Could neckties be cool again?
Are ties making a comeback? Photo: AFP
Now that older men have ditched it to look cool, the stylish young are reclaiming the necktie as their own, with the once-derided accessory making a stealthy comeback on the menswear runways.
"I never wear one," Antoine Arnault, the 34-year-old son of luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault at a recent menswear show by the LVMH-owned shoemaker Berluti - where ties were a full part of the look.
"Except on Monday afternoons when I have appointments with my father. If I didn't have a tie I'd be the odd one out."
On Saturday, his father was tie-less as he sat front row at the Dior Homme show - a fact that did not go unnoticed by the fashionista crowd.
"It's the weekend," whispered one.
Ties have been ubiquitous at many recent men’s fashion shows. And where there were no ties there was often the suggestion of one - in a strip of silk scarf visible under the collar at Paul Smith, or a crossed kimono-style silk shirt at Louis Vuitton.
Karl Lagerfeld for one never steps out without a tie.
"I have worn one all my life - starting at school," he said.
"I can't stand people looking dishevelled - especially after age 35!"
Because age is critical when it comes to the tie.
"For a few years now older men, businessmen have started going without a tie to look younger," said luxury consultant Jean-Jacques Picart.
"So it's only normal for young people to reclaim them."
The problem with going tie-less, said Picart, is that most shirts are designed for a tie. You have to choose a collar that buttons very high on the neck for it to look right - and there are not many of those out there.
Plus, past a certain age, the "neck can look a bit scrawny - a bit like a chicken or turkey's neck" - a powerful argument in his view for putting the tie back in its place.
"Ties are a part of the suit that is coming back," said designer Alber Elbaz.
"Not the ties of our fathers or grandfathers. They are worn by a new generation that comes from sport, new technologies.
"It's neither the world of the dandy nor of the boardroom."