but alcohol and fragrance? Are flavours not fragrance?”

Inspired, Han set out to create his first fragrance. “I had just finished reading She Came to Stay by Simone de Beauvoir and my starting point had been decided: I wanted to create a fragrance that reflected both the novel itself and my own experience of it.”

she came to stay 1

The magnificent result, She Came to Stay, is a fresh and woody concoction of geranium, basil, lemon, Indonesian clove, nutmeg, patchouli, vetiver, labdanum, oakmoss and cedarwood that was completed with artwork from the achingly cool American artist Kirtland Ash and was subsequently crowned the most seductive perfume at the Tatler Beauty Awards.

The faces depicted in Ash’s work emerge through layers of collage, giving them a Cubist multidimensionality. “The book talks about our relationship with ourself and with those around us”, observes the artist. “I wanted to reflect this in my work – interpreting perceptions of identity; of ourselves and of the other. Of how we find fragments of the familiar within the unknown. It is very much about knowing who we are.”

In such a way, Han and Ash continue and extend de Beauvoir’s semi-autobiographical work as well as the writings of its chief protagonist, the great existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. They have become pieces in a much larger collage, as do all those who choose to wear this perfume, this essence, this identity. It is little wonder that She Came to Stay became a bestseller at luxury London boutique Browns as quickly as it did.

Timothy Han

Identity, then, is central to olfaction, and so it is a vital theme to be further explored and more deeply examined in Edition Perfumes’ second fragrance, On The Road. Jack Kerouac’s great novel from which it takes its name and inspiration is, like de Beauvoir’s, largely autobiographical. Its road trips are journeys of self-discovery that are a search for identity as well as an affirmation of it – for the book’s protagonists as well as for the Beats as a whole as they stepped forth from the Lost Generation that preceded them.

on the road

This fragrance, airily augmented by Cedric Christie’s snapshot landscapes, draws us on that same journey “with smoky notes of benzoin and birch reminiscent of the hot asphalt and grittiness of New York, with forays into tobacco-filled jazz dens where a new era in music was being defined, through the open dusty cornfields of the Mid-West and on to the cedar forests of the Pacific Coast. The restlessness of the journey finally gives way to the optimism left by the fresh green fragrance of galbanum, citrus and bergamot.”

We have luxuriated in such psychotropic trips for millennia. The ancient practice of burning Oud – still popular in many cultures around the world, despite depleting resources – is said to trigger intimate, inward journeys through one’s own memories, bringing nostalgia, comfort and self-reflection. As the suppleness of the senses gently diminish with age, perhaps smell alone can claim to be enriched through the passing of time as it yields yet more complex and evocative experiences.

It is interesting to consider that in an age more driven and informed by science and technology than ever – in an age that can, for instance, identify chemical compounds that trigger the release of sex hormones in women, or send space probes through the solar system to sniff our signs of life in far away worlds – we do not place greater importance on such an intriguing, influential and pleasurable sensory faculty.

Linguistic and anthropologic studies suggest that it was the great thinkers of the Enlightenment who chose to place greater importance on what can been seen and heard – to such an extent that in the modern Western world we, as a consequence, lack the fundamental vocabulary to properly describe most smells – being limited to saying strawberries smell of strawberries or limes of limes. At the same time, we can say they are red and sweet or green and sour.

Some cultures that have developed outside the sphere of Western thought show a far deeper capacity for olfactory perception, such as the Ongee tribe, for whom “smell is the primary sensory medium through which the categories of space, time and the person are conceptualised” (Olfaction, Taste, and Cognition).

Unsurprisingly, in the West, it is a community of people for whom the aural faculties are of little or no importance who treat olfaction with the sophistication it deserves. The deaf community have been dancing amongst specially curated and dissipated wafts of scent, created by “aroma DJs”, for some time now while the rest of us have been revelling amongst the funk that remained once the smokers moved outside.

Surely now it’s time for us all to reawaken our sense of smell. With artisanal perfumers like Timothy Han leading the way, it could be truly, and wholly, sensational.

Links:

Timothy Han Edition Perfumes

Olfaction, Taste, and Cognition

Written by Dominic Dowbekin.

Photography by Nathalie Thery


Everyone’s got a dad, and almost all cultures pick a day on which to celebrate them. Different cultures celebrate in different ways, some stooped in ancient tradition and others driven by modern consumerism.


