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The Straight and Narrow

Italian neckwear is slimming down for fall. Even some classic tie makers are inching toward the reed-thin shapes.

Italian neckwear is slimming down for fall. Even some classic tie makers are inching toward the reed-thin shapes introduced earlier by designers like Thom Browne and Hedi Slimane. 

“Thanks to them, a younger style of tie is back in fashion,” says Luigi Turconi, director of Ratti’s neckwear division. “It has pushed young people to wear ties again, and that’s fantastic to see.”

With an eye toward that customer, many neckwear producers have shaved a centimeter or two off the traditional tie width. For fall they favor relatively modern styles that are seven, eight or 8.5 centimeters wide. “What Dior brought to men’s wear six years ago is now touching our customer. We have seven-centimeter ties and even six-centimeter silk crochet ties that are selling well,” says Yvan Benbanaste, fashion coordinator for Pal Zileri. 

Though shapes have been updated, tie designs remain subtle and understated. Regimental stripes, small, graphic jacquards, unfettered paisleys and geometric patterns dominate the fall offerings. “Our neckwear collection was inspired by tapestries from the 17th century—the designs have a moiré background,” says Anna Zegna, global image and store director for Ermenegildo Zegna, who notes that these designs incorporate stripes and paisleys, as well as geometric shapes. 

Ferragamo’s micro–animal prints appear geometric at first glance. A closer look reveals sleeping foxes or bears on ice skates, while the storied Florentine fashion house’s jacquard designs include its iconic symbol in multiple colors. 

Pal Zileri’s modern jacquards include houndstooth, tiny flowers and small dots in modern color combinations like orange dots on a brown background. 

Wool and cashmere make a comeback for fall, but instead of channeling an English gentleman in the countryside, ties made with these fibers adopt a modern look, with tighter weaves, lighter weights and updated patterns. Ermenegildo Zegna has perfected a loom technique that gives a tie contrasting diagonal stripes in shiny silk and tightly weaved wool. Pal Zileri uses a cashmere/silk blend woven with silk in the warp and cashmere in the weft. 

Ratti, meanwhile, has dusted off some 30-year-old looms so it can weave ties the way it did in the ’70s. For its own Diva label, the mill has produced suede-touch silk that’s discharge-printed with small, graphic paisleys in dark blue, chocolate and dusty burgundy with bottle green and mustard accents. The looks were inspired by English ties from the ’60s and ’30s, researched from a neckwear museum in North England. But Ratti’s approach isn’t altogether retro: The firm has developed 36- to 50-ounce twill silk fabrics that complement the modern luxury tie’s narrower width.