Sunday, November 25, 2007

Royal Blue with Leaves of Red and Yellow

I don't suppose this tie would have to be assigned to the autumn season, since its colors are not all that autumnal. But in my book, any tie featuring leaves gets worn during the autumn season, so I'm posting it here, as well. I guess autumn is just about over for this year, and as it so happens, I still have at least two more ties to feature next year at this time.

This tie has a rich royal blue background, featuring a looping ribbon of paler blue and yellow, to which are attached leaves, each colored half in brilliant red, and half crosshatched sometimes with blue and yellow, sometimes with paler blue and darker blue lines. As one might expect, the brilliant red colored half alternates positions as you move up the tie, first on the right, then the left, and so forth.

Because my flatbed scanner only accommodates the standard 8 1/2 by 11 inch materials, I could not display the entire effect of this tie with a single scan. So I've provided a second image, taken from further up the tie, which shows several more leaves, these ones smaller, but unfettered by the ribbon connecting those further down.

In many of these vintage ties, the pattern ends well before the expected location of the knot, but these leaves proceed right up to the traditional knot position and beyond. Keep in mind that in the forties, men wore their slacks higher up on the waist, and ties were tied shorter than they are today. This tie has enough leaves to make it effective even when tied long in today's style.

The tie has a brocade woven into the fabric, as so many do, and this one is almost, but not quite, a repetition of the ribbon. The main difference being that the brocade pattern branches into triple strands, whereas the ribbon that descends the tie remains single. I've adjusted the contrast slightly on the second image to the left, to make the brocade more visible.

The tie has one label, which characteristically reads as follows:
Resilient construction
Towncraft DeLuxe
Fabric loomed in U.S.A.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brick Red with Leaves

This is one of the newer autumn ties in my collection. If I remember correctly, my wife found it somewhere sometime within the past year or so. It's a nice tie, but showing signs of its age. Primarily, because it's lost most of its resiliency, and is kind of limp.

But also, because it seems a bit off center. If you look closely at the pointed end of the tie, you will notice that one side of the point is longer than the other side. This is even more noticeable on the short end, where it looks quite lopsided, indeed.

I'm not sure what caused this lopsidedness. It could be that the tie was refolded and narrowed at some point, but it's still a generous 3 1/2 inches wide, if you measure straight across. If you measure from the spot where the tie ends its straight descent, and angles toward the point, to the equivalent spot on the opposite side--which on this tie, is not straight across at all--you get 3 3/4 inches.

The tie does have a fold over of the frontal fabric on the inside, on the left side, but I've seen this on so many ties now, that I'm beginning to wonder if that isn't standard practice, and has nothing to do with the tie having been refolded for a narrower width. Someone who knows about tie manufacturing in the 40's, please help!

The tie has two labels, and I need to transcribe them before discussing another important feature of the tie, one which you may have already noticed. The first label reads
Wilcrest Batiks
Individually hand painted
while the second label says simply
Larry's men's shop
San Carlos, Calif.
It's the "indivdually hand painted" part that I wanted to mention. The only indication of hand painting that I can see on this tie is that four of the leaves are painted with a reddish stained appearance, and this does look like hand painting. My guess is that the leaves were all originally the same tan color, and that four of them were hand painted.

I don't personally see the attraction, as the painting job looks a bit sloppy to me, with bits of the tan still showing here and there, and the color having a fairly uneven quality to it. I think I would probably prefer the leaves to all still be the tan color, rather than painted as they are. To me, this hand painting makes the tie look amateurish, and contributes to the tie's appearing old and worn out, rather than enhancing the appearance, as you'd expect hand painting to do. My wife doesn't agree. She thinks the tie is gorgeous. I like it too, but it's not one of my top favorites.

Finally, there's that word "batik" in the label. Batik, in case you're not familiar with it, is defined as
"A method of dyeing fabric where some areas are covered with wax or pastes made of glues or starches to make designs by keeping dyes from penetrating in pattern areas."
I am personally quite doubtful as to whether any REAL batik techniques were used in the production of this tie's fabric, but I will admit that when you look at the leaves, picked out as they are in a reverse color, that is, the leaves are light spots in a dark background fabric, this does suggest a batik kind of coloring. But my guess is that this fabric design was produced in a more straightforward manner, not using a true batik technique. Just my guess.

