website stats

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A man ain't nothin' but a man

So goes the ballad of John Henry, the railroad laborer who bested a steam drill and died from the effort. John Henry is also a Perry Ellis-owned label of men's "dress casual sportswear," and is the maker of today's tie.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Today's tie is from MBP's "Vintage" line. A real vintage tie would have had the pattern woven into it in a garish brocade, while this is just a print. But it's a fun, colorful mishmash of vintage motifs with a touch of Australian Aboriginal art thrown in.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Viewer mail

It may surprise you (it surprised me) to learn that there are perks to being a tie blogger: this tie was sent to me by Rosi from Washington state. She acquired a large lot of ties, including some hand-marbled ties by Marblesque. In researching Marblesque on the web, she came across my original Marblesque post with a link to the Rooftop Clothing website. She found that information valuable enough to send me this Marblesque tie by Bridget Gardiner as a token of her appreciation. Thanks, Rosi!

(P.S.: I will accept any fabulous tie from any interested reader!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fungal fantasy

The news is out: we liked Ithaca so much, we're moving there! Therefore all of my "free" time for the next several weeks will be spent cleaning, packing, and making all the preparations that need to be made to move a family of six to another state. So the blog will get short shrift for a while, textwise. For example: Today's Structure necktie could be floral, but the colors are more suggestive of mushrooms. That's it!

Brooching the subject of neckties...

The repeated figure on this Pierre Cardin Boutique tie looks like an art deco enamel brooch.

Stilo di Roma

Friday's tie was this extra-long vintage modified polka-dot "Stilo di Roma by Elite" tie. While my home remains a whirlwind of activity, I'm going to retreat to a minimalist blog style, i.e. a picture and a name. After all, I'm still wearing ties, and a minimal tie blog is better than none at all.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I've been heavy on the angles on light on the curves this week, so I found a tie with a really curvy design for today (Thursday). As a bonus to the curves, the print is done in a mosaic style. The tie is by "Liz K," but I've drawn a blank on finding any other information about the maker.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Hola, amigos! I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but it's been a busy week in the Veneer househould. Rather than bore you with the details, I'll jump right into talking about Dacron! Today's (i.e., Wednesday's) tie is a geometric print on 100% Dacron polyester by necktie behemoth Superba. Just when I think I know all there is to know about Dacron, I learn some more. Dacron was developed by DuPont in 1950, but it was not the first polyester material; that was Terylene, developed by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) of Britain in 1941 and licensed to DuPont in 1945, from which DuPont developed Dacron. But wait, it gets more complicated: Terylene's invention was based on the writings of Dr. Wallace Carothers, a Harvard chemist who went to work for DuPont in 1927. DuPont and ICI shared information with each other, and while Carothers and DuPont pursued nylon technology (and also invented neoprene), ICI was working on polyester. So I think it's safe to call Carothers the father of modern synthetic fabrics. Dacron is still produced today, its durability being a key selling point. The polymer filament is available in a variety of cross-sections, just as weed trimmer line is on a larger scale.

Circle Cross

"Circle Cross" is the name of this Gene Meyer necktie design (maybe; I read that in an ebay auction listing, but those have proved to be not always accurate in their Gene Meyer information). It's plausible, at least. I had another tie of this same pattern in a different colorway a few years ago; it was my first Gene Meyer tie, and it became the first tie I sold at a handsome profit, thereby stoking my Gene Meyer addiction and also solidifying my whole "rotating tie collection" concept.

The Long Weekend

On Monday, the final day of our long weekend getaway, we paid a visit to my personal happy place. For the occasion, I chose a tie that captures the spirit of that place, and here it is. It's by Resilio, the company that invented modern necktie construction in 1924 with Jesse Langsdorf's bias-cut design. This is a considerably more recent tie, but still a good 30-40 years old. It was a perfect finishing touch to a wonderful, successful trip.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Freaky Friday

Or, "Paint Drops Keep Falling On My Tie." (Mrs. Veneer is cringing, but I am giggling.) Today's tie is by Indian Head, and speaks for itself. It has to, Mrs. V. and I are busy packing for a weekend getaway without the kids! Catch you next week!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Snakes on a Plane!

