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Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars 2011 Refreshing Midnight Blue

I spoke too soon. Jeremy Renner is dressed in midnight blue wool tuxedo with midnight blue satin shawl lapel and midnight blue bow tie. The silk used on the lapel seems to have weight which is nice. I would have curved the pockets and run a pipe around them or else just left them as jets. I have mentioned it before but the Prince of Wales used to remark that midnight blue was the only true dinner jacket cloth - for in those days when candle light was the main source of lighting for dinner parties, midnight blue gave off a much richer black in dim light. That's not necessarily relevant these days. Still, it is very refreshing to see someone step out like this.

Oscars 2011 Bow Ties

Of all the images I saw I liked this one the best. It's of Armie Hammer who played one of the Winklevoss twins in the Social Network. Here he is dressed classically in a slim black satin shawl lapel tuxedo with a bow tie which is nicely proportionate to his face (albeit looking very pre-tied). So far I have seen nothing else which is worth of noting.

Arnold Rothstein Checks Out

Well, certainly Arnold Rothstein wore bow ties.

Arnold Rothstein (January 18, 1882–November 4, 1928), nicknamed "The Brain", was a New York businessman and gambler who became a famous kingpin of the Jewish mafia. Rothstein was also widely reputed to have been behind baseball's Black Sox Scandal, in which the 1919 World Series was fixed. His notoriety inspired several fictional characters based on his life, including "Meyer Wolfsheim" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby[1] ; the character who shared his name in the Broadway Musical "Legs Diamond"; and "Nathan Detroit" in the Damon Runyon story The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown, which was made into the musical Guys and Dolls.
According to crime writer Leo Katcher, Rothstein "transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top."[2] According toRich Cohen, Rothstein was the person who first saw in Prohibition a business opportunity, a means to enormous wealth, who "understood the truths of early century capitalism and came to dominate them". Rothstein was the Moses of the Jewish gangsters, according to Cohen, the progenitor, a rich man's son who showed the young hoodlums of the Bowery how to have style; indeed, the man who, the Sicilian-American gangster Lucky Luciano later said, "taught me how to dress."[3]

Sunday, February 27, 2011

More Bow Ties From Boardwalk Empire

The bow ties in this HBO series are amazing but the sheer quantity you see - from bell hops, to people in the second  row of a midday boxing fight - seems a little far fetched. It would be very interesting to see historical references to that period in Atlantic City, Chicago and NYC to see how true to the period this would be. Did black bootleggers wear bow ties? Did young 22 year old budding gangsters like Arnold Rothstein wear bow ties? Don't get me wrong, I love what Boardwalk is doing for bow ties. I would just like to know if it's historically correct. I will do some research. 

'You can tell Nucky, I ain't got all day...'

One Of The Most Iconic Brand Images I Saw In 2010

Yves - How Very Cool

Here he comes again.... The most photographed bow tie wearer on the internet

Pharell Williams Leather Jacket And A Bow Tie

Tom Ford - Blue Velvet

There is something about midnight blue in velvet that is very chic, very English. On the left I particularly like this bow tie, it looks to be a red polka dot on a blue natte silk. I am not sure if that is the correct spelling for natte. Incidentally, I was told the other week that a lot of people who buy Tom Ford's bows leave the sponge  foam wedges between the folds in the bow - so that they can retain that fullness effect when they wear the bow. I thought that was a little odd. But it explains how the bow pictured is standing erect with no slouch. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Coming To America - The Bow Ties Continued!

I could not help myself, here are some shots of bow ties, and a few extra. The wonderful bow ties from the movie Coming To America starring Eddie Murphy, James Earl Jones and Arsenio Hall. This is a classic film and I love the tartan bows of McDowells.... 'Me and McDonalds, we have a little misunderstanding...' . McDonald's should bring back bow ties for sure!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

James Bond - Octopussy, Bow Ties, White Dinner Jackets And Silk Dressing Gowns

I think the greatest thing about being British would be being able to lay claim to James Bond. Other than that, England is just terrible weather and not very fresh food. It's a great spring from which you get the best music and the best art, the best literature, but really, for lifestyle I would not recommend it. But James Bond... The coolest cat around - outsmarting the Americans, putting as many notches on his belt as he can and always, always looking dapper. 

One of the first James Bond films I watched as a kid was a screening of Octopussy on Beta in the games room at the Cameron Highlands Strawberry Park resort. Wow, this is going back a while. My cousin Emil was the cameraman that trip for our Sony camcorder, those ones that were built like German tanks. Terrible home videos, he was in an experimental phase with his camera work... I digress. So, I was watching Octopussy again last night and of course, I was hunting for bow ties and what not. I think this is Roger Moore  at his near best. After the screenshots of bows you you will find images of Octopussy's Silk Robe. I didn't find her so attractive as a Bond woman but I loved the Robe. I think the Spy Who Loved Me's Agent XXX still has my heart - she had a certain vulnerability mixed with a killer instinct. 

