Got in the first 16 patterns for our new collection today (40 more coming next week) and some are a bit off the beaten path. Â Disclaimer: Â Yes, shameless self promotion but a couple questions to get some further feedback from you guys. Disclaimer two - I did not flip on the entire lighting system and don the 100 sunblock for shooting these, quick/dirty as we have a bunch of shippin to do today before invading the studio. Disclaimer 3: Â We did several patterns that are more mainstream and usual. Â We're struggling to keep a balance between safe, steady, conservative and ...what we really want to do. Â After a few thousand hours working with patterns you start finding yourself attracted to 'different' and sometimes have to remember the old "Hey dumbass - do it in red and keep it simple" rule. Â Jill gets full design credit - she's the one who 'sees' it in her head before it is made up and then I pipe in with the 'What if we do (insert ridiculous demand here)'. The ones below are all Como series double 4 folds. Â For Sartorial Excellence in NYC we'll lift the curtain on the new signature series - those are all available as either the double 4 or unlined 7 construction depending on preferences with some other surprises we'll talk about soon. First... Â Cashmere - we released one as a test last year and it came out better than we hoped so we built on that one to put out a full spread. Â The concept: Â For some rougher tweedy sportcoats and some more casual looks I like cashmere in a tie - shiny silks seem to transition awkwardly to a rougher wool sportcoat. Â Especially a casual one worn over a sweater... Thing is, I hate most cashmere ties - the texture isn't quite right and they are too dull and lifeless. Â They are also far too thick to do in a folded tie and too lacking in stiffness to work for an unlined folded tie.... and they stretch out because they are too loosely woven. So... we played around with mixing silk and cashmere to get a less shiny tie that still catches the light a bit. Â Kinda funny really, when we were working with the weavers and explained what we wanted to do he decided we were out of our minds. Â Actually I'd type what he said but those who speak Italian would have me banned for it. Â In the end we found that if you use very very long, fine cashmere (which is quite expensive from what Ernest tells me) and weave it just as if it were silk in about a 60-40 cashmere silk blend you get something wondrous to behold (and 23 very expensive failed experiments, ouch.) Â ...not too worried about revealing a trade secret on that one - anyone dumb enough to try it, go for it. ..just don't blame me, Â Pics don't really do justice to the hand of this stuff but many of you will 'beholding' it in a few weeks and can opine. Â Anyway the ones below are cashmere with the silk only visible in the pattern (stairstep or stripes) for just a little shine. Â The two striped ones have olive and brown fields respectively. Â Interested in Manton and others take on this slightly more 'casual' tie. Â I think it is 'warmer' if you will - going for the country doctor elegance (just to annoy Ernest, an always pleasant diversion from life's dreariness). Next, and I fully expect Manton to call me a blasphemer for this but.... Ceremonials... Â There is a trend toward long ties with formalwear - some folks are just tired of bowties. Â I also like these for very dressy evenings out. Â The cream colored (lousy pic, better ones to come) paisley is the shade of most wedding gowns and also looks very elegant with several other outfits. Â This is one of Jill's babies so I'll let her put some looks together to shoot it with. Â The paisley is of course woven in - I hate the lifelessness of printed paisleys... they remind me of wine with a screwtop - no nuance, no character. Interested in Manton's thought with long ties for ceremonial... others as well. Â Love it? Â Hate it? Â Finally - Nick asked about more large herringbone or stairsteps. Â I know the one he has in mind and we just did it in red but we also played with adding stripes as we did a 'test' one a few months ago that worked out well. Â Stripes are another area where I get incredibly bored by the lack of tactile interest in prints... Â these are a little more ...lively, if you will. Okay - back to actual work - I simply can't be around new ties without having anyone around to elbox and say "OOOh, OOH. look at this." Â People on the street give me weird looks but you guys seem to find me (almost) normal.