Today's tie comes from Kangol (don't look for ties on the website, though, there aren't any), the brand with the kangaroo logo best known for their hats. Kangol was founded in England in 1938 by Jacques Henry Sergene (nee Jakob Henryk Spreiregen), and was propelled to fame in the US in 1984, when LL Cool J sported a Kangol bucket hat on the cover of his debut album. More recently Kangol hats have been notably spotted on the head of quintessential tough guy Samuel L. Jackson, star of the upcoming summer movie Snakes on a Plane. I saw a trailer for the movie several months ago, and thought it was a joke, but it's for real and is the latest internet craze. Probably the most significant result of the internet ballyhoo is the shooting of new scenes so that Jackson can say, "We got m$#^r-f*@&in' snakes on the m$#^r-f*@&in' plane!" The movie opens August 18; Christa Faust's novelization is already out. I doubt I will see or read it, for as an Onion article from some years back put it, I'm only into things I actually like anymore, and would rather spend the time watching or reading something good than being amused at something bad. Usually.

Update: I found the Onion article, here it is.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pierre Cardin

This Pierre Cardin "Modèle Déposé" (registered pattern) necktie exemplifies the European Deco style of the 1970s, and also provides a marked contrast to the luxury ties of today. Today's luxury ties (Charvet, Ike Behar, Duchamp) are luxurious by virtue of the lustrous silk they're made of, but they are usually woven in very plain patterns and rely on a color contrast between the warp and weft threads to create a shimmer. (Duchamp is a notable exception, with many interesting weave patterns and exciting color combinations, and seems to be influencing other tie makers lately.) This vintage tie is woven in an imaginative jacquard weave, and a pattern is then printed onto the fabric; the fine detail indicates screen printing rather than block printing. I think it would go best with a double-breasted suit, on a yacht, in the Mediterranean.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The richest man in Ohio

This tie is brought to you by the richest man in Ohio, Mr. Leslie Wexner, founder of Limited Brands, with a net worth of $2.7 billion. Wexner founded The Limited in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963, and took the company public in 1969. The chains owned and operated by Limited Brands today are The Limited, Victoria's Secret, Express, Bath & Body Works, Henri Brendel, The White Barn Candle Co., and C. O. Bigelow. Other chains owned at one time by Limited Brands include Lane Bryant, Lerner, The Limited Too, and Abercrombie & Fitch (founded in 1892 as an outdoors/sporting gear company, bought by Limited Brands in 1988 and transformed into the dubious "lifestyle brand" it is today, and spun off into its own corporate entity in 1996). Wexner's formula for success was in spotting international fashion trends early, reproducing them in massive quantities in Asia, and selling them at competitive prices in the US before rivals could catch up. Today's tie is of the Structure brand, a store which has since been folded into the Express chain as Express Men. (They still sell ties, but the selection on the website is unexciting, to say the least.) This tie is more than a striped tie, as the main stripes are wavy and overlap in places, plus it has perpendicular stripes that technically make it a plaid tie. But it's also more than a plaid tie due to its underlying pattern of floral medallions. It's a little subdued for me, but I like its flow and multiple design layers.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Techno Deco

Today's tie is my first example of a design trend from the 70s that I call "techno deco," though it might have a real name of which I am unaware. Moving away from the freeform psychedelia of the 60s, tastes turned back to the Art Deco style of the 40s, but this time was informed by technology and engineering, perhaps as a result of popular interest in the Space Race. So it's not uncommon to find ties of that era that resemble technical diagrams: architectural plans, integrated circuit boards, electrical wiring schematics, and the like. This tie combines all those qualities in woven squares on navy polyester. There's no maker label, but a rooster's head on the back of the fabric label signifies that it's by Rooster.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Marblesque Redux Redux

Here is the third hand-marbled tie by Brian O'Malley of Australia to appear on the blog; here's a page of links to all the Marblesque ties I've posted. Marbled ties remain my first choice to pair with this shirt, as the multitude of colors in the ties increases the number of color matches. I matched three different shades today, yeeha!

