The Hottest Product at Hermès? It’s Not a Bag—It’s the Necktie


I ask him why, exactly, he is throwing a tie-themed dinner party in downtown New York in 2023. “If you were asking me the same question maybe two years ago,” he says, “I would not be as optimistic as I am today.” 

It wasn’t surprising, Goineau tells me, that tie sales dropped during the work-from-home era. But then, almost as quickly, they rebounded. This year, Hermès tie sales returned to 2019 levels. (Leading up to the pandemic, sales had been slowly but steadily increasing.) In a tieless world, the Hermès tie is, paradoxically, surging in popularity. “I didn’t know that it was going to recover as fast as that,” Goineau says. 

In the past few years, one of the prevailing trends in men’s fashion—borne out on the runways and in the market—has been a return to dressiness, stoked by an explosion of weddings and parties, and a souring on the soft, shapeless clothing of our homebound lives. But the revival of the Hermès tie adds an interesting wrinkle to this elegant new era, which many have identified as heralding a “quiet luxury” style revolution. With their bright tones and expressive patterns, most Hermès ties are pure whimsy. “If you look at the Hermès tie, they are colorful. They are soft and very light. In a way, I think that we could even say that they are quite feminine,” says Goineau. This “emotional” approach to style has connected squarely with a distinctly younger customer, according to Goineau, who has noted a new generation flocking to the silks department in the last few years. 

Hermès introduced its men’s necktie in the 1950s. As the story goes, an Hermès shop in Cannes began selling them to gamblers who needed neckwear to enter a nearby casino. In the ’80s, the company added a series of ties covered in intricately drawn animals: prancing horses, in the brand’s equestrian tradition, were joined by flying elephants, swinging monkeys, and pandas cuddling Hermès jewelry. Businessmen, moguls, and politicians, who were otherwise stuck with dark navy suits and white dress shirts, couldn’t get enough of the cheeky collectible neckwear, and by the late ’90s, the brand was selling more than one million ties a year. 

Now that not even G7 world leaders wear neckties, the next generation is carrying the obsession forward. Even if the Hermès tie’s renewed grail status wasn’t evident just yet on the streets of Tribeca, inside The Odeon, the waitstaff displayed some of the ways the tie’s strict rep could be loosened, spiritually if not practically. Before dinner kicked off, the stylist Ryan Young stood in a corner twisting the fine silks like balloon animals: one server sported a necktie origami-d into an oversized bow, another had three ties erupting in concert out of their collar. A bartender sported criss-cross suspenders made of interwoven patterned cravats. “They are just having fun,” says Goineau of Hermès’s younger customers. “It was a part of a uniform, and now it’s the opposite. The young guys see the tie as a touch of fantasy in a way. It’s quite different, they don’t use the product the same way as we do.”

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