November 09 2012
They have been banned from Soho House, are bought in the throes of gift-giving panic, have become a byword for smart dress and, strangely, are worshipped in their skinniest form by anti-Establishment hipsters. This month, however, ties are being refashioned as objets d’art. Hermès’ new collection of eight heavy-twill 8cm ties (£135) features technology-inspired prints – from “USB” and “On/Off” to “Keyboard” – and will be showcased in 8 Ties, a pair of interactive installations by digital creative Miguel Chevalier.
His virtual-reality extravaganza (pictured) will monopolise the first-floor menswear department of Selfridges’ London store, and an 8m wall projection of the heavy-twill patterns will react to the movements of visitors. Take a casual step to the left or right and the pixels will transform, mutate and evolve. Downstairs in Selfridges’ Hermès boutique, shoppers will be able to turn the pages of Chevalier’s metre-wide virtual book, filled with animated illustrations of the designs, alongside hot-under-the-collar histories (for geeks at least) of the different knot styles.
It was a work by Chevalier called Binary Wave that inspired Hermès’ head of silk Victor Borges to commission the installation. Says Chevalier: “It immediately brought to Victor’s mind the new tie designs that the Hermès creative team was working on for its autumn/winter collection.” And thus a retail exhibition was born.
As store collaborations go, tieing the knot in the digital age has rarely been so stylish.