Here are three of our favourites:

  1. Father’s Day in Germany is called Männertag or Herrentag (“men’s day” or “gentlemen’s day”) and it is traditional for groups of men to go hiking, dragging behind them carts of beer, wine and other provisions. This is rooted in the Ascension Day processions of Christians in the area in the 18th Century, when local men would be ferried by cart to the town square where he with the most offspring would be awarded a large ham. Although the religious component was lost over the years, the practice continued, morphing into what many a German gent uses today as a great excuse to get drunk with his mates!

  2. In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the same day as the king’s birthday (similarly, Mother’s Day is on the queen’s). The birthday of the current king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), is on December 5 and that of the current queen, Sirikit, is on August 12. Traditionally, Thais celebrate by giving their patriarch a canna flower. People also wear yellow to show respect for the king (yellow being the colour for Monday, the day on which he was born). Many congregate in Sanam Luang park in front of the palace in Bangkok for his annual speech, lighting candles and declaring their faith. The ceremony became popular in the 1980s as Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda worked to promote the royal family and it continues to be observed nationwide to this day.

  3. The French have celebrated fathers day since the Middle Ages, when it was celebrated on March 19, the day of Saint Joseph (the foster-father of Jesus). This ancient religious festival was slowly forgotten, but a day to celebrate fatherhood was reimagined and reinstated in the 20th century as a flamboyant marketing scheme by a Breton brand of lighters. Flaminaire sold the first gasoline lighters in 1908. They were luxury items in their day and, since most men smoked, quickly became a traditional gift on Father’s Day, or Fête des Pères as it’s called in France. This new, commercialised celebration lands on the third Sunday in June – the same day as in the USA, UK and many other countries around the world – and was institutionalised in France in 1952. Although it’s doubtful many fathers still receive fancy lighters on Fête des Pères these days, gift-giving remains standard and children now often make paper ties and bowties to give as presents. People give roses too, which are a symbol of Father’s Day in France with red ones given to the living and white ones placed on the graves of the dead.

If the above traditions seem a little odd for your dad, maybe he’ll simply enjoy relaxing at home in front of the finale of the US Open. Or, if he’s been especially good this year, maybe he deserves something extra special – like membership to most luxury sock club in the world! Either way, we each only get one Dad – so make sure he feels special this Father’s Day.


#DadsLoveSocks





Written by Dominic Dowbekin.
Photography by Nathalie Thery


Each quarter, we chat to some of the industry’s leading talent. From established influencers to that new hidden talent, we arrange a little tête-à-tête to suss them out.

Maurice T. Greig

Suppliers get left out of the picture all too often, but the Greig & Greig Partnership plays a major role in achieving Socky’s mission of sourcing and delivering the very finest socks to its members wherever they are in the world. So, this quarter, we caught up with Maurice…

By Nathalie Thery.

Maurice T. Greig

I had only met Maurice once before, though was greeted upon my return to his charming Chelsea studio with the warmest of smiles and a great fuss over whether I would prefer tea or coffee. I had dropped by to interview Maurice about his deep experience of the luxury retail industry and came prepped with notes and questions. Instead, I got a friendly conversation, and a delightfully insightful one too.

As a boy, Maurice attended an English school in Rome before moving to Dundee to study for his masters degree in Civil Engineering and Economics. As happens to many of us, young and unsure of what we wanted to do, he soon realised it wasn’t the life for him (one presumes he refers to both Civil Engineering and Dundee here). And all the better for us too, as after working for brands like Jaeger, Dunhill, Laura Ashley and Dawson International, Maurice went on to establish The Greig & Greig Partnership with his brother in ’94, Casa Italia in ’98 and Hardy & Parsons in ’02

The Greig & Greig Partnership is dedicated to introducing new niche brands and products into the UK, Italy and Ireland as well as into key markets, such as Japan, France, Germany and the US. Maurice focused initially on the UK and Irish markets for Italian companies whilst his brother Robert, who is based in Milan, concentrated on the Italian market for British and Irish brands. Today The Greig & Greig Partnership’s UK operation represents a port-folio of brands from the USA and UK as well as Italy.

