Marks of Distinction

<< Back to Robb Report, September 2003
  • William Kissel

Sherlock Holmes used to say, “The little things are infinitely the most important.” It doesn’t take a detective, however, to grasp the significance of distinctive accessories in a man’s wardrobe. Fanciful dress furnishings not only add a dash of exuberance to the sobriety of a classic business suit, they are the calling cards that define a man’s taste, his values, and his sense of style.

This fall, the most elementary accessories—a handmade seven-fold necktie, benchmade footwear, an exotic belt with a custom-tooled buckle, eye-catching cuff links hand-set with gems, and a finely tuned writing instrument—exude an artisan quality that transcends trends and seasons. By utilizing time-honored hand-finishing techniques for cutting, dyeing, sculpting, and setting, accessories makers are giving these products an old-world character that can be achieved only by the most skillful master craftsmen. Such painstaking attention to details is what distinguishes a fleeting fashion item from a family heirloom.

Left to right: Alligator belt with sterling silver Spur buckle, $800, Catherine Zadeh (212.274.9984); sterling silver Animalia fountain pen, $2,100, Montegrappa (866.854.1674); vintage eight-ply silk paisley necktie, $150,Tino Cosma (212.541.8120); 25,000-year-old Siberian mammoth ivory cuff links with yellow diamonds and rubies, $8,500, Atelier Yozu for Stanley Korshak (800.972.5959); elongated calf leather loafer, $775, A. Testoni (212.223.0909)

Fancy Footwork
Shoemakers are re-creating the subtle nuances of bespoke footwear by experimenting with rich exotic leathers, resurrecting old-world hand-dyeing and -finishing methods, and reviving 18th-century welting and punched hole designs.

Clockwise from top left: Marshall Stanton silver and gold buckle, $875, with alligator belt, $295, J.W. Cooper (800.643.5773); alligator belt with gold buckle, $635, Lana Marks (212.355.6135); limited edition split-toe lace-up, $1,200, Poulsen Skone & Co. for Dunhill (212.753.9292); benchmade monk strap shoe, $795, Sutor Mantellassi (888.996.7555); antique-finish blucher, $495, Barrett (212.713.0051); antique-finish derby, $535, J.M. Weston (877.4.WESTON); gold Sonoma buckle, $4,850, Mark Kielty (505.776.1056), with alligator belt, $295, J.W. Cooper (800.643.5773)

Magnificent Seven
This fall, both newcomers and established players are employing the artistry of the seven-fold tie, which is made from a large single piece of silk folded seven times and requires four times more silk than the average necktie.

Left to right: Woven striped silk necktie folded on the reverse, $140, Brioni (888.778.8775); signature series cashmere/silk necktie, $145, Ike Behar (212.315.2626); handmade limited edition striped silk seven-fold tie, $110, Charles Tyrwhitt (866.797.2701); yarn-dyed seven-fold silk necktie, $155, Dolcepunta (through Luciano Moresco, 212.397.4300); seven-fold silk polka-dot necktie, $155, Dunhill (212.753.9292)

Finer Things
Artful fountain pens and precious cuff links transform the everyday exercises of writing and fastening into a celebration of personal style.

Clockwise from top: Yukari Court Carriage in Wisteria pen, $6,500, Namiki (203.377.8800); Ribbon Cushion cuff links, $1,975, Alex Sepkus (212.391.8466); Cinta tourmaline cuff links, $6,000, John Hardy (866.4JHARDY); platinum, gold, and diamond cuff links, $3,800, SaraBeth Vaughan at Neiman Marcus (800.365.7989); Nertina zebra shell cuff links with emeralds, $2,400, Trianon (508.325.5806); 4810 Patron of the Arts Copernicus pen, $1,750, Montblanc (800.995.4810)

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