With the Goodwood Festival of Speed almost upon us, followed promptly by the Goodwood Revival, I have been visiting Connolly more frequently than usual in the hope of putting together a suitably elegant and automotively (is that a proper word?) appropriate ensemble. Little did I imagine that I would stumble, Howard Carter-esque, upon this summer’s life-changing accessory.
I do not know what it says about my life that it can be altered by a diamond-shaped neckerchief (from £150), but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was the answer to a question that I had never thought to ask myself – why hasn’t someone got around to making a neckerchief that is shaped expressly to be worn Western style over the mouth and knotted behind the head? The trouble with standard square neckerchiefs is that if they are long enough to be knotted at the back of my head, they are invariably too full over the face; and when the front inverted triangle of fabric is correct, it is often hard to find enough cloth to knot at the back. It is a problem that besets many of us, and of late my mind has been on less important matters, but happily someone at Connolly was thinking straight.
That someone was Lorraine Acornley, Connolly’s knitwear genius, working in tight secrecy in an unidentified Italian “artisan knitting factory”, with 15-micron Merino sourced from the best breeders in the Antipodes, using something she calls “a unique and patented, customised and bespoke English cotton 37gg knitting machine”. Connolly has revolutionised neckwear with the launch of the diamond-shaped neckerchief: perfectly proportioned for knotting and wearing over nose and mouth. It will be ideal at the wheel of the Mini Moke.
“I was inspired by 1950s racing photographs and posters from races like the Mille Miglia. The neckerchief, when worn as a rakish nose-and-mouth mask, is excellent for protecting the driver from dust while driving in open-top cars,” explains Acornley. But what if I am not racing a 1950s Ferrari around Italy? “It is also extremely chic in the summer tied around the neck or wrist… or as a bandana or around your dog’s neck.” So it would appear that as well as having to get a diamond-shaped neckerchief, I also need to acquire a dog to wear it for me.