Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hot Knots: Many Looks Vie for Top Tie

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hot Knots: Many Looks Vie for Top Tie

Article excerpt

HOT SELLERS in neckwear today are about as diverse as office dress codes.

Retailers report strength in a variety of looks, ranging from theme-inspired to designer.

Novelty lines - including Salant's Peanuts and Save the Children, as well as Wemco's Tabasco and Endangered Species - top many retailers' bestseller lists, while the J. Garcia: Art in Neckwear line continues the runaway sales trend spurred by Garcia's passing in August.

Retro-inspired looks, including Superba's Palatina and Randa's Daniel Hechter lines, are also performing well.

Tommy Hilfiger is another front-runner, with particular strength in wovens.

The top tier of business continues at a healthy clip, with strength in lines such as Ermenegildo Zegna and Donna Karan.

Retailers also cite the importance of texture and rich colors, especially solids, as added attractions for consumers.

"What you're seeing is a very sartorial, dressy customer who still wants dress shirts and ties," says Greg Cassell, a menswear executive at Neiman Marcus.

"But we're also picking up the more casual side, with Armani sport ties and that sort of thing. That customer still wears a shirt and tie but is a bit more modern in his thought process."

Among the keys to bestsellers in neckwear are color and texture, he says. "We have done well with any solid neckwear," adds Cassell, citing Donna Karan, Turnbull & Asser, Calvin Klein and Armani.

"We're selling higher shades - navy, black and burgundy in the biggest numbers, but also orange and green," he says. "People are responding to more intense color, not pastels, at this point."

Zegna styles are hot sellers across the board, including what Cassell describes as newer looks with more color, deco fantasy prints and a limited-edition tie commemorating the 100th anniversary of the cinema. Audrey Buckner wovens also are strong.

"We do the lion's share of neckwear business at $75 and above and still do very well," Cassell says. …

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