Take A Bow - January 2005
Say bye-bye to black-tie boredom
Thereís nary a preservationist alive that can keep up with the world of fashion when it comes to recycling. Old trends and fads die and are born again with Promethean regularity. So itís hardly been a surprise to see the bow tie, whose popularity dates back to at least the late 19th century, back around the necks of some of the Western worldís most fashionable men.
Of course, when we say "bow tie," weíre not talking about that black strip of fabric you may have hanging in the back of your closet, ready to be twisted around your collar for the umpteenth time. Weíre talking ties with sprit Ė and so is Chicago-based designer Lee Allison.
Allisonís eponymous clothing company offers a dizzying array of ties in two loosely grouped categories: "conversational" and "non-conversational." The non-cons, of course, include the various kinds of polka dots, stripes and standard geometry that generally decorate ties; itís the "conversational" patterns we canít take out eyes off of.
Take the "Baseball" tie, for example, peppered with diminutive players in various poses. Or check out "Email," featuring and endless parade of "@" signs interrupted by assorted common e-mail extensions (.com,.edu, .gov, etc.).
And just in case the phrase "bow tie" evokes an image of you standing pink-faced in front of the mirror, fingers fumbling clumsily about your collar, trying to figure out how the blasted thing works, donít fret: When ordered as part of a tie-and cummerbund set, Allisonís ties can come pre-tie by request.
Itís all about putting a contemporary twist on an age-old accessory, just the kind of thing we think could give Allison a strangle-hold on the bow-tie business.
Allisonís bow ties retail for $52 and are available at department and specialty stores around the country, including Country Gentleman in Barrington, Carriage House in Northbrook and Marshall Fieldís in Chicago.