Grandfather's knitted tie

Worn since the 1950s

Faye Fearon, Paris, France

Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Faye Fearon. I'm a fashion journalist, born and raised in Liverpool, now living in Paris. My perception of style has been developed through music, films, books and art, so I always write about clothing with culture in mind.

Could you introduce us to this piece? Where does it come from? How old is it?
This is a classic knitted tie with a width of 5.5cm, crafted in a navy wool and finished with a square cut at the bottom. It was made in Italy but purchased in England’s maritime city, Liverpool, in the 1950s.

Did it belong to someone else before you? Did you buy it for yourself? Why did you buy it? How did you find it?
This tie was purchased and first worn by my grandfather. He grew up in a working class town just outside Liverpool, and for clothing, the knitted tie was an accessible post-war accessory among popular classes – members of The Beatles included. My father held onto it and handed it down to me last year; it’s the first (and only) tie I own and I really treasure it.

Do you remember the first time you wore it?
It was for a Margaret Howell fashion show last year. I remember receiving a few looks on my journey which was quite funny; even though it’s 2020, the image of a woman in a tie – for pure style rather than practical purposes – still triggers some surprise. Fortunately, the collection I then saw was filled with girls in ties, so that brought a bit of hope!

What are your memories of this piece?
Naturally, I think of my grandfather and how he wore this tie, but because it comes from the late fifties, I also think of designers from its period like Ted Lapidus and Yves Saint Laurent: the men who made a unisex claim for it. Women still have quite a way to go to feel comfortable in serious menswear, but wearing a tie is a step in the right direction. So my own memories of this piece are the conversations that it has triggered – always enlightening, with a good variety of people.

Are there any signs of wear and tear? Have you already repaired this piece?
There’s a small pull on the bottom of the back shell which was there when I received it. You can’t see it while it’s worn but even if you could, I don’t think I would have it repaired. I like signs of character in clothing.

When do you usually wear it? Do you remember when you last wore it?
I haven’t had an opportunity to wear it lately due to our newfound lockdown lifestyle, but I think the last time was for a regular trip to Brick Lane. Sure, a tie has formal associations, but I have fun erasing that convention. Style is about dressing for yourself, and I feel self-assured with that thanks to this simple but very personal accessory.