The Mad Men Tie Gets Festive: Cerruti Designs from the Holiday 1960 Collection

Nothing makes my heart sing louder than a beautifully jacquard-woven necktie, whether it be a jazzy pre-WWII damask or an MCM skinny with heraldic designs. Recently I was fortunate enough to acquire swatch books with woven tie silk samples from the late 1920s and the early 1960s, and though I plan to share the contents in their entirety here over the coming months, since the more recent one—from Nino Cerruti’s early days—features some fabulous holiday designs, I’ll start with those.

In 1950, the 20-year-old Cerruti became head of his family’s textile factory (founded in the 1880s) upon his father’s sudden death. More on Cerruti’s bio to follow in subsequent posts; for today, what’s important to know is that the tie designs he created in 1960, either for his own company (presumably to be sold with his “Hitman” label) or for other companies such as Charvet and Damon, appear to have been manufactured by a Swiss textile concern, Naef Freres. I haven’t been able to find out exactly what the relationship was between Cerruti and Naef Freres  (which seems to have had a satellite in upstate New York), but I do know that Lanificio Cerruti was at that point just what its name indicates—a woolen mill, so tie silks needed to be made elsewhere. Cerruti established a knitwear factory in Scotland in 1961, but I don’t know whether he also owned or just subcontracted work from Naef Freres, which  goes back at least to the 19th century.

Without further ado, in any event, let me present the designs from Cerruti’s Holiday 1960/1 collection. Here is the book itself:

I was surprised to see how many of the designs were produced for legendary haberdasher Charvet. Unsurprisingly, they were tres elegant. The first is called “The Ring”:

Here’s “Crown”:

“Fleur de Lys” came in two colorways:

The design in “Tree” is tiny but exquisite:

Ditto for “Lyre”:

Some French place name designs–“Aubusson”:

and “Versailles”:

“Snowflake” is beautiful, isn’t it?

The labelling of the other silks in the Holiday 1960 collection indicate they were made for Cerruti’s company itself. The designs tend to cluster into 3 general groups: Heraldic, novelty/humorous, and trompe l’oeuil or scenic (these are SO impressive to me!). Here’s “Lyon & Crown”:

“Rue de Paris”:

“Dark Night” (not sure if the misspelling is a typo or a pun):

“Greetings” (I apologize for the photo, which does NOT do the sumptuousness of the brocade justice):

“Passport” (guess the holiday connection is the prospect of jetsetting someplace warm, exotic, and sunny):

“Commuter” (takes me back to the Hobo-themed party I attended in grade school…):


And, wrapping things up with one of my favorites, here’s  “Holiday Cheer”:

Happy Holidays from Vintage, & all the best in 2015!

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