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August 1 2014

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Brooks Brothers Caters To Bow-