Interestingly, there is no fly front on the white shirt. I also notice no satin on the lapel (am I wrong to expect satin on a white dinner jacket) and then a very very high collar which I love and what seems to be a rich heavy silk on the bow. The closest I offer to this bow is my premium satin in large butterfly

Above: That looks like a pre-tied slim batwing - pre-tied is like a wet handshake - probably why he was losing at backgammon. (Exception to the rule are velvet bows).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Happy Customer From Texas, USA

I bought this LNP Bowtie from Tie Deals.Com and loved it (Velvet Mayfair).
Frankie T, Texas

Thank you for sharing this with us Frankie. 

White Mischief & The Happy Valley Set

Years ago as a young boy, I watched White Mischief in my parent's bedroom until Greta Scaachi took off her dress to let her husband admire her naked body. I was quickly dismissed from the room by my mother.

I managed to find a copy of White Mischief and I was extremely curious in revisiting the film - because I had read somewhere that there was a connection between Lady Broughton and something I had read recently (Possibly the fact that Karen Blixen was part of the set). I could not remember what it was - it had me absolutely stumped - so I thought that if I watched the movie it might jog my memory.

The movie had fascinated me ever since my childhood when I had never been allowed to watch the entire film. All I could remember was her dropping her clothes and being dismissed from the room and then the end, when I was allowed back into the room, Lady Broughton going off with the farmer. So, I was unbelievably happy to get my hands on a copy and watch it start to finish without censorship.

And as a knee jerk reaction to my mother's authority, I am including some screen shots of the very stuff I was banned from watching!

On researching just a fraction - trying to find whatever relationship there was between Lady Broughton and whatever it was I read recently, I am going to put a little information from Wikipedia on the Happy Valley Set beneath the images.

Oh, and by the way, once again - a great film and many bow ties sprinkled everywhere!

A few shots that are not of bow ties....

Greta Scaachi as Lady Broughton; stunning shot, almost like a Vargas pin-up girl and below, looking like the willing infidel that she becomes. Honestly, these British aristocrats really lived it up in Nairobi. 

The wonderful chocolate smoking jacket of the peeping tom. 

Excerpt From Wikipedia
The Happy Valley set was a group of privileged British colonials living in the Happy Valley region of the Wanjohi Valley, [1] near the Aberdare mountain range, in the colonies of Kenya and Uganda during the 1920s - 1940s. The elite social group became notorious for stories of drug use and promiscuous sexual encounters.[2]
The area around Naivasha, Kenya was one of the first to be settled by white people and one of the hunting grounds of the hedonistic Happy Valley set. [3] The colonial town of Nyeri, Kenya, to the east of the Aberdare Range, was the center of Happy Valley settlers. [4]
The white community in Kenya in the pre-WWII period was divided into two distinct factions: settlers, on the one side, and colonial officials and tradesmen, on the other. Among both groups there was a dominance of upper-middle-class and upper-class British citizens, but the two groups often disagreed on issues ranging from land allocation to how to deal with the natives.
Typically, the officials and tradesmen looked on the Happy Valley set with disdain and embarrassment. The height of the Happy Valley set's influence was in the late 1920s. The recession sparked by the 1929 Wall Street stock market crash greatly decreased the number of new arrivals to Kenya and the influx of capital. Nevertheless, by 1939 Kenya had a white community of 21,000 people.
Some of the members (described below) of the Happy Valley set were: Hugh Cholmondeley (Lord Delamere), Sir Jock Delves BroughtonJosslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll, Lady Idina SackvilleAlice de JanzĂ© (cousin of J. Ogden Armour), Frederic de JanzĂ©, Lady Diana Delves Broughton, Hugh Dickenson, Jack SoamesNina SoamesLady June CarberryJuanita CarberryDickie Pembroke, and Julian Lezzard. Author Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) had also been a friend of Josslyn Hay.
In recent years, descendants of the Happy Valley set have been appearing in the news, particularly the legal troubles of Thomas P. G. Cholmondeley, the great-grandson of the famous Lord Delamere.

Lord and Lady Broughton

A young Lady Broughton

The Happy Valley Set

Joss Hay

Lord and Lady Broughton

The King's Speech Bow Ties

I cannot believe how many bow ties were featured in this film. In fact, it seems that everywhere you look these days there is a bow tie on at least one or two characters per film. But it seems to me that the more and more I come back to films I love the more and more I find bow ties. I would almost say that in order for a film to be great - it needs a bow tie here or there. Casablanca, Rushmore, Kings Speech, White Mischief, Coming  To America, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, To Catch A Thief..... I could go on and on. Really I could. If you have any bow tie pictures from your favourite films then don't be afraid to share them with me - email them to