1. How did you begin designing ties?
I’ve been with Hermès for 25 years now – I started out on the commercial side, but got closer to the product development side of things, then eventually began sketching with the designers. The first tie I designed was a heavy silk in a geometric pattern, but I’ve made a few more since then!
2. How has the wearing of a tie evolved during your years in the business?
The designs change, of course, but the way people connect with them has changed. Even 10 years ago, it was an obligation to wear ties for work, but now if you wear a tie, you tend to wear it for your own pleasure, and that makes a huge change in the way you buy the accessory. Earlier, buying a tie was treated like a chore, but now a customer takes his time, takes a lot of care, and wants it to express something close to him. Younger customers also buy ties almost as a sign of rebellion because the older generation isn’t wearing ties so much any more. Another development is that people are now wearing ties without heeding the classic rules for matching.
3. How have the Hermès tie designs changed?
Till as recently as eight years ago, we did mainly the twill ties, prints and heavy silk ties because customers were wearing ties to look like part of the pack, but now there’s more of an expression of individuality, so we design the collection keeping in mind many different men.
4. What are you trying to say with your tie?
The tie I’m wearing now looks like a very classic and professional striped tie. But when I turn it around, the reveal shows that the design is actually a very tiny snowboard. I love snowboarding, and wearing this tie is an expression of that. For the ‘8 Ties’ collection, I tried to infuse a sense of humour into the designs. That hidden humour is a very Hermès touch.
5. How can Indian men move beyond the tie?
Indian men are comfortable with colour and play around with it more than in conservative markets like North America. The new 100 x 100 scarf size is easier to wear – you don’t even have to knot the scarf for it to stay on. The scarf tie is a very versatile piece too. You could wear it as a tie for meetings, remove it during lunch, then wear it as a scarf for cocktails in the evening.
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