Video blog: Marwood lace bow tie, a special commission for Sharpened Lead
Many readers will be too young to remember the Croft Original cream sherry advert which featured the line ‘One instinctively knows when something is right’ but that was definitely the sentiment when I spotted the delicate lace ties by Marwood via a lovely piece by Steve on Style Salvage back in January. A few glimpses of the creamy, fragile-looking lace bow ties in particular, and I was penning an enquiry email to Becky French who runs the label, having read that the ties would be exclusively available at b Store and even then, not for some time. Running into Becky in person, at her Fashion East installation at LFW menswear day a few weeks later, allowed me to follow up my request in person, with promises of a special feature on Sharpened Lead. Fast forward a couple of months and you’ll see me eagerly unwrapping the exquisite parcel, a moment I share with you here in photographs.
After opening the box, and the inevitable puppy try-on, I discovered the lovely surprise of a pocket square in the same, exquisite mesh lace.From the very first I had had plans for this tie: a certain occasion, celebrating the long union of two dear friends who are now enjoying a second honeymoon in Bhutan. Becky admitted that the timing to get the tie made by April 9th would be tight, but I think could appreciate the gleam in my eye to acquire this beautiful accessory. I’ve long had a thing for lace, influenced, no doubt, by a Gothic youth spent equally lurking by the stage door at Sisters of Mercy gigs and pondering the fin de siécle period in art and literature at the V&A museum.
It was always going to be a bow tie and it was always going to be ecru, the choice was between geometric and mesh lace options. Becky offered the perfect guidance, ‘the mesh lace is definitely more delicate whereas the ecru geometric is more solid and formed’. I loved the suggestion of delicacy and so an ecru on ecru bow tie was ordered in mesh lace. My first sighting of the ties back in January was one of those moments when a single item brings to mind a whole outfit in entirety: I knew exactly what I was going to wear the tie with, and how, and in another first, the video featured at the foot of this post tells the styling story of this particular outfit.
I will not linger on the detail of these ties are made, as this was done, as meticulously as ever, by Steve in the Style Salvage piece. But I must add, that handling the tie with full knowledge of the care and craftsmanship that a piece of real English lace and silk entails, is a very evocative experience. I love the combination of the traditional male dress item, but manufactured in a fabric with feminine associations. More evidence of the new androgeny! (expect *lots* more on that theme this year).
So, the party is over. The tie is back in its box, through regularly taken out and admired. The photos here capture the gorgeous, sunny moment that the box arrived, thanks to Becky’s attentive care. The video story, of the ritual involved in putting the outfit together, is the start of a new series here at Sharpened Lead, I hope it does credit to the uniqueness of Marwood‘s ties. Something about their specialness suggested the moving image was called for: that tie was ready for it’s close-up.
Styled by myself, Colin Chapman, video shot and edited by Dunk Barnes. The following items appear:
Hand-made English lace bow tie, by Marwood London
Button-down oxford shirt in navy speckle by Rugby Ralph Lauren, New York City
Indigo cotton blazer by Our Legacy, from Kocksgatan, Copenhagen
Silk scarf by Thomas Wylde from wasteland, San Francisco
Vintage jeans by Helmut Lang, personal collection
Vintage grosgrain ribbon belt from thrift store, Palm Springs
Tricolour toile de jouy Keds, special edition by Opening Ceremony for NYFW, Sept ’10
Grooming products: Kiehls, Burt’s Bees, Mr Natty