My understanding is that they were created by T&A and popularized by one of the Bond films. This kind of early attempt at branding and marketing may be what's still befouling their reputation in the anti-branding iGent culture. Personally I think they look kind of cool in picture but I don't have any. I wouldn't be opposed to trying it. I've heard they're a huge pain to clean though - if you don't have somebody good, they'll probably screw it up.
They maybe worthy of consideration for your Black Tie casual project.
It's a thread unbelragazzo created. The way I understand it, it's an acknowledgement that many of the aesthetic considerations of black tie are quite relevant in terms of what looks good at night, just that the formality scale has now changed.
Therefore it is an attempt to find a casual way of adopting the aesthetics of black tie without looking out of place in non-black tie occasions.