It’s well known that the boys round our way just love to add a bit of Drakes attire to finish off a really smart look. Drakes have been making hand made ties since 1977. Founded by Michael Drake the company is today the largest independent maker of hand made ties in northern europe and has grown to include a host of accessories as well as garments for men. It was only on May 20th of this year that Drakes opened its own store, located at no.3 Clifford street, Mayfair, London. Clifford street starts at one end from Savile Row so is well placed for anyone looking for accessories to compliment a new suit. Zesty-Boy makes it another port of call on College no.9’s world wide search for the best in modernist clobber.
If you want a tie Drakes is the place to go, a huge selection of silks, cashmere and wool in fantastic patterns awaits the caller to their flagship store on Clifford st, Mayfair. All the ties are handmade and as one would expect only the very best fabrics are used. The shop is dressed simply and effectively. The shop stocks various items of menswear, all with the Drakes label on but its the ties I’m here for. The ties in the different types of silks and other fabrics are either laid out together on the table in the center of the store or on racks on the wall. The open fire place and leather chairs placed either side give the shop an almost lounge feel. On the mantel above the fireplace is a beautiful collection of linen pocket squares. I’m greeted by friendly staff but left to brouse for a few minutes before I’m asked if I need any help. This is something I like when I’m shopping. I hate to be “dived on” as soon as I enter a store but I also don’t want to ask for help. I explain that I’m looking for ties to go with a new suit in navy blue. Solid navy of course lends itself to pretty much any colour tie and my assistant, Jake, takes me round the small store telling me about the various fabrics. I tell him I’m looking for a slightly longer tie, he shows me RTW at 160cm and 164cm (not so much to choose from though the staff were in the middle of restocking) and also the fabrics for their bespoke range. Bespoke it is then.
There were around 100 different fabrics to choose from, woven, shantung and plain silks and cashmeres. After much deliberation I selected two plain silks, one paisley blue the other a patterned sky blue and a solid navy blue cashmere. Jake then asks which type of interlining I’d like, I only use a four in hand so the interlining will determine the size of the knot. There are three weights to choose from and Jake selects ties at 160cm and 164cm made with the middle weight interlining for me to try on. This is the standard interlining used in their RTW ties in these lengths. After selecting my interlining I go with the 160cm length which was just right for me. Next up for thought is the width of the blade. I settle on an 8cm blade, this is the widest piont of the tie. The width of the blade should be in proportion with a jackets lapel. Quite often this detail is over looked by men and if the proportions are wrong the whole combination is off balance. Jake then takes my details and will send me an email when the ties are ready to be shipped to me. As I do the nasty bit-pay for them-I saw a silk Salmon colour patterned PS, perfect for another suit I have.
above; Zesty’s selections for his Drakes ties, his photography skills completely failing to capture the sheen on the cashmere and silk or the richness of colour in the paisley.
Now, as always with bespoke its just a question of waiting. Between 2 to 4 weeks. The service instore was of a quality that matched their products, the interior decor was relaxed and items were well displayed. After leaving Drakes I take a stroll down the Row, refecting on an enjoyable shopping experience. I can even forgive them for putting placing the rich coloured silk pocket squares next to the till, too tempting to resist. Like chocolate at the supermarket checkout. Check no.3 Clifford st. for neckwear for yourself. Its luxury at affordable prices.