Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dotted stripes of brown on gold

This is an example of not really paying attention and thinking less of a tie because of its current condition. This tie is old, has a stain on it, and has totally lost whatever resiliency it once might have had. The fabric is limp and almost bedraggled looking nowadays. And the colors are not particularly bright or spectacular.

Consequently, I never paid it much mind, or thought very much of it. I wear it once a year or so, when I have an appropriately colored shirt available.

Then today, while scanning the tie, I read the label, sewed inside the small end:

Created Expressly For
Freem's Ltd.
Waldorf Astoria, New York
Roney Plaza Miami Beach
Hand Painted - All Silk

Wow! Who knew? And now that I look more closely, I can see that this was, indeed, one mighty fine tie in its day. Just look at the magnificent brocaded fabric which provides the background, featuring large swirling patterns, reminiscent of a stylized sun or sunflower. Then, the supposedly hand-painted pattern overlaid onto it: brown stripes of varying widths running in a traditional angle down the tie, neither horizontal nor vertical, but 45 degrees between the two.

The wide stripes have lozenge-shaped openings left in them, like a series of oval dots. Painted on top of these are more dots, off-white in color, but deliberately narrower than the original openings, to allow some of the background color to show through next to the off-white. And the narrow brown stripes have additional dots painted next to them, rather than on top of the stripe.

There is a pair of initials, presumably those of the painter, painted near the bottom of the small end of the tie. "HF" is how I would read them. I have no idea who HF might have been.

Another point worth noting is that on the small end, the background color is a slightly different shade of gold, almost a greenish-gold color. I don't think it's really very perceptible in the scan, but it definitely is when you have the tie in hand. Since this end of the tie has likely had less exposure to light and sun than the large end, one presumes this might be closer to the original color.

A lovely tie indeed, even if today it presents only a shadow of its original presumed glory.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm....maybe it was made for Henry Fonda!


Anonymous said...

Freem's Ltd. was in business at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York from 1931-1956 and in Miami Beach from 1936-1950. Its owner, Lou Freedman, who owned a store on Broadway, was chosen from 150 applicants to open a shop in the Waldorf, the first men's store on Park Avenue. It was one of the great stores in the country. All of the merchandise was made especially for the store and its exact duplicate was found nowhere else.

Will said...

Hey, thanks for the comments, both of you. Re Henry Fonda, Jim, the only other celebrity I can think of off hand with those initials would be Henry Ford!

I appreciate the information about Freem's Ltd. which I suppose (as a librarian), I should have been able to look up on my own, but didn't, so it's definitely nice to know a little more about it.