The Drake's look combines an appetite for beautiful patterns and checks with a very British restraint, so that designs that would be rendered gaudy by a lesser execution are instead exquisitely expressive. That said, men with more minimal taste can also find much to like, in the form of solid-coloured knitted, grenadine, and tussah silk ties. Regardless of the design, all the ties are individually handmade at the company's factory in London's Clerkenwell district. We asked Drake's managing director Mr Michael Hill, whose excellent taste starts with his own wardrobe, to explain what goes through his mind each morning as he decides which shirt and tie to wear.
"Sometimes I've got an idea of what tie I want to wear, but it usually goes back to the jacket, because that's where it starts - the weight of the jacket determines what shirt and tie I'm going to wear. I think about it in terms of the 'V' - the tie, shirt and jacket's lapels. A madder-print tie works as well with a tweed jacket in winter as it does with a tropical weight wool jacket [in summer], but I wouldn't put a linen tie with a tweed jacket. On the other hand I've been wearing a polka dot tie every day for a week, just because I like it at the moment, so [every day] my whole outfit has revolved around the tie. There's room for flexibility and spontaneity and that makes it interesting. It should depend on what you wake up and feel like doing."
And what about the mornings when he's in a rush? "I'd wear a navy knitted tie with almost anything."