Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blue and Silver with Crimson Highlights

Here's another vaguely heraldic, not quite Fleur de lis, continuing the trend from last week. This is a prettier color combination, though, at least in my view. My only complaint about this tie is its slightly narrow width, measuring as it does, a mere 3 1/2 inches at its widest point.

What are those repeated shapes on the tie? The bottom part looks like bird wings. The top almost, but not quite, resembles a ship's anchor.

The fabric is richly brocaded with an inlaid pattern of crosshatched squares, turned on their sides to form diamond shapes.

So from what time period does this tie hail? I'm not positive, but it has that 1940's look. The slightly narrow width could indicate the beginning or end of the wide tie era, although I don't know that for sure.

The tie has a single label, sewed into the narrow end, which, printed in an elaborate script, reads simply,
The Bon Marché.
This grand old store, for over a century synonymous with good shopping in Seattle, is unfortunately no more. It was bought out, and its vintage name replaced with that of Macy's in 2004. To read the history of the store, check out this article on, which calls itself The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not quite Fleur de lis

Here's another vintage tie with a rich brocaded fabric, but not, I have to admit, one of my favorites. I prefer the more abstract designs. This one looks like it's trying to be vaguely heraldic, imitating but deliberately avoiding the classic French Fleur de lis pattern.

And its chocolate brown background color is not my favorite, either. Brown, yellow and red, together. Not exactly a favorite color combination for me.

Nevertheless, it was probably an expensive tie in its time, and as a collector, when you find a vintage specimen for a reasonable price, you grab it. Although to be honest, it's my wife you probably found and grabbed this particular item. But the fact still remains: in this day and age, the vintage tie collector has to take what he (or she) can get.

This one does have good width, 4 1/4 inches at its widest point, albeit that is a quarter of an inch narrower than last week's specimen. No labels.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Red, White and Gray--Spots!

Now that I've finished displaying my thirties era ties, it's back to the bigger and bolder forties. Even here, I'm afraid that many of my most colorful and opulent examples have already been featured, so it's on to the more ordinary, probably less expensive in their day, examples.

Take this relatively prosaic pattern of uniformly distributed red and white circles on a gray background. Not even any particular creativity in the positioning of the dotty spots. Just evenly spaced alternating rows. And no fancy fabric with embedded brocade patterns here. What you see is what you get.

It is worth noting that the red circles, ovals actually, are shadowed , while the white ones are not. To me, this tie looks like something that would be worn by Bozo the Clown! About the only thing it has going for it is it's extreme width, fully 4 1/2 inches across at its widest point, just before it tapers to its inevitable point. The width does make its own kind of statement. No shrinking violet, this!

The tie does have one label extant, which states:
Made in California
The word "California" is set in a fancy script style font, and a palm tree graces one corner of the label.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Last from the Thirties

Holy Week can be a sort of "hell week" for church organists, such as myself. Simply because of the thousands of notes to practice and perfect. And the extra musical events, extra music, period, for which to prepare.

That explains why no tie got posted last weekend. I had my regular Sunday service in the morning, then several hours of practice, followed by a hymn sing that evening. The next day I played a 30 minute noon recital sponsored by the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists, of which I am dean.

I practiced Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening, and Thursday evening there was a Maundy Thursday communion service to play for, with the final Easter choir rehearsal afterwards.

Saturday afternoon saw a couple more hours of final practicing for the big Sunday Easter celebration, which included no fewer than six big choir anthems, culminating in The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, which has to be one of the most difficult pieces to play in the entire repetoire.

All of that effort comes together in a very rewarding fashion, but it's still very tiring, very labor intensive, a lot of hard work!

But this is supposed to be a blog about ties, not about church music. This is, so far as I have been able to determine, the last of my 1930 era ties. If I have any more, they're hiding. I call this one "Leaves of silver, blue and copper on a burgundy background." It's one of the more glamorous entries in these richly fabricated ties that I have been featuring since January first, this year.

I'm also loading a second image, of both ends of the tie from the back side, primarily to show another unique characteristic of 1930-era ties. These ties are invariably put together in an off-centered fashion. Look closely at the image of the back side of the tie, and you will see that the fold where the two sides of the tie come meet and are stitched together, are not centered, but are severely lopsided.

This is the way all of these ties are put together, and is quite distinct from most ties of later vintage, which, if not perfectly symmetrical, are generally more so than these. You can see a couple more examples, albeit only of the small ends, by taking another look at "Red Paisley" and "Red Spiderweb," both of which show the back side of the small end of the tie.

"Red Spiderweb" definitely shows the lopsided stitching, while "Red Paisley" is a little more centered, but demonstrates another aspect of these ties: looser stitching. These ties are typically only loosely stitched together in back, unlike later examples, which are generally more tightly and evenly stitched.

So, now that we're done with the thirties, at least for the time being, what next? I haven't decided, so you'll have to wait (with me) until next week to find out.