Everything Gourmet

The Emperor’s New Socks

The original socks worn by Napoleon. Photo Courtesy Les Chaussettes Rouges. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Paris, France — As France and the world gear up for the 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte on May 5th, 2021, some people are pulling up his socks. Not exactly his socks but special pairs that have been brought out by the French house of Mes Chaussettes Rouges (My Red Socks) in a boxed gift set. The Paris-based house is specialized in luxury socks for men and women in myriad materials and has acquired a pair of the emperor’s socks, referred to as stockings back in the 19th century, which until recently was found in the collection of the Princes Palace of Monaco.

Napoleon style socks from the house of Les Chaussettes Rouges, here in white. Photo Courtesy Les Chaussettes Rouges. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Each pair of socks represents an event in the life of Napoleon. The Brienne, named for the military school that Napoleon entered as the age of 10, are in steely blue like his uniform. The Consul, evoking his first title and during which he consolidated his power, are in the color red. The Emperor socks are in ecru silk commemorating the outfit worn by Napoleon for his coronation which consecrated the color white as an official garb. Fashioned in green, his favorite color, the Chasseurs de la garde impériale evoke his Imperial Guard military unit of the same name. The Grenadier de la garde socks, evoking the Grenadier regiment of the Imperial Guard, are in blue. And finally the Esslings in white with a blood red mark on them to evoke his injury to the foot at the Battle of Aspern-Essling, which the French lost.

While the original socks were fashioned in white cotton, five of the pairs in the Mes Chaussettes Rouges collection are made in Scottish Cotton Lisle Thread while a sixth pair, The Emperor, is in silk. The socks are boxed in a replica of the Place Vendôme column which was built to celebrate the glory of the Empire. The box is adorned with exact copies of the decorative e friezes on the column that celebrate the exploits of Napoleon Bonaparte. The boxed set has been brought out in a limited edition of 1,821, marking the year of the death of the Emperor.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette

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