By Christene Barberich and Piera Gelardi
From left to right: Burberry (Fall/Winter '06), Viktor & Rolf (Spring/Summer '07)
No question, we thought it just a tad kooky when menswear designer Thom Browne sent his models gliding out over the ice to gracefully showcase his Fall 2006 collection last winter. The presentation of short pants and school-boy suits was enough to leave a strong impression, but it was all those wonderful bowties present that made us feel like a revival was in order: bowties are hot.
Sure, you need a physics degree just to tie one, but that distinctive little bow of plaid, striped, or floral silk worn with a stiff button-down is worth it. We've seen clues of other neck candy creeping onto the scene (loose cravats, the ascot), but the bowtie has won our hearts. But in order to get the new-old bowtie right, one must banish any staid references to the "bowtie" guy, those smart-looking men that always—always—wear bowties (read: eccentric attorneys and/or Tucker Carlson).
From left to right: Thom Browne. New York, Chanel, Burberry (all Fall/Winter '06)
The bowtie is unmistakably classic, but there's a rebellion afoot in how it's being worn. For Fall '06, Burberry paired theirs with studded, punk-inspired belts, animal prints, and cool trenches, and for Spring '07 Viktor & Rolf added bowties with wind breakers and sneakers and a graffiti-print button-down. Plus, the bowtie is surfacing in womenswear, too: at Lanvin with fitted blazers, slim pants, and riding boots, and at Chanel's Spring '07 couture show, Karl (an admitted bowtie convert) adorned one models' neck with multiple bows.
Many designs are available are already pre-bowed (J.Press has many from plaid to stripes and even little skulls and crossbones), but if you're feeling dexterous, here's a link to a nifty How To guide (steps are printed backward so you can print them out and hang them from your shirt pocket, while reading them in the mirror).
Viktor & Rolf photographs by Peter Stigter. Thom Browne. New York photograph by Dan Lecca.
It's impractical, old-fashioned, maybe even a little goofy. But who cares? Bowties are hot.