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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fair and balanced

Since I wore a Cornell tie to the University of Maryland before I left, it's only fair that I wear a University of Maryland tie to Cornell. This tie was presented to me by the Big Boss himself at my farewell party. It depicts the University of Maryland at College Park Master Plan (2001-2020), and the slice of campus on the front contains both buildings in which I worked: the Pocomoke Building (Building 007) and the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center (which, unfortunately, is located a little too high on the tie and got covered up by the knot). The tie was made by Civitas, a company which specializes in city plan ties (there had to be one); this is their first campus tie. Sales of the tie fund scholarships for the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and internships for campus planning, development, and preservation. Cornell's unique campus geography would also look great on a tie...

On the earphones: Ocote Soul Sounds and Adrian Quesada (super groovy), and The Best of Mandrill: hearing "Fencewalk" and the exuberant "Git It All" pounding in my ears was a transcendent musical experience, which I will be repeating on my morning walk. (It's just not the same on the home stereo.)

From the archives

Monday's tie was a Liberty of London Archival Design (and a Burl Veneer archival tie), one of their lovely classic floral patterns. There's a bird in the design, but unfortunately only its legs and tail show on the front of the tie (to the lower right of the large, gold-purple flower), so you can't really tell it's a bird at all. A wider expanse would benefit this fabric by displaying the full pattern, and I think it would indeed work as curtain or upholstery material.

On the earphones: African Head Charge, In Pursuit of Shashamane Land, in which they inject their seductive dub rhythms with some more energetic drumming, making for fantastic walking music.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


For the last work day before Thanksgiving I chose a tie that resembles a Thanksgiving tablecloth, both in pattern and dimension (it's huge!). It appears to be homemade, and thus may even have been a tablecloth at one time. This Thanksgiving finds me once again with so many things to be thankful for; new this year are my lovely new home, new job, a walking commute, and a wonderful new home town. May your Thanksgiving be a happy one, and may you find occasion throughout the year to give thanks to the Being or non-being of your choice!

(On the headphones today: Isaac Hayes, Raw and Refined. Awww, yeah!)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I've had the frenetic and irresistible techno-acoustic music of Squarepusher (a.k.a. Tom Jenkinson) on the headphones for the past two days, so I wore this tie in his honor. Like my last tie (nearly two weeks ago!), this is an Italian-made silk tie with no maker identification. This picture marks my stepson's first gig as Tie Blog Photographer; taking the picture was like second nature to him. Way to go!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Double paisleys

I was reminded by a reader today (my dad) that I have fallen behind in my tie blogging; quite so! Here it is November 18 and I'm just getting around to posting my tie from November 8. (However, it's the last tie I've worn; a week of rainy days made the thought of commuting on foot in a tie unappealing, so I went a whole work week without wearing a tie. I confess it felt weird.) This tie is another one of unknown lineage from the Modaitalia Store. It features a large paisley pattern in blue and green superimposed on a smaller black-and-white paisley pattern for double your paisley pleasure! The most remarkable aspect of this tie, though, is the jacquard weave of giant polka dots, which actually came through in the picture: see the one at the top near the knot.

Our exciting news is that we just got an amazing silkscreen print by Spanish artist Juan Romero:

And it's big: 29" x 32"! We just dropped it off at the frame shop today; we'll have it back in a couple weeks to go right onto our dining room wall, and I can't wait! (There are images of other Romero prints here and here.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What the...???

From my "I Voted" sticker (my first time voting in my new home state!) you have probably deduced that this is Tuesday's tie. What are those blotches crawling across the sharp geometric background in Depression-era kitchen tones? Crabs? Lionfish? No, they're flowers, but they have evolved some pretty good camouflage. Victor Vasarely did some interesting experiments in merging foreground and background patterns. I'm not sure what the designer was going for in this tie by Firenze, but it's definitely not something you'll see very often.

Monday, November 06, 2006

First glance

At first glance this tie from Format, back when they were made in Japan, looks pretty psychedelic because of its high-contrast palette and curvilinear graphics. But the shapes don't quite have the Dionysian abandon of true psychedelia; they are more staid, and in some places recall the old-world stylizations of Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs. Still, it's a fine attempt at a different genre from a tie maker best known for its excellent swing/art deco ties.

As a fan of spy/cop show music, I am overjoyed to have just discovered Skeewiff, a DJ duo who are the best thing to happen to the genre since Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited. They're making my walks to and from work seem positively action-packed!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Thursday's tie was this brash mod/op-art number from Givenchy. It has an unusual shape that I've only seen in a few other ties, which I will call "entasis" after the ancient Greek architectural practice of making columns bulge slightly in the middle to enhance their aesthetic appeal. This tie, instead of flaring out steadily to it maximum width at the bottom triangle, actually reaches its maximum width about halfway down, then tapers back a little bit before the bottom. So you get the broad expanse of fabric of a fat tie, but without the really fat part that can push a gaudy tie over the edge.

Speaking of mod/op-art, I stumbled across the wall hangings of Rex Ray yesterday. His resin-coated collages on wood panels are especially nice, but at prices of $600-$1800 I'm better off making them myself and decorating the whole house for the price of one. (No slight intended toward Mr. Ray, whose panels are doubtless of a very high quality and worth every penny.)

Today's obscure necktie reference is courtesy of eMusic, which I have decided is the best digital music vendor (because it's much cheaper than the others, you get the songs in mp3 format, and the selection is more interesting). The eMusic album of the day is Bongo Rock by the Incredible Bongo Band (1973-74), which includes the track "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley, Your Tie's Caught In Your Zipper." Ba-dum!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chili peppers

This Perry Ellis Handmade tie dates from the earliest days of my necktie collection, i.e. 1990 plus or minus two years. I bought it at the Syms discount warehouse in Rockville, Maryland, and it remains my best-ever Syms find and favorite paisley tie. My girlfriend at the time dubbed this my "chili peppers" tie because of the row of four chili-pepper shapes (leaves?) right in the middle (two green, two yellow) and again at the very bottom. That relationship is long over, but the tie nickname remains. Because this tie is every bit as good as a Liberty of London (in complexity of pattern, color range and balance, precision of printing, quality of fabric, and construction) I honor it by storing it with my Liberties. (See my April 26 post for more information and links on Perry Ellis.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pucci Halloween

Some of my ties have to months, even years before I wear them for the first time. But this Emilio Pucci tie, which I got mere weeks ago, was so suited to Halloween that it was the obvious choice for today. The "capsules" are, of course, astronaut candy corn.

I took all four kids (two demons, a zombie, and a lion) trick-or-treating last night for our first Halloween in Ithaca. (I didn't wear the tie, so as not to upstage the children.) It was a much livelier Halloween than our last few in Greenbelt: lots of kids and parents out and a high rate of neighborhood participation. It was more strenous, too; here on East Hill you can't walk anywhere without walking up and down hills. After pushing the stroller around the extended neighborhood I was exhausted. I lay down to rest after dinner, and didn't get up until morning.

This tie actually came with a provenance of sorts. The seller writes:

This tie came from an exclusive dept. store in downtown Cincinnati many years ago. The name of the store was Pogue's, which was known for selling exclusive designer clothing from as far back as the 40's. It came from an estate where most of the items were from the 40's, 50's, and early 60's, it was packed away with some other gifts given to the gentleman of the house....
And enclosed with the tie was a typewritten gift card:



So once upon a time one could get Pucci ties in Cincinnati (and thus, by extension, anywhere), though apparently few actually did. Willie very sensibly kept the tie, as will this William.