Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Tie: Still hanging around.

The tie has been hanging around for many centuries. It all began when Croat soldiers from the Military in French service, wearing their traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs, aroused the interest of the Parisians. Due to the slight difference between the Croatian words for Croats, Hrvati, and the French word, Croates, the garment gained the name “Cravat”. The new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe where both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks.

Many a story has passed down the pike of how ties have evolved from a single piece of cloth hung around ones neck to where it is today. For example, The Royal Tank Corps takes its stripes from the brown mud, red blood and green fields of Flanders. The dark blue and magenta Brigade of Guards tie is intended to represent the blue blood of the Royal Family along with the red blood of the Brigade. Fascinating symbols of status and class.

Sometimes the story behind a tie is as colourful as the tie itself. One afternoon in the 1920s, for example, the actor Norman Forbes Robertson wore a salmon-and-cucumber number to lunch at London’s exclusive Garrick Club, joking that it was the official club tie. So many members wanted one that the club formally adopted it. The I Zingari Cricket Club boasts the colours black, red and gold, symbolizing the motto “Out of darkness, through fire, into light.” The orange, black, blue and yellow tie worn by the old boys of Wellington College takes its hues from the ribbon of the Crimean War medal. Then unfortunately, in the early 20th century, anti-necktie sentiment plagued offices as workers began to increase in the USA. Many such men and women were required to wear neckties, because it was perceived as improving work attitudes, morale, and sales. So it turned from a display of status to an obligation creating resentment.

Removing the necktie as a social and business requirement is a modern trend often attributed to the rise of popular culture. Although it was common as everyday wear as late as 1966, the necktie fell out of fashion almost everywhere, except where required. There was a short resurgence in the 1980s, but in the 1990s, ties again fell out of favour, with many technology-based companies having casual dress requirements, including Microsoft, Apple Inc, Amazon and Google.

I for one, love the tie. It’s a statement, it’s a a sign of membership, and it also shows that you’ve taken the time to present yourself. Whether it be formally or casually (which is ever increasing in youth culture) the tie with all its patterns and emblems is making yet again an emergence in the luxury fashion houses. Seen in the images below, I’m personally nodding my helmeted head to a tie made from feathers. Now I’ve seem armlets and head-dresses, shirts, and jackets made out of feathers, but not the tie – until now. And might I add that the only designer who could pull this off is the man, Galliano.