I started picking his brain to find out what makes him tick, and he pressed on the importance of good craftsmanship and quality control. Hardy & Parsons make superbly crafted belts and leather goods using the best English vegetable-dyed bridle-butt leather with solid brass, nickel, pewter or alloy fittings. Every item he makes is carefully inspected and no item ever goes out if it isn’t perfect.

He says mass-production “takes the waiting out of wanting” and throws quality control out the window, but he is beginning to see a shift in the industry and a return to customers demanding quality over convenience. The online mar-ket place is one cause of this shift, though more important is an ideological change in how we perceive industrialisation. “We are in the era to watch the rise of bespoke fashions.

Maurice T. Greig

”Our conversation leads to socks (of course), and for Maurice comfort is paramount. “Long socks are the only way to go”, he says emphatically, “they hold up, don’t gather at the ankles and keep hairy legs hidden from view”. He feels there is a need to educate people about long socks, and we couldn’t agree more!

I left the studio chuckling at Maurice’s stories of his beloved bell-bottoms in the sixties, of an incident involving Cary Grant in the Jaeger store many years ago and about his iconic quick release belt. I couldn’t implore you more to make the trip and hear for yourself.

 


The first brain scans of men and women having sex and reaching orgasm have revealed striking differences in the way each experiences sexual pleasure.

While male brains focus heavily on the physical stimulation involved in sexual contact, this is just one part of a much more complex picture for women, scientists in the Netherlands have found.

The key to female arousal seems rather to be deep relaxation and a lack of anxiety, with direct sensory input from the genitals playing a less critical role.

The scans show that during sexual activity, the parts of the female brain responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion start to relax and reduce in activity. This reaches a peak at orgasm, when the female brain’s emotion centers are effectively closed down to produce an almost trance-like state.

The male brain was harder to study during orgasm, because of its shorter duration in men, but the scans nonetheless revealed important differences. Emotion centers were deactivated, though apparently less intensely than in women, and men also appear to concentrate more on the sensations transmitted from the genitals to the brain.

Nadia Rahmat

This suggests that for men, the physical aspects of sex play a much more significant part in arousal than they do for women, for whom ambiance, mood and relaxation are at least as important.

“Men find it more important to be stimulated on the penis than women find it to be stimulated on the clitoris,” Gert Holstege of the University of Groningen said. “We know from these images that each sex experiences stimulation differently.”

The experiments also revealed a rather surprising effect: both men and women found it easier to have an orgasm when they kept their socks on. Drafts in the scanning room left couples complaining of “literally cold feet,” and providing a pair of socks allowed 80 percent rather than 50 percent to reach a climax while their brains were scanned.

The scans also show that while women may be able to fool their partners with a fake orgasm, the difference is obvious in the brain. Parts of the brain that handle conscious movement light up during fake orgasms but not during real ones, while emotion centers close down during the real thing but never when a woman is pretending.

In the study, a team at the University of Groningen led by Gert Holstege scanned the brains of 13 women and 11 men using a technique called positron emission tomography (PET), while they manually stimulated to orgasm by their partners. All were heterosexual and right-handed, the latter to ensure that all their brains could be easily compared.

The subjects’ heads were restrained in the PET scanner during the procedure, as it only works if the body area being scanned remains still. The dimensions of the scanner and the need for stillness also explain why the researchers were unable to study intercourse itself.

In both sexes, activity in the amygdala, which processes fear and anxiety, was reduced during stimulation. Women, but not men, showed lower activity in the hippocampus, important for memory, as well.

In men, greater activity was seen in the insula, which deals with emotion, and particularly in the secondary somatosensory cortex, which rates the significance of physical sensations. This suggests that the sensory input coming from the genitals is being judged highly important and pleasurable by the brain.

Women, however, show very little increased brain activity, and only in the primary somatosensory cortex – which registers purely that a sensation in the genitals is there.”In women the primary feeling is there, but not the marker that this is seen as a big deal,” Dr Holstege said.”For males, touch itself is all-important. For females, it is not so important.”

As orgasm lasts much longer in women than in men, it is easier to study using PET – male ejaculation is over so quickly it is hard to get a reliable reading. The scans showed that in the female orgasm, activity is reduced across all the brain regions – conscious and subconscious – that handle emotion, including the amygdale, medial prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex.

What this means is that deactivation, letting go of all fear and anxiety, might be the most important thing, even necessary, to have an orgasm, Dr Holstege said.

