By  on January 24, 2005

NEW YORK — Good walking shoes are essential for touring “The Gates,” the latest exhibit from artists Jeanne-Claude and Christo that extends along 23 miles of footpaths in New York’s Central Park. So it seems appropriate that a souvenir tied to the project is a pair of socks.

Ozone Design is manufacturing The Gates socks at $15 retail to be sold starting this week in conjunction with the Central Park Conservancy.

Laurie Mallet, president and chief executive officer of Ozone, has known the artist couple for nearly 30 years — “I’m French and they’re French” is all she would offer about the association —  and has manufactured T-shirts commemorating their previous exhibits. This is the first time the company will offer socks.

“The Gates” is an estimated $20 million to $30 million project that is financed entirely by the artists, who do not accept sponsorships or donations. They also don’t want to see a penny from sock sales, indicated by the disclaimer sewn into the sole of the sock that states, “Christo and Jeanne-Claude will not derive any income from the sale of The Gates merchandise. Proceeds will benefit Central Park, other New York City parks and Nurture New York’s Nature, Inc.”

Starting this week, as construction begins on hanging the 7,500 panels of orange fabric along the park’s paths, the socks will be available online and at seven temporary The Gates gift shops throughout the park. Ozone is also producing two shirt styles to be sold.

Buzz around “The Gates” has hit high-end brands as well. Hermès will offer a $295 commemorative scarf that will also benefit Nurture New York’s Nature.

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