If you’ve flown into Los Angeles International Airport anytime in the last 50 years, the final segment of your journey may have taken you down a long hallway featuring a gorgeous colour-blocked tile mural. Well, on your next flight to LA, you can wear the socks to match it.
The murals are the work of artist Charles D. Kratka, who completed them in 1961. Even if you haven’t experienced them in person, you might have seen their cameo in the opening titles of Jackie Brown.
According to his obituary in the Los Angeles Times, Kratka hoped to make the 100m tunnels feel a bit less endless by recreating the colours of a flight over the US: blue on either side for oceans, with green fields, grey mountains, and red deserts in between.
These are classic and somewhat hidden midcentury works of art that even carry a price of admission: you can only see them if you have a plane ticket to LA.
At one point, the murals were in seven tunnels, one under each terminal. With renovations and security changes, not every terminal still uses them, sadly. I know travellers can still access the ones under Terminals 3, 4 and 5, although, in Terminal 4, the moving walkway you see in Jackie Brown covers half of the mural up.
Frequent flights to LA inspired Portland-based sportswear company The Athletic to recreate the hallways as the LAX Airport Socks. Here’s the catch, which I might say is quite brilliant: The socks come as a set of three different-coloured socks, so you can mix and match them to create a Kratka mural on your own two feet. (If you really want a pair, buy two sets.) Consider it local camouflage, letting you blend in to the halls you walk through.
For those of you who prefer textiles to tile, the Athletic also makes socks inspired by the carpet in Portland, Oregon’s airport.