Sunday, February 24, 2008

Castle and Fleur-de-Lis

This tie depicts the fairy tale style castle where Romeo and Juliet (from two weeks ago) or any other star-crossed lovers could appropriately live their life of happily ever after, should they be so fortunate. Likewise, the demoiselle from a month ago could well be on her way to a castle like this, once she steps back into her fine equipage.

It's a definitely a Walt Disney style castle, or perhaps one from the more romanticized versions of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

So one could argue over whether this tie is truly depicting things from the real world, since the Bavarian Castle, Schloss Neuschwanstein, is probably the only real world castle that resembles this romantic image with any degree of accuracy, and even this castle is more the result of a dream world, than reality. You can read the sad history of King Ludwig II of Bavaria on the castle's web site.

But we all WANT castles like this to exist, and they do in our imagination, and in the imaginations of many a writer of fairy tales and fantasy worlds, alternate realities galore.

Another interesting feature on this tie is the appearance of the symbolic Fleur-de-lis. This is a real version of the Fleur-de-lis symbol, not a vaguely heraldic pseudo-version, such as those on the ties I featured back in April, May and June of last year.

This tie also has an unusual brocade effect woven into the fabric. The brocade alternates broad stripes that run at a 45 degree angle across the tie, sloping from right to left. Every other stripe is plain and smooth, alternating with stripes that have a finely woven circular pattern, with a dot in the center of each.

On the scan you may only be able to see those central dots. Try clicking on the image to get a larger view, to see if the brocade becomes more visible that way.

This tie has two interesting labels. One is printed directly onto the fabric of the tie, and reads "Silhouette" inside a "3-D" box. The other is a sewn-in label which reads
Sun Valley
Tie of Ties
I've scanned an image of the two labels, and posted it here for your edification or entertainment, as the case may be.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hearts for Valentine's Day

Hopefully varying only slightly from the current theme of ties that depict real things, I present in honor of Valentine's Day just past, this vintage tie depicting red and white hearts on a field of navy blue. I suggest that this varies slightly from the theme because real hearts are not, or course, heart shaped.

But this is the only vintage tie in my collection that seems directly related to Valentine's Day, although last week's star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, come close.

These hearts, in red and white, and with their decorative interior scrollwork designs, remind me, somehow of Alice in Wonderland, and the Queen of Hearts, the Knave of Hearts, and all. "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!"

Well, that's not a very appropriate sentiment for Valentine's Day. Sorry.

I wore this tie to work on the day BEFORE Valentine's Day, because I have several modern ties featuring hearts, and one of them is considerably more dramatic than this one, and thus made the cut for wearing on Valentine's Day proper. The others, including this one, had to settle for the other days during the week in which Valentine's Day fell.

I think I'm rambling, so I'll sign off. This tie unfortunately has no labels to record, so that's it until next week, when we'll resume more directly the theme of ties depicting real things (as opposed to ties merely decorated with patterns or abstract designs).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Romeo and Juliet

Continuing the theme of ties that depict people and things; images from the real world, real or imagined, I call this week's tie Romeo and Juliet, since he is reaching up to her on the balcony at night, and then, below, they are depicted together, embracing.

Sometimes I refer to it as my "Mozart" tie, since the man appears bewigged and costumed as was the style in the Mozart era. But I think Romeo and Juliet is probably a more accurate description. In this tie, at least, we have them before the tragic finale to their story. Here, at least, they appear to be living happily ever after, or enjoying each other's company, for the time being, at least.

I tried an experiment with this tie, and it probably wasn't all that successful. I had to scan the tie in two pieces, like last week, but this week, I pulled the two pieces into my image editing software, and attempted to stitch the two together. That part of the process was relatively successful. I wasn't able to get them to match up exactly, but close enough for government work, as the expression goes.

But when I uploaded the image, it appears much narrower than usual, and I'm not really sure why. I always scan my ties at 300 DPI, then pull them into the image editing software, and resize them to 400 pixels wide before saving them in JPEG format for uploading to the blog. This image is saved to 400 pixels in width, just like all the others, so why is it appearing so much narrower? I'm guessing it is because it is so much longer (taller) than the others. Blogger probably has a limit on the amount of space it will allow an image to fill, and when it compresses this one vertically, that makes it narrower as well.

