Cory Kennedy’s socks went up for sale on eBay last week. Club denizens, East and West Coast scenesters and many, many teenage girls know Kennedy as the muse and sometime girlfriend of nightlife documentarian Mark “the Cobrasnake” Hunter. Others who don’t know her by name may recognize her as the doe-eyed girl in Hunter’s snapshots here in his L.A. Weekly photo column and countless other places on the Web and in fashion magazines. Clicking through the gazillion photos on Hunter’s Cobrasnake Web site, you usually see Kennedy and Hunter at one of the thousand crazy parties that they may or may not have been invited to (though these days, they have more invitations than they can handle). The socks, stolen from Kennedy’s 18th birthday party in New York, are dirty, white, size 7 to 9, and gross.

At first, various livejournal blogs noticed the auction. Then New York magazine picked up the story when the socks were going for $10.50. The search engine Technorati noticed them at around $45. In a sense, the sock sale is a parallel to Cory’s ascent into fame as an Internet It-girl for being absolutely nothing more than scruffy, cute and Cory. With her sleepy eyes, rabbit nose, slender frame and pretty young face, she is undeniably compelling to gaze at. Magnetic, even.

Many questions arise, both philosophical and practical: What is the winner going to do with the socks? Who would buy them? How does Cory herself feel about the auction? Is any pair of socks worth $45? (Jackie Kennedy, maybe, but Cory Kennedy?) For that matter, what does it say about contemporary society that a pair of dirty socks can command such a price? There is a UCLA anthropology senior thesis just dying to be written on that one.

The answers to these vexing questions are: frame them perhaps; stalkers and Frenchmen; weird; yes, for Jackie Kennedy’s; and probably nothing.

The more salient question, since fraud is rampant on the Internet, is: How do you know they’re really, truly her socks? There is an eBay “no knock-offs” policy, but provenance is notoriously difficult to authenticate in the realm of antiquities, even grimy sock antiquities. For that answer, we turn to Hunter himself.

The back story on the socks
is that he threw a party for Cory at her friend Isabelle’s house. The house is tiny. People crammed in. “For atmosphere,” as he puts it, guests were asked to remove their shoes at the door and stand on pillows strewn about on the floor, which quickly became saturated with layers of the Red Bull and vodka Hunter had arranged to be delivered in unlimited quantities to the party.

“Poor Cory’s fancy pair of $15 orthopedic socks were coated in gross residue by the end of the night,” he says. “They were like a mop. I took pictures of them, and as a joke we put them up for auction. We say they were stolen to give them a bit of intrigue.”

Hunter’s friends from high school started the auction. Bidding began at 49 cents (shipping $1.25), but Hunter was hoping a last-minute frenzy might ensue and bring them to $70. FYI, his friends’ eBay store, Hippo Gorilla Giraffe, is where he and Cory sell their old clothes. So if “super special Cory Kennedy pre-owned party socks … unwashed” are not your thing, there may still be a super-special vintage dress in your future.

“The socks will come with a certificate of authenticity, which is a hand-written piece of paper signed by Cory, which I haven’t written yet,” says Hunter. He will mail the socks out in a biohazard bag. “Hey, what’s it called?” he asks his friend when I ask, via cell phone, who the likely bidders might be. (Incoherent mumbling in background as they discuss.) “Foot what? Foot fetish. Maybe some of those people will be interested.”

It’s early evening when we talk, and Cory is sleeping off jetlag from their trip to Paris for fashion week. She will, no doubt, rise like a vampire when the sun sets. They posted the auction while in Paris and at one of the shows, a Frenchman approached Cory and assured her, “You are fantastique. I am beeding on yeour socks.”

Hunter, his friends, and Cory plan to split the proceeds three ways, which, as it turns out, amounts to $46 by auction’s end. The socks were won by someone named Charlotte Agnew, who may or may not be Hunter et al. masquerading as a real person. Hunter speculates they’ll use the cash for go-kart racing or miniature golf. For her part, Cory, who wore the socks that fateful birthday night with a Nicholas K. top, vintage vest, Hermès belt and Earnest Sewn jeans, is hoping they go to “someone who really likes socks.” She plans to use her cut to buy (you guessed it) new socks.

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