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Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Other Pierre

Who do you think of first when you think of a designer named Pierre? Pierre Cardin, right? Well this tie is by the other (and earlier) Pierre of French fashion, Pierre Balmain. Except this likely came out after Balmain's death in 1982, maybe under Oscar de la Renta's watch (1993-2002). It takes the free-spirited, hand-painted style of 1940s swing ties and updates the colors and dimensions (and production method, it is printed, not painted). A fun exercise with this tie is to figure out how many separate lines there are. It looks at first like a sine wave plotted concurrently with a trochoid (a prolate cycloid, to be precise), but a closer look will show that's not quite what's going on here. Incidentally, by coloring the central pattern in four colors (pink, purple, purpler, and white--I'm not including the black outlines) the designer has neatly demonstrated the four-color theorem. If you are mathematically inclined, you may want a genuine Lifesmith Fractie (extravagantly colored fractal neckties), which all have the generating equation printed on the back. The website says the ties are no longer available via retail, but it probably wouldn't hurt to ask. And secondhand ones turn up on ebay once in while.

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