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For a minute, last summer, I was firmly convinced that an upheaval in Thom Browne’s sockless trend was on the cards. The Sartorialist and Face Hunter had spotted a few dandies about Europe who were oddly sporting ankle socks with their lace-ups as opposed to venturing out sockless and, upon seeing this, I was quick to herald it as trend to watch for. Optimistic as I was, Louis Vuitton’s perforated richelieu shoe has definitely put a dent in that once-upon-a-time high. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether Browne’s sockless fad inspired these LV shoes, but I have to admit that the shoe’s perforated aesthetic gives those sockless goers a more attention-grabbing twist to their vogue.

Fortunately, these perforated lace-ups come in enough whimsical styles and colors for your imagination to run amuck. For instance, the dark fashions of winter would mesh well with the jet black anthracite richelieu shoe while the beige and cocoa hues of the navigator richelieu shoe are a go for those summery months.

Now there’s no reason why one could not wear these perforated lace-ups with socks. Nevertheless, throwing caution to the wind and experimenting with inept colored socks is sure to produce a double dose of eccentricity that may be too much to pull off or for onlookers to stomach. For starters, the perforated nature of the shoe is enough quirk so playing it safe in the sock department will suffice. In the case of the anthracite richelieu, a traditional black on black works best. On the contrary, I personally would do away with any socks when wearing navigator richelieu. Featured in Louis Vuitton’s summer 2009 catalog, the navigator richelieu’s design coupled with the tan colors screams tropics and promenades where stuffy socks are definitely not welcome.

With all this said, as partial as I am to see socks worn with lace-ups, I have to say these perforated shoes are far more striking when worn sockless. Even though I’ve elaborated on the ways socks can be paired with these perforated shoes, judging from the SS09 Louis Vuitton’s men show, they were made to be worn sans les chaussettes!

Louis Vuitton anthracite richelieu calf-leather shoes ($975) and navigator richelieu suede calf-leather shoes ($675) are available at


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