Keane has come out with a new album of grandiose melodies and soaring vocals, The Iron Sea. The song "Crystal Ball" is an early standout; it's one of those songs that sounds instantly familiar, and not because it sounds like something else, but because it's such a perfect construction. Train's "Drops of Jupiter" and Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life" both struck me the same way; hearing them for the first time was like an act of anamnesis, as if the bands had removed a veil to reveal an eternal truth, a song that had always been there waiting to be illuminated. (Yes, I know they're just pop songs, but joy can be found even in mundanity once in a while.)

The most remarkable thing about The Iron Sea (which may not live up to the first album, I'm still deciding) is the cover art by young Anglo-Finnish artist Sanna Annukka. The days of the vinyl LP and glorious 12-by-24-inch illustrated gatefold covers are past, but the smaller CD format can still be a passable vehicle for fine illustration. Annukka came up with a massive, vertically-oriented work (six panels altogether) based on the album's lyrics and her own affinity for Finnish folk style. I haven't found the complete illustration online, but several images from it have been turned into PC wallpapers that can be seen on this page. She has also made a series of screen prints for Hygge, a London-based shop of Scandinavian-influence items for the home. Sanna Annukka has a promising career ahead of her and I can't wait to see more.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Today's tie is one of several I've collected that feature a watercolor painting by New Orleans artist Grace Newburger. This one is called Swans, for reasons which should be apparent. The paintings on her ties fall into two broad categories: wildlife (swans, egrets, pelicans, fish) and New Orleans life (Mardi Gras, gambling, fortune telling). They are always painted in brilliant colors with high contrast and use gold hairlines to emphasize shapes and borders. It's not often that you will see a picture "of" something on one of my ties, but Grace Newburger is one of a handful of representational artists who overcome my abstract sensibilities (when it comes to ties).

"Swans" was also the name of a New York band led by Michael Gira, whose early works were loud, slow, and violent songs about pain, degradation, humiliation, and abuse. After Jarboe joined the band in 1985, an element of beauty was introduced into the Swans' music, which came to full fruition with the 1989 album The Burning World, produced by legendary producer Bill Laswell and featuring a lovely remake of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home," which is still a minor alternative-radio staple today. And some pressings of the CD include a bonus track of "Love Will Tear Us Apart"! The album is more Laswell's than Gira's, with most of the musicians coming from Laswell's stable of usual suspects; but they alleviate the morbidity of Gira's voice and (much less violent) lyrics. The overall feel is world-beat-tinged gothic folk, and it's a little masterpiece, even though Gira has disowned it. Recommended!

Why most ties are made of silk

Most ties are made of silk because the act of tying a tie requires a wide piece of fabric to pass through a narrow opening in a knot, and the best fabric for that is something slippery like silk, not something with a long nap that will stick to itself, like the terribly toothy synthetic fabric of today's tie. It took several tries to tie it, as it kept getting bunched up during the final pull-through. The tie lacks any labels and is probably homemade; no professional tie maker would inflict this amount of frustration on the tie-wearing public at large. But that also means no one else has a tie like this one! The palette is pure Pucci, while the design is pure Pucci wannabe. I wonder what other items were made of or covered with this fabric, and whatever happened to them over the next thirty-odd years. Feel free to post any vintage fabric sightings in the Comments section.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Gene Davis

I didn't go in to the office today, so I didn't wear a tie; but I do have a picture of a tie from my permanent collection which I wore to a recent special event. The tie is from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and is adapted from Gene Davis's 1965 painting Black Popcorn. (Lucky for me they still have the tie on the website, otherwise I would have guessed it was based on Bridget Riley's 1982 painting Big Blue.) Gene Davis achieved great recognition for his work, being appointed Commissioner of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art in 1984, but died in 1985.