A while back, I was graciously offered a tie to review by Gianni Cerutti of Passaggio Cravatte. I had heard so many good things about them, and never having owned an Italian seven fold tie, I accepted. Besides, the broken English of whatever translator he used in his emails, all of which began "Hello, Dear", was something I couldn't refuse.
His process was in depth and friendly. After we agreed to work together, he sent me over 200 high resolution photos of vintage fabrics he has on hand, silks, grenadines, knits in wool and cashmere,you name it. In many cases, each fabric is only enough for a few ties. After some deliberation, I settled on a soft cashmere in burgundy, brown, and tan tic weave. I gave him the length and width of a favorite tie of mine and waited excitedly for my tie to arrive.
In a matter of only two short weeks, my tie had arrived. The cashmere was softer than I could have imagined, and the construction is indeed superb. All Gianni's ties are made to order, completely by hand, in his small studio in Naples. The tie is unlined, with a rolled tip and seven fold construction, which gives it a nice heft yet lets it hang very softly when tied. I hate to sound maudlin, but it really is something of a work of art. In person, there is no denying the superior quality this tie has in relation to nearly all of my others, that there is something special about this one is obvious from a distance (that is, to a clothing nerd who thinks too much about these things anyway). The only other tie I have that comes close is a wool and cashmere blend made in Italy by Paul Stuart.
As you can imagine, these things do not come cheap. This tie would have sold for 195 Euro, or roughly $235. No small chunk of change, and frankly a hard thing for me to justify endorsing on a blog about being cheap. But we need to consider it in context I suppose. Ralph Lauren Purple Label sells ties for upwards of $220, but there are a lot of each of them. The tie I ordered is the only like it in existence, and that's at least worth something. If you're reading this blog, chances are you probably won't be ordering one of these any time soon, but it is worth knowing that in very rare cases, things are expensive for a very real reason. My Nonna would have loved this tie, for it's Italian-ness as well as the beauty of it's construction and material. She was like that.
p.s. Speaking of ties, look for a follow up to this story soon. It's been really interesting the way this has developed, and I look forward to sharing the results with you.
p.p.s. In the Shameless Self Promotion Department, Spring Clearance Sale is happening now in the AAW Shop.