Though it has been proclaimed dead many times over, the necktie is a sartorial instrument that will never fade away.
The necktie is not a silk strangler; nautical style goes upscale; the best military pieces are found online; a fragrant and sensual night in London.
The tie is dead or dying. Leave it at home. Give it away. Whatever you do, don’t wear it because apparently men have stopped wearing the silk stranglers. Obama, Putin, Harry (as in Prince), and many Hollywood stars have opted out of the knot. If you’re looking for more proof, just refer to last year’s JPMorgan Chase memo that details the company’s descent into the casualization of the office. In one of the largest financial institutions in the world, you can now roll in to work sans tie (and suit). Imagine that.
Christophe Goineau, artistic director of men’s silks at Hermès, sees the social forecast another way. The tie is not dead; its role has evolved. Where once it transmitted elegance or strictness, now it speaks of boldness and character. “Wearing a tie is a pleasure and not an obligation anymore. This difference is fundamental,” he says. “The tie has become more personal. It is now a matter of individual choice. It expresses the real personality of its owner.”
How you dress now “There are people who wear ties for special occasions because it is the norm. Then there is a whole other type of people that wear a tie because they just feel like it. The younger generation sees ties nowadays more as an accessory.”
Breaking all the rules “Today, guys see ties less like a uniform component. When they do buy one, they choose something that reflects their personality. I think this is not about the mood, but the time. There are many ways to wear a necktie or a scarf. You can wear a silk scarf in a formal way or wear a tie in a casual way. Today, there aren’t that many rules anymore. You used to hear that stripes shouldn’t be paired with checks [or] checks shouldn’t be paired with dots. This thought process has now completely changed. You can play with the different materials, with the different sizes.”
Patterns for your audience “For men, the most important element for choosing neckties or scarves is the color. Women, on the other hand, tend to focus more on the pattern. Male customers rarely care about the pattern, because they rarely lower their heads to look at the neckties on their necks. Their wives, partners, and friends, however, have to face them all the time, so beautiful patterns are as important as the colors.”
Textile amplifies “Fabrics can also bring new effects and combinations (knitted, woven cotton and silk, the Façonnée tie) and make them desirable.
Silk is, for instance, a multitalented material. The feeling is exceptional; it can be matte or shiny, thick or fine, alone or mixed with other natural fibers. But the main point is certainly the way the colors are related. The silk gives life to colors like no other material.”
A prism of colors “The material is of course essential, but the right balance of the coloration is a very important part, as well. A tie is simply the total of hundreds of details. The young generation indeed pays closer attention to colors, so we included a wide range of colors in our collections. We work very differently now from how we did in the past [when] our ties were quite classic. Today, we try to be very creative and audacious in the colors and patterns.”
Not about fashion “While working at Hermès, you have to learn the idea of quality… If you have a product of good quality, then it can last you a lifetime. That is the difference between wearing fashion and wearing quality. This is the only thing that makes my job difficult—to strike the right balance between these two notions and still keep it within the Hermès universe.”
House of wit “I think the humorous side of Hermès is also not always very well known. People always think that we are more formal and elegant. This is the only way that we can make customers bond emotionally with the products; these objects can resonate with their personal feeling.”
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