Printed Motif Ties: Birth Of A Legend

Printed Motif Ties

The tie is one of the few pieces of arsenal in your wardrobe that you have to distinguish yourself and signify your desire to embrace a smarter and perhaps more boss-like image. As a sartorial excocet, men have many a choice when it comes to selecting ties, but no tie celebrates the poetry, sense of eccentricity and the attitude of its wearer more so than the printed motif tie.

As far as tie motifs go, two design families divide the patterned necktie kingdom; yarn-dye wovens and prints.

In the first instance, a jacquard loom weaves different coloured threads directly into the fabric. In the second, coloured patterns are screen printed directly onto raw or dyed silk. Whilst woven ties are perhaps the dressiest of all neckties, printed motif ties are by far the largest selling category of neckwear – and this prevailing taste shows no signs of wavering.

Big and Bold Printed Motif ties

Printed Motif Ties

Pictured above left to right: Charles Correll, Fred Allen and Freeman Gosden. American comedians from the Amos ‘n’ Andy radio show, wearing printed motif ties from Charvet.

Printed motif ties have been around since the 1920s. Bold-figured prints were popular with the fashionable set in the affluent 1920s and 1930s, as men began spending more time on holiday and ‘resort’ dressing became a chief source of fashion inspiration. Famous French shirt and tie maker, Charvet, captured the zeitgeist of the time, with wealthy Europeans and Americans (even those who held on tightly to more conservative neckwear) embracing the light, breezy, large prints, which actually coordinated surprisingly well with more fancy suits such as houndstooth, pinstripes and plaid. 

#You can’t sit with us

Clubs difficult to join

The all-over small motif tie first gained popularity with British sporting clubs. In fact, it was I Zingari Cricket Club, founded in 1845, who is credited with the first set of sporting colours and one of the first to adopt a club tie in 1870. Small editions of subject related patterns such as cricket bats, golfers, polo players etc were printed on to wool fabric, each theme providing its enthusiasts with an excuse to wear small sports figures that signified one’s social status. These days, clubs with British roots, from the skilled to the foolhardy, still carry on the tradition of bestowing on their members the sports tie.

Pictured above, some of the exclusive clubs who’s membership and ties are highly prized, in clockwise direction:

1) The St Moritz Toboggan Club: Cresta Riders who come off the Cresta Run at Shuttlecock corner are members of the ‘Shuttlecock Club’ and are entitled to wear the club tie, which has small shuttlecock motifs displayed on the tie. Interestingly, if you are injured and draw blood whilst coming off at Shuttlecock corner, you are entitled to wear the Shuttlecock tie with red shuttlecock motifs to represent the blood spilt.

2) The Ejection Tie Club:  Airforce pilots who have had to eject from their aircraft and lived to tell the tale, are entitled to wear the Ejection Tie.

3) The Leander Rowing Club: Athletes from this rowing club have won more Olympic medals than any other sports club in the world. Their club tie depicts a pink hippo motif on a navy background.

4) The Zingari Cricket Club: Zingari is Italian for gypsy, which is an apt name for this amateur cricket club, given they have no club house but rather wander the globe playing teams from around the world on some of the finest cricket pitches. Their motto is “out of darkness, through fire, into the light,”  and their tie colours, black, red and yellow symbolise this motto.

All Hail Hermès: the world’s newest old-boy’s club tie

Henri D'Origny

Pictured above: Henri d’Origny, designer of scarf and tie designs at Hermès for half a century.

It’s impossible to speak of printed motif ties without uttering the word ‘Hermès.’ The all-over motif tie may have started life in British hands but it took eminent French designer Henri d’Origny, a passionate horse lover, to put the sports tie back in the saddle, when he released his famous equestrian designs for Hermès in the 1950s.

Initially working as a freelance designer for Hermès, Henri impressed Robert Dumas (grand-father of the current artistic director of Hermès, Pierre Dumas), and requested a full-time position at the iconic French brand. Dumas agreed, on the proviso that Henri spend a couple of months working on the Parisian shop floor, serving customers. Henri recounts that back then, a good day was serving at best 20 customers, which would be celebrated with a bottle of champagne, so he had plenty of time to spend ‘doodling’ whilst on the shop floor.

Henri soon began drawing equine related motifs and it wasn’t long before his precise and detailed whimsical designs captured the attention of the Hermès family and they recognised that his designs would work on printed silk ties.

In those days, Parisian men were limited to paisley, polka dots or woven ties, so the new Hermès printed motif ties were an enormous hit amongst the fashionable set.

As Hermès began expanding to other motifs such as palm trees, elephants and hippos, so began the cult following from ‘suits’ and other fashionable gents, even from those who would normally steer clear of any form of attire with recognisable branding.

Along with the impeccable workmanship of the Hermès tie itself, it is the tie’s tasteful all-over fanciful motifs, the order and precision that look like a geometric pattern from a distance, that have allowed the Hermès tie to become an investment piece that pays substantial stylistic dividends.

Hermes tie designs

Printed Motifs: the Philippe Perzi Vienna Collection

Men's tie

Philippe Perzi Vienna has added to our collection with sensational new whimsical animal printed motif ties. Printed motif ties with swans, storks, seahorses, fish and ladybirds are amongst the collection, printed onto 100% silk twill and hand made in Italy.

Whether you’re a ‘sandgroper’ from Western Australia and fancy donning the swan, find yourself relating to the power, strength and steadfastness associated with the seahorse, or just like the colour of the tie, there’s a printed motif tie perfect for you.

Don’t think people don’t sit up and take notice of a striking silk tie that speaks a little to your individuality. So go get ‘em tiger!