First appeared on Elite Daily Jan 3, 2012


To get the most out of Socksy’s fine products, or indeed out of any luxury item, they should be treated properly and cared for well. Our products are made from an array of the finest fibres and fabrics, each needing to be treated in its own way. The following guide is designed to walk you through the steps to ensure our machine-washable products maintain their excellent standards. Fabrics such as silk and cashmere need to be hand-washed. Always check the label first.

Wash your socks separately

In order to keep the colours of your dress socks vibrant, they need to be washed separately. This helps to prevent them from accumulating lint. High-quality dress socks are knitted using only the highest-quality yarns and so will not lint themselves. Lint comes from lower-quality, “plusher” items such as sport socks and bath towels. Separating your dress socks from these items will keep the colours bold for longer.

Turn inside-out

Another important safeguard against the accumulation of lint is washing your socks inside-out. It takes a little additional time to turn all the socks inside-out before washing and right-side-out after, but it is the best way to ensure that your socks never accumulate impossible-to-remove white lint and continue to look vibrant. The inside of the sock would be what accumulates the lint, not the outside. So, when you turn the sock right-side-out, it would be lint-free.

Wash in cold water, gentle cycle, with light detergent

Wash your socks in the gentle cycle with cold water and light detergent. It is possible to buy specially-formulated enzyme-based detergent that prevents fading. The use of enzyme detergents rather than petroleum-based solvents also helps to protect the integrity of cotton fibres, which helps to prevent “fuzzing.”

Turn right-side, dry and pair

When the cycle is complete, remove the socks, turn them right-side out and hang to dry. Allowing your dress socks to hang dry is perhaps one of the most important steps of the process. The high heat of a dryer causes the elastic in the top band to break down and stretch and can also weaken the cotton fibres.

When dry, fold or roll them into pairs. It is important to do this gently so as not to cause any unnecessary stretching. Organising your socks into pairs is a safeguard against missing socks. There is nothing more annoying than discovering that one sock has gone missing…

If you are short on time, washing your dress socks separately in cold water on a delicate cycle and hanging them out to dry will do wonders for the long-term care of your socks.

Article first appeared on the Hanger Project


Not long ago, my favourite cat was in town. We tossed around balls of socks and chugged down cups of her favourite cat-nip tea, then headed out and about in search of some fun. I was excited to have her in London as my personal rag-doll for the evening. We dressed, dragged and snapped her round town. In our finest range of socks, accompanied with clothes from American Vintage, we took her to London Fields and Broadway Market, which became a personal playground where the kids don’t matter.

Nadia Rahmat

Maybe you already know her as skinnykatwoman or as one of the new faces of the latest Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign, but I first met Nadia a couple of years ago back home in Singapore. She immediately struck me as somebody that’s gonna be somebody someday. Her stunning beauty combined with a personality that stops traffic, it was a no-brainer.

These days, you can find her turning heads at ritzy sushi joint, Kilo, or “contorting her body into aesthetically appealing poses in front of the camera”, cheekily avoiding the fact that she could just be called a model. Trust me, this girl moves mountains with her face.

Nadia Rahmat

I have shot Nadia before, but this was slightly different. Her dressing philosophy is completely juxtaposed to what we put her in that night. “If it makes people go “why/how/what”, then I’m wearing it…”

Nadia Rahmat

Socksy was originally aimed to serve the discerning man, but our soirée with Nadia goes to show that these are socks for anyone with a passion for style, art and design. Break the paradox. Who are we to stereotype? “People are still assigning types of clothing to specific genders and that’s such a backward way of thinking,” she laments, “we should be free to wear whatever we want, as long as we are comfortable in it.”

Nadia Rahmat

We ended the night in a seedy basement bar in Hackney. With live music blaring upstairs and all in high spirits, we realised this girl had plenty to say and we listened. All our cards are on the table, and all we have is a full house. The best combination to bring out who you are. To be part of a community who understands and embraces the need for self-expression, starting from the feet-up.

Nadia Rahmat

“I follow the words of dream hampton”, she tells me, “Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.”

Nathalie Théry

Nadia Rahmat

Credits
Model: Nadia Rahmat
Photography & Text: Nathalie Théry
Styling: Ella Moore
Make Up: Dusk Williams
Clothes: American Vintage, Urban Outfiters