Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
Design

How Hermès Makes Its Legendary Silk Ties

The Hermès necktie has been the anchor of respectable business suits since its introduction in 1949. Christophe Goineau, artistic director of men's silk, explains the labor-intensive process of creating the brand's signature neckwear. Photographs by Céline Clanet for Bloomberg Pursuits.

  1. Designing
    1

    Designing

    Fourteen graphic designers work on the pattern and color. Once they finalize the look, they hand-stencil it onto silk.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  2. Choosing Colors
    2

    Choosing Colors

    Each tie has 10 different colors. “We’re the only house to incorporate such a large variety of shades,” Goineau says. “Color is the first, and most important, element of selection.”

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  3. Mixing the Hues
    3

    Mixing the Hues

    Hermès has 40 “mother” colors that combine to form more than 75,000 hues.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  4. Printing
    4

    Printing

    The silk design is then delivered to the printer. “Rolls of silk twill are printed from the smallest to the largest motif and from the darkest to lightest colors,” he says.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  5. Keeping It Aligned
    5

    Keeping It Aligned

    Prior to assembly, the tie parts go through a printing ream so the elements are perfectly lined up. “Every 10 meters, the printer pulls at the tie frame to make sure the design stays consistent,” he says.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  6. Cutting
    6

    Cutting

    The panels are cut one by one. Unlike makers of mass-produced ties, which have three parts (a large panel, a smaller panel, and a collar), Hermès cuts its ties into just two panels from the same piece of silk.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  7. Sewing
    7

    Sewing

    Seamstresses, using a single piece of thread per tie, hand-stitch the larger panel onto the smaller one. They create the trademark, triangular dovetail by folding and stitching the fabric five times over. “We believe the back of the tie should be as nice as the front,” Goineau says.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  8. Checking the Work
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    Checking the Work

    Workers remove excess fabric, test for color and size, and iron the tie. After a final inspection, it’s dispatched for sale. From concept to creation, the process takes two months.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  9. Finishing Touches
    9

    Finishing Touches

    The Hermès label is 8 inches from the bottom of the tie, sewn with four stitches to ensure it stays put.

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits
  10. Finished Casse-Noisette (Nutcracker) Tie
    10

    Finished Casse-Noisette (Nutcracker) Tie

    $180; hermes.com

    Photographer: Céline Clanet/Bloomberg Pursuits