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Drake's London at Pitti Uomo 83

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by unbelragazzo, May 6, 2013.

  1. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Despite Pitti's reputation for peacockery and flamboyance, Italian neckwear, while often beautiful and well-made, can be, well...kind of boring. Row after row of printed ties with neat designs are interrupted only by the occasional solid grenadine or dotted knit. Perhaps some striped ties intended for odd jackets.

    For eccentric yet tasteful ties, no one does it better than the English. And in particular, Drake's of London. This fall they'll have colorful and bold polka dot boucles, 30 ounce ancient madder ties featuring large prints, and other byproducts of designer Michael Hill's imagination. Many of these ties have unique and distinct textures as well, an explicit choice by Drake's to adapt to the tweeds and other textured jackets worn frequently in today's cities.

    Drake's still produces all of their ties in London, by hand. Their silks are also printed by hand, which is much more expensive, but adds to the richness of color that you'll find in a Drake's necktie. Drake's also maintains tradition by recycling their most popular patterns in different colorways or using different fabrics. For instance, the Kelim print scarves will find new life on 100% silk, to supplant the wool and silk blend of seasons past. These are joined by cashmere and ancient madder print scarves in various colorways. The contrast in texture between the two sides and the weight of their combination produces a scarf that maintains all of the advantages of the cashmere-jacket-and-madder-tie in one neckwarming accessory.

    For the less adventuresome, Drake's also produces all the classic conservative patterns. Visit the Drake's store at any point in the year and you'll find plenty of solids and pindots to round out a banker's weekday tie wardrobe. The only thing you won't find is a tie that doesn't knot well. With my own Drake's ties, the knot comes out perfect every time. No pinching, pulling, or squeezing necessary. This comes from the hefty pure wool interlinings that Drake's uses. No wafting in the breeze unlined ties here.

    Many men will go their entire lives bewildered as to why anyone would pay $150 and more for a tie, or $400 for a scarf. But there is a difference. Peruse the gaudy disasters that result when cheaper tie-makers attempt to wrap a creative design around a polyester interlining. You feel the ghost of Cary Grant staring down disapprovingly, as you shy away from the offending piece of shiny silk and privately recommit to wearing nothing but solid grenadines for the rest of your life. Then look at Drake's shelves. You'll find ties that are a joy to see and touch, that send your imagination running to the jackets and shirts which could best surround the masterpiece marvelously knotted around your neck.

    In addition to their own online store, Drakes products can be bought through Gentlemen's Footwear, The Armoury, and Exquisite Trimmings.


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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
    5 people like this.
  2. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Thank you very much for the article, and for the lovely photos.

    The above tie is particularly stunning.

    I just wish that Drake's would make more ties in sensible widths, instead of concentrating on narrower ties!
     
  3. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    I think most of what they do now is 8cm, no? At least that's what it is on their online shop. Seems pretty middle of the road.

    In any case, Michael does great designs. Thanks for the post, D.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  4. inimitable

    inimitable Senior member

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    +1. When did their standard width move from 3.5" to 3"?
     
  5. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    8 is pretty middle of the road, although I prefer 9. The range of classic is maybe 7 to 9.5 or so. It's an extra cost and I think a 3 tie min, but they do offer bespoke. There are also retailers that offer Drakes at 9 cm
     
  6. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    I really prefer a width of 9cm to 9.5cm, and the vast majority of the ties on Drake's own website are 8cm, which is frustrating as they have so many fantastic patterns!
     
  7. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  8. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    I have 3 drakes ties and all are 9cm but I got them from the Armory.
     
  9. ballmouse

    ballmouse Senior member

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    Some of the tie patterns posted look very different from the Drake's patterns I'm used to seeing posted here. They look like those found on vintage Sulka or Turnbull & Asser ties. Is it just me?
     
  10. w.o.e.is.me.

    w.o.e.is.me. Senior member

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  11. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    Some of the larger format patterns recall the late 60s or early 70s, when lapels widened and larger collars and suit fabric patterns became popular as well.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. LJubel328

    LJubel328 Senior member

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    Great stuff, especially the first three.
     
  13. Pembers

    Pembers Senior member

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    Thanks for writing this, Unbelragazzo.

    I like them relatively narrow, so am glad of the Drake's policy. I do find it surprising that they do not make them wider, however - it is fairly clear that most of their customers prefer the Italian/SF-type aesthetic, which calls for wider ties.

    Drake's make my favourite ties, but they are certainly not quintessentially English (the OP doesn't say that they are, but my perception is that many think so). Over here ties that are not solid are generally much less subdued - they go with the loud shirts. There's room for both in a wardrobe. ;)
     
  14. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I wouldn't say loud ties are really typical of any particular nation's dress. But IME they're way more common in English dress than Italian dress. I have less experience w French style.
     
  15. Pembers

    Pembers Senior member

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    That's certainly true. But bold ties in Britain are more often 'Turnbull loud' or even 'Duchamp loud' than 'Drake's loud'. Bold colours, as opposed to large madder prints. To my eye, Drake's ties are more similar to Marinella and Cappelli than to what you'll find being sold on Jermyn St or worn by a well-dressed Englishman.

    Drake's relies primarily on exports. I rarely see Drake's-type ties about. I have also been to their shop on Clifford St several times and have never seen another customer in there (although that could be a coincidence). I see Drake's style as an imaginative, well-executed and commercially successful example of the Italian version of the English look.

    Of course, these are very broad-brush generalisations. We may not even be disagreeing. Just my vague musings!
     
  16. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It's true that Drake's exports plenty, including to Italy. But I'd be surprised if those polka dots, for instance, find their way to Italy. But I could easily see Holdfast, or TTO, or Barima, who are SF members in England, wearing those ties. Meanwhile, Marinella counters look like this:

    http://www.styleforum.net/t/305059/lightbox/post/5550700/id/418403

    Some Cappelli ties are a little more exuberant, and might include something similar to the madders at Drake's, but nothing like those polka dots. Cappellis are also obviously constructed much differently.
     
  17. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I also agree with the comments about the ties having a vintage look. I had a comment to that effect in an earlier draft of this post, but looks like I took it out for some reason.
     
  18. Rusty

    Rusty Well-Known Member

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  19. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Here are a few examples of more exuberant Cappelli designs:

    http://www.patriziocappelli.it/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=495

    http://www.patriziocappelli.it/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=638

    http://www.patriziocappelli.it/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=693

    http://www.patriziocappelli.it/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1313


    I remember reading that most places that make silk twill print ties like Drake's, Marinella, Cappelli and so on source their silks from a couple of English mills, so it's not surprising that there's a fair bit of similarity in design. In fact, I've seen some Marinella and Drake's ties that use identical silk, it's just that the Marinella are slightly heftier/wider in construction.
     
  20. Pliny

    Pliny Senior member

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    I do hope they stick with wool-silk in the hanks- I like the ... hmm ... I was going to say 'flatness' but it's more that the wool-silk blends the lightness and compressibility of silk with the texture and subtlety of wool.
     

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