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Are Neckties Making a Fashion Comeback?

On the influential runways of Prada and Gucci, neckties were everywhere, as the return of formal events, dressing for the office and new rule-breaking ways to wear them fuel consumer interest, writes Imran Amed.
Prada Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear show in Milan.
Prada Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear show in Milan. (Spotlight/Launchmetrics.com)
BoF PROFESSIONAL

I hope you have all had a nice holiday and a good start to 2024.

As the men’s fashion season began in full force in Milan last week, one of the most unexpected trends to emerge was the return of the necktie, sent to Prada showgoers as an invitation and featured heavily throughout Mrs Prada and Raf Simons’ show. At Sabato de Sarno’s first menswear outing for Gucci which largely “mirrored” his womenswear debut in September, one of the new flourishes he added were extra long ties fastened with a chain as opposed to a knot.

Are we about to see a fashion boom in neckties?

A few months ago, I had to wear a suit for a gala dinner event. I didn’t want to wear a tuxedo as it felt like I would be overdoing it. So I put on a crisp white shirt and a classic tailored suit and, for the first time since the pandemic, a necktie (by Dries Van Noten) to complete the look. Like many guys, I haven’t worn suits very much at all lately, let alone put on a tie. But it looked stylish and felt unusually empowering — and my partner who is a stylist said to me “You look cute!”

I can’t imagine I’ll be turning to ties for everyday wear anytime soon. But Will Welch, global editorial director of GQ, certainly has. Last year in New York, Will surprised me when he turned up for our casual catch-up lunch in a suit and tie. And when I saw the images coming out of Milan Fashion Week, I immediately thought of Will, and wondered what he made of the necktie’s return to the runways and what was behind his own penchant for ties.

Will Welch and Sam Hine outside the Gucci Show at Milan Men's Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2023.

“It wasn’t so conscious at the time, but in retrospect I think the impulse to put on a tie every morning was a pretty straightforward reaction to the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” he told me via email. “A desire to inject a little rigour into my day after so much uncertainty, almost as a way to speed things along in whatever little way I could. I was very early to return to the office for the same reason.”

But let’s be clear. Will is no regular guy. As a men’s fashion editor, it’s his job to zig when other people zag, and as so many of the spaces that were once so dominated by men in ties are now basically tie-less, it’s actually quite punk to just casually wear a tie these days.

“I remember seeing that 2022 photo of the G7, with all the world leaders in their blue business suits and expensive open-collar white dress shirts. The day that photo hit Twitter, I was of course wearing a tie and I remember feeling a bit of affirmation,” he added. “It’s like, “Whatever those guys are doing, I’m going the other way.”

(L-R) Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US President Joe Biden, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pose for a family photo during the G7 Summit.

Plus, as the rules around how to wear a tie are changing, stylish people have found ways of making their ties look very different to those once worn by the G7 bros, making them feel more of the moment.

“It’s fashion, you know? All the pendulum knows how to do is swing. I do think ties are making a proper comeback,” Will concluded.

According to Bloomberg, the brands putting ties on the runway this season are, at least in part, responding to rebounding demand from their customers, many of whom have been returning to formal events and even dressing up for the office as an occasion in and of itself.

That said, I’m not expecting a real boom in sales of neckties anytime soon. There’s plenty of ties sitting idle in wardrobes and simply getting these back into rotation should be enough to hop on the trend for most guys out there.

Introducing The Business of Beauty Daily Newsletter

One year ago, we announced our growing commitment to covering the global beauty and wellness industries with the same level of rigour and in-depth analysis as we bring to fashion. Starting this week, The Business of Beauty newsletter has moved to a daily cadence, with a must-read feature on the global beauty business, as well as the beauty news and information you need to know, delivered to your inbox each day, all overseen by our executive editor Priya Rao.

To sign up for your complimentary subscription to The Business of Beauty daily newsletter, click here.

This Weekend on The BoF Podcast

The BoF Podcast | Matthieu Blazy’s Creative Alchemy at Bottega Veneta
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Matthieu Blazy has been a quiet but powerful force in the fashion industry for years, having worked behind the scenes under powerhouse designers like Raf Simons and Phoebe Philo. But in 2021, after Daniel Lee exited Bottega Veneta, Blazy took the top job at the Italian stealth wealth powerhouse. Since then, he has developed a reputation for pushing creative boundaries; BoF editors named his carnivalesque Autumn/Winter 2023 collection, which featured tank tops and jeans made of leather, as our favourite show of the season.

This week on The BoF Podcast, Blazy opens up about his creative processes and work for Bottega Veneta in a conversation with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks from BoF VOICES 2023.

Imran Amed, Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, The Business of Fashion

Plus, here are my other top picks from our analysis on fashion, luxury and beauty:

1. For Fashion Supply Chains, Chaos Is the New Normal. Escalating conflict in the Red Sea will place inflationary pressures on retailers — and eventually their consumers — with potential consequences for the global economy at large.

Cargo ships pass through Suez Canal

2. Why Calvin Klein Ads Still Get People Talking. Steamy images of Jeremy Allen White and FKA Twigs pushed the brand — which has a well-documented history of courting controversy — to the centre of conversation once again, proving casting and timing plus a little bit of provocation can fuel relevance.

Calvin Klein tapped Jeremy Allen White for its latest underwear campaign

3. China’s Luxury Market Set for Moderate Growth. Despite the country’s protracted property crisis, deflationary pressures and other economic headwinds, its domestic luxury market is expected to grow 4 to 6 percent in 2024, outpacing Europe and the US.

Visitors look at a gold, green and jade dragon sculpture created by luxury brand Louis Vuitton in Shanghai, China, Jan. 2, 2024.

4. Beauty’s Most Sought-After M&A Targets in 2024. Now that the market has stabilised, beauty brands of all shapes and sizes are eager to get their dues. The Business of Beauty identifies the top targets of the year including Kosas, Summer Fridays and Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty.

A slew of beauty products in colourful packaging.

5. Are New Materials Ready to Go Mainstream? A wave of high-profile failures has dampened the hype around biofabricated materials and ingredients, making this year a critical one for start-ups in the space to execute on scale-up plans.

Mexican start-up Polybion is among a number or start-ups seeking to bring biofabricated materials to market.

To receive this email in your inbox each Saturday, sign up to The Daily Digest newsletter for agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice that you won’t find anywhere else.

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