The Hermès silk workshop in Lyon, France.
Style Style Profile

The work and nuances that go into an Hermès tie

With silk sourced from silkworms in Brazil, softened by olive oil soap, and hand-stitched to guarantee 'body," an Hermes tie is an ode to meticulous craftsmanship
Ana Santos | Feb 07 2019

Hermes ties are the accessory of choice for men who value quality and good taste and want to stand out in their suit. Each tie is made by hand and involves meticulous attention to detail.

 

Material

Using the same silk twill used for their famed scarves, Hermes buys skeins of silk one year in advance and uses only the finest silk threads from cocoons woven by silkworms in Brazil.

Woven silk has an ecru color and is actually rough and brittle to the touch. Soaking silk with olive oil soap in a process called decreusage softens and whitens, the material to make it ready for printing.

Aside from its superb drape and suppleness, silk is hypoallergenic and adapts to prevailing temperatures—cool during summer, warm when it's cold.

Engraving and printing

Figurative patterns that reflect gentlemanly pursuits like riding, hunting, and sailing are engraved and printed in a technique known as flat screen or Lyonnais. The silk twill is fully unrolled on a 100-meter-long table and each screen is set on the silk in a specific order. Color seeps through the perforations in the gauze and the gradually appears.

With intricate attention to detail, patterns are printed in the shape of the tie and set in such a way that when the tie is worn, the orientation of the pattern always remain the same. This guarantees upside-down patterns as animals.

 

Cut

Unlike most ties, which are made of three parts (the large panel, collar, and small panel), the Hermes twill tie has only two parts: the large and small panel. This makes it possible to print two panel on one piece of silk. The background and inner lining are printed simultaneously to ensure that their colors are exactly the same.

Assembly, folding, and stitching

Once the two panels and their lining have been joined the interlining is fitted inside the tie. The tie is then hand-stitched along its length using a single silk thread. The precision of the hand-stitching using a special Hermes fold gives the tie its exceptional body. Using the finest Brazilian silk and delicately hand sewing the interlining—which is a blend of cotton and wool—determine the supple "hand" feel of the tie, and gives it its constant shape and hang.

 

Tie Timeline

2.21 BC

China's Emperor Shi Huang Ti is believed to be the first man to use a tie. Neckwear resembling the modern tie is discovered in statues of the emperor and his terracotta army in a tomb Xi’an.

1650

Inspired by the scarves worn by Croatian soldiers, French King Louis IV and his court adopt the first version of the tie in Europe. The French word for tie, La Cravatte, was derived from the term "Croat."

1800s

The first mass-produced ties are manufactured for the growing class of businessmen of the Industrial Revolution. The word "tie" replaces "cravat" in the West.

1924

An American tailor named Jesse Langsdorf created—and patented—the tie's modern look, with its bias cut and three-piece construction.

1936

The Duke of Windsor popularizes the wide, triangular Windsor knot.

Duke of Windsor

1949

Gentlemen refused a casino in Cannes because they lacked "suitable neckwear." This prompted Bobby Breward, director of the Hermes store in Cannes, to conceptualize and launch the idea of the Hermes tie.

1950s

Known as the era of the Hermes classic themes, evoking the images that mark the Hermes traditional universe: figurative, geometric patterns, where bits, stirrups, and chaine d'ancre were printed on Hermes ties.

1995

Tie sales hit a peak of USD 1.3 billion, but steadily decline after the trend in business casual takes hold in the workplace.

The present

Ties remain the standard for business attire. The current tie is considerably wider than those fashionable in the '60s, although the slim tie has been making a comeback in recent years.