July 07 2010
Lucia van der Post
Something is happening in the world of ties. It’s as if the manufacturers of these former staples of the male wardrobe have suddenly woken up to the fact that they need to do something to make this age-old accessory seem hip. When even politicians hoping to look like serious rescuers of a ballooning national debt go electioneering without a tie, then it’s time to realise that the tie has to be rescued, reinvented if you like.
First, that venerable British brand Drakes introduced a beautifully made untipped (ie, unlined) tie, but now that granddaddy of tie-making, Hermès, has come up with a cooler version of its traditional neckwear – the scarf-tie, or cravate foulard (£150).
Its great merit is that it can be worn to look like a proper tie (which might come in handy if you have misjudged an event – you simply retie it), or it can be worn loosely and casually, giving a rather younger, hipper air to the whole ensemble. Since many a man I know these days sets out for an evening event not knowing whether a tie would look too stuffy or whether going without one would seem too casual, the scarf-tie seems like a splendid innovation. My rather traditional-leaning husband tried it out and loved it and even as I write has set forth wearing it for his evening engagement looking rather more dashing than usual.
Hermès’ version comes in a range of subdued solid colours (black, white, navy, greyish-green, taupe and royal blue) as well as two emblematic Hermès designs (the “H” in parallel lines or rings in positive-negative), again in classic subdued colours.