The tie also has a lovely brocade pattern, somewhat visible in the scan. The overall brocade design consists of closely crosshatched lines running approximately parallel to the left pointed end of the tie. Over the top of this pattern is an extensive archipelago of smoothly surfaced oddly shaped patches, which appear as darker spots in the scan. You can't really see the cross hatching in the whole tie scan, so I've scanned just a small portion of it at a higher resolution, and loaded it here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Orange with Leaves of Gold and Brass

This is one of the more strikingly colored autumnal ties in my collection. The basic color is a richly vibrant shade of brilliant orange. The leaves are golden and brassy, almost coppery colored in some places.

One could argue that these are feathers, not leaves, I suppose, but I prefer to think of them as leaves, and given that orange is a color strongly associated with autumn, leaves seem the more likely intent, at least to me.

The tie's rich fabric also has a brocade woven into it, as do so many of my favorites from this era. In this case, the brocade, which is at least slightly visible in the scan, consists of looping swirls or whorls, some vertically placed, some horizontal in their motion across the surface of the tie.

If I have any complaint about the tie, it is that it is not as wide as some, measuring a mere 3 1/4 inches across. It may possibly have been a bit wider originally, although I'm not really sure about that. Unlike some of the other ties I suspect of having been refolded or cut down, this one doesn't have a pattern that is obviously off center. The design on the tie seems aesthetically pleasing enough the way it is.

It could have been almost an inch wider I suppose, which would be right in keeping with the 4 1/4 inch width that so many of my forties era ties exhibit. The two edges of the tie overlap by about a half inch, and one side is folded over another half inch, so it could have been refolded and resewn to make it narrower, but it is difficult to know for sure.

The tie has one label sewn into the small end, which reads simply,
The label is obviously old and fraying. part of the word "Penney's" is unraveling and disappearing. The fabric of the tie itself is showing some signs of aging, and the tie is a little limp, and lacks "resilience," that characteristic so often touted on tie labels that read "resilient construction." Still, all in all, a brilliant exemplar of the classic forties era tie, and a pleasure to both own and wear!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Silver Op Art with Autumn Leaves

So, I was missing in action again last week. I actually scanned this tie a week ago Saturday, but on Sunday I was too busy, and there was no time to actually get it posted or to write about it.

I played an organ recital at Olympia First Baptist church where I am the organist and pianist. This was a formal recital with music by Bach, Brahms, Bruckner (love those "B's") and also Johann Walther, Helumt Walcha, Heinrich Schiedemann, Jean Langlais, Paul Manz and Michael Burkhardt. If you're not an organist or organ buff, those names probably won't mean a lot to you.

Suffice it to say that this was a BIG DEAL in my life, and took a lot of preparation time, and has been pretty much consuming my time and attention for the past several weeks. And last Sunday, it meant no time for blogging.

So enough about my other pursuits already, and what about this amazing tie! This tie has so much going on that it almost boggles the mind, and fries the eyeballs! The basic background pattern is a wild op art sort of design, with concentric squares. Or you could think of it as diamond shapes filled with alternating horizontal and vertical lines, if you prefer.

On top of this pattern is another concentric design, this one of leaves, two with gold centers, outlined in a deep chocolate brown, surrounded by green. The center leaf has the colors in the reverse order, with gold on the outside, green in the middle, brown again in between.

Underneath the background design is an elaborate, barely visible (at least in the scan) leaf and vine brocade woven into the fabric itself. All of these features combined make for a somewhat gaudy, iridescent effect quite opulent in its execution.

Somewhere in my files I have a picture from quite a few years back, from a soap opera magazine, showing one of the young bucks wearing this very tie. Which suggests that some Hollywood or New York studio costume clothing warehouse had this tie in stock at some point. If I could lay my hands on the picture, I'd scan and post it too, but I don't know where it is at the moment. Buried in some box, no doubt.

The tie has no sewn in labels, but one label printed directly into the fabric reads "HABAND" inside a blank US map. I've scanned and uploaded a picture of this label for your delectation.