PARIS • Sandals with socks are no longer a fashion faux pas worthy of a flogging.
In fact, they are positively the way to go if Paris catwalks last Thursday were any indication.
The dorky look previously confined to superannuated boy scouts and embarrassing uncles appeared at three major menswear shows, with no less than Louis Vuitton giving them its imprimatur.
Its British designer Kim Jones sent out nearly 20 models in his Hawaii-themed show in sandals and socks.
Pigalle followed suit with Nike sandals.
Ami went one step beyond into total taboo territory with white socks and sandals.
Singer-turned-fashion maven Rihanna began the rehabilitation of the look regarded as a sartorial abomination when she was spotted in black slide sandals and socks in April.
The horror had hardly subsided when the second-most famous Kardashian, model Kendall Jenner, turned up on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in high- heeled sandals and twinkly transparent socks last month.
Louis Vuitton commissioned a song for its show from Canadian rapper Drake, which may yet mark the official catwalk "coming out" of the socks-and-sandals trend.
Jones said his inspiration for the show came from his reading of Atlas Of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited And Never Will.
"Someone gave me the book... and I realised I'd been to about all of them," he added.
But Hawaii was his principal source, he said, specifically its "extreme sports" of surfing, windsurfing, trekking and hiking.
All of which challenges Jones' models were dressed to bravely confront in socks and sandals.
The sportwear-heavy collection seemed to be out to combine wetsuit and business suit, with a shiny, rainsoaked windcheater sheen to much of his creations, which included a crocodile-skin cardigan and imaginary Hawaiian patterns turning up on his Aloha-influenced shirts.
Jaw-dropping as so many besocked sandals were, the most spectacular sight of the day was the set of the Rick Owens show outside the Palais de Tokyo museum.
The Los Angeles avant-gardist sent out his goth army of models from the roof of the art deco museum onto a huge 16m-high scaffolded catwalk that wound its way down around its monumental facade and fountains.
Owens said the modern art museum is his favourite building in the French capital, "an art deco Wagnerian Valhalla". In Norse mythology, Valhalla is an enormous hall presided over by the god Odin.
His extravagant set, Owens added, was "a way of caressing its inner walls and licking every inch of a building whose only purpose is as a temple to beauty".
"I was thinking of Tatlin's Tower (a grand building envisioned by Russian artist-architect Vladimir Tatlin that was never realised) set to Led Zeppelin's 1971 hit Stairway To Heaven," he added.
Rarely shifting from his trademark 50 shades of black in a collection he called Dirt, his most eye-catching innovations were his human saddlebags, strapped around the waist and worn on the thigh.
And rather than Led Zeppelin, his models marched to Egyptian Lover's cult 1994 song I Need A Freak.
The freak chic continued at Taiwanese newcomer Angus Chiang's debut show, where he mixed Day-Glo skin-tight cycling and Formula One gear with Mickey Mouse shoes.
Some models also wore fishnet tights, while others had Ziploc bags on their heads.
Chiang cited his native island's "betel nut beauties" as one of his influences.
The women in sexy outfits were long a fixture of Taiwanese streetscapes, selling betel nuts and cigarettes to passing lorry drivers.