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Rooster: Relic of a Great Era of American Ties

September 29th, 2010 · 3 Comments

By Garland Pollard

One of the great 1960s men’s fashion brands is Rooster, the tie company.

Rooster ties were a cultural item, and one of the rare brands of American ties that are so interesting that they can exist on their own without being part of a full line of menswear. Illustrator Steven Guarnaccia has a collection of the ties, featured on the blog Full Frontal Fashion. Rooster was started by Max Raab, the founder of Villager, where Perry Ellis worked after he moved to New York from Richmond.

Rooster, I think, survives, though their website, if they have one, is not easily found on search engines.

Sadly, there is no longer a large U.S. tie industry. In 2008, the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association, which began in 1947 as the Men’s Tie Foundation, folded, a victim of declining membership and sales of American-made ties, officials at the New York-based trade group said.

What are some of the great brands?

Granted there are some surviving European brands that are associated with great ties (Hermes, Charvet, Liberty). And Countess Mara (I recall my 9th grade English teacher Chuck Harmon used to wear them back around 1980) is still around. New brands like Vineyard Vines have sprung up.

Looking back, other big tie brands from the time of Rooster include:

  • Wembley
  • Pennleigh
  • Beau Brummell
  • Burma Bibas
  • John Weitz (very much associated with ties but had a full clothing line)
  • Village Square
  • Damon
  • Fabiana

I am sure there are many more tie brands. Perhaps BrandlandUSA readers can help us out below and name some other great tie brands that have disappeared?

Tags: Department Stores · Fashion

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 rechercher // Sep 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Countess Mara. Advertised in The New Yorker almost every week.

  • 2 John // Oct 1, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Rooster has a large following of vintage clothing collectors, especially for their 1960s “slim jim” width neck ties. I have a few myself! In addition to the brands listed in the article that are no longer being made I can also think of Prince Igor, which was an all-silk neck, higher end tie brand, American made and very popular during the
    1960s “slim jim” period. Christian Dior Monsieur also made a very high end neck tie during this period (although the name is still around, abbreviated to Dior Homme, it is not the same that we think of as the Christian Dior of the 1950s and 60s. It’s now owned by a major foreign conglomerate which has taken back some of the licensing agreements of the 1980s that cheapened the brand and the brand itself has now been remade into having an appeal to mainly a much younger crowd of trendy high fashion males. Gone however is much of the classic image that was once associated with the name Christian Dior).
    Countess Mara was once regarded as having the finest constructed all-silk neck ties (late 1950s through early 1970s). With the flagship CM shop located on Park Avenue in New York, the image was regarded as first class, very fine taste. By the late 1970s the brand had changed hands, the 1980s saw the closing of the Park Ave shop and the brand actually disappeared for a time. It was to emerge again in the late 1990s but has taken a nose dive in quality. Countess Mara is no longer made in Italy from the finest silks that it once was. It is now made in China from less fine materials and often these neck ties show up in discount mens stores. The famous woven CM and crown on the base of the neck ties has long been removed and the brand is now generally regarded as second class.

  • 3 Richard // Oct 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Don’t forget Burt Pullitzer. They made ties exclusively for the higher end department stores like Foley’s.

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