To see the tie better, just click on it, and it should come up in your browser window all by itself, but considerably enlarged. So large that you'll have to scroll up and down to see the various parts of it. But at least, you'll be able to see the details much more clearly there. You'll also probably notice a faint line of color change right about at Romeo's waist, which is where the two halves were stitched together.

Also please take a look at the very bottom of the tie, where there appears a small carriage with the letters "SM" in script between the wheels. I suspect that this is the designer's logo, but I'm not savvy enough to recognize it. I did some casual Google searching, both in the regular index, and in images, but couldn't come up with anything. So if anyone recognizes this logo, if indeed, that's what it is, please let me know. There are no labels in the tie.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dali Celbrates 100th Vintage Ties Posting

To celebrate 100 Vintage Ties blog entries, and my third year blogging ties, I can't resist showing off my pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème, the ne plus ultra, the apex, the acme, if not the epitome and pinnacle of my vintage tie collection, namely my Salvador Dali specimen.

Every vintage tile collector covets a Salvador Dali tie, and they sell quite frequently on eBay, as there were apparently dozens of designs made with the Dali signature on them. (According to expert collector Ron Sparks, see below, there were 43 different Dali designs, although he doesn't cite a source for that number.)

Nevertheless, they are some of the most expensive ties to buy in that venue, far too pricey for my pocketbook. I think the least I've ever seen one go for is $65, and most of them go for over $100.00, some occasionally are listed as high as $250, although I didn't keep track of whether they actually sold or not. The prices may be coming down slightly these days, as more and more Dali ties seem to keep coming on the eBay market.

But I found mine the old-fashioned way! It was on a rack of used ties in a second-hand clothing store, where the proprietors obviously had no clue about what they had.

When I bought it, I didn't even know that Salvador Dali HAD designed ties, and although I saw the stylized Dali signature on it right away, I didn't know for sure if it was real or not. That is, I didn't know if it referred to the REAL Dali, namely Salvador Dali. It wasn't until several years later, when I bought (or someone gave me) a copy of the book Fit to Be Tied: Vintage Ties of the Forties and Early Fifities by Rod Dyer, Ron Spark, and Steve Sakai, and I found several images of Dali ties in the book, that I was able to confirm that I had a genuine Dali, too.

The book is a must have for any vintage tie fan. Full of beautiful full-color pictures of vintage ties from the collection of Dr. Ronald P. Spark, listed as one of the authors, it provides the best documentation for the era's ties of which I'm aware. One of the ties I own appears on the cover--well, it's not MY tie, per se, but a picture of the same tie design which Dr. Spark obviously owns as well.

But none of the Dali designs depicted in the book is mine, and in fact, I've only ever seen my design elsewhere one time, when a different colored version of it appeared on eBay. I thought I saved a copy of that image, and/or obtained one from the K.N.O.T. website, but I can't currently locate it on my hard drive, or on the K.N.O.T site. If it turns up, I'll add it to this post later.

So what to say about the tie itself? It has the title "Extravaganza," printed on the inside of the wide end of the tie. See the closeup image provided. You'll have to look closely. The word is written in pale blue letters on the dark blue background, vertically up the left side of the tie, to the immediate right of the pale blue spear-shaped section that points up along the lower left side of the image with the label on it. Look carefully, and you'll spot it.

Looking at the Extravaganza design itself, one sees (on the second image nearest the bottom of the tie) a stylized image of a woman in red, with her arms reaching up above her head. She is ensconced in the middle of a red ring that is filled with floral excrescences eked out in shades of white. Further up the tie (you'll have to look at the first image) you see a similar shaped object decked out in the same colors, only this one is a rose, not a woman.

So is Dali making a not-so-subtle equation of a woman with a beautiful flower, specifically a rose? Is he equating womanhood with the beauty of a flower? Ephemeral, etc.? We are all mortal, men and women alike, of course, and whatever beauty or other virtues we may have are indeed transitory.

I'll leave the rest of the symbolism up to the individual interpretation of whoever is reading this, or looking at the images. Your comments are naturally welcome.

Finally, the last image shows the stylized Dali signature in a more closeup view. Every vintage Dali tie I've seen pictures of has the signature in exactly this same position on the tie. The tie has one sewed in label which reads:
made and styled in