Stefano Ricci launched his signature label in 1971 with a collection of silk neckties printed with some of the doodles he had made while a student at the University of Pisa. He still designs every tie pattern himself and spends considerable time with silk printers to achieve the perfect color and clarity. His seemingly simple designs often incorporate as many as 14 different shades even if the eyes only register five or six because the additional colors are used as shading around stripes and other designs to give texture or a three-dimensional effect. Likewise, many of Ricci’s small neat prints appear remarkably clear and precise, even under a microscope, because the designer insists that the silk screens used to print them be thoroughly cleaned after every six meters of cloth. Once resistant to woven neckwear because he couldn’t get the microscopic clarity of his colorful prints, Ricci recently discovered a way to perfect the sharpness by employing high-twist silk organzine thread in the warp of the cloth and slowing down the machinery to a snail’s pace to achieve just the right balance between design detail and fabric softness.
Ricci made headlines in 1997 when a patchwork pleated tie made from 280 squares of multicolored silk came with a $1,000 price tag. Four years later he teamed with Moxon, one of England’s most prestigious textile mills, to create his Solo Una collection of limited-edition neckties made of super 210 wool and cashmere that were also signed, numbered, and packaged in their own custom wood box inlayed with genuine crocodile.