You know there’s something not quite right with you when you’re sipping your morning coffee listening to Radio 4’s Today program and you get excited, almost giddy, when you hear Evan Davis utter the words, ‘the cravat is making a comeback’.
Upon hearing these 6 magic words, I put my coffee down to avoid spilling any in my early morning hysteria and listened intently. The Today program’s guest was fashion historian, Amber Jane Butchart. She explains the comeback of the cravat as a great way for men to experiment with colour and prints. As only a small portion of the fabric is shown, it gives the more conservatively dressed amongst us license to wear bold prints in vibrant colours.
Cravats for most people are seen as a relic of a bygone age. The height of its popularity was in the 19th century during the days of the original dandy, Beau Brummell. During her whistle stop tour of the history of the cravat, Butchard makes the observation that most men’s fashion trends during that period originated from military wear. In the case of the cravat, it was part of a Croatian soldier’s uniform during the 17th century.
The Orginal Dandy: Beau Brummell
What seems to be different about the most recent renaissance of the cravat is that its application as a fashion accessory seems to represent the general trend in everyday menswear which is a much more expressive. Whereas in previous cravataissances (sic), wearing a suit with an open neck shirt was seen as untidy the fabric was used as a casual substitute for a tie.
During the Pitti Uomo show in Florence earlier in the year, I noticed that there were an array of oversized cravats (or men’s silk scarves for want of a better word) in bright colours and bold prints worn draped, slung and festooned to showcase the intricacy of the designs; peacocking in its purest form.
In my opinion, the Pitti Uomo shows in Florence now have the same effect on menswear trends today as 17th century military uniforms did for the likes of Beau Brummell in the 19th Century. However, instead of a two century lag for the trends to filter down it now only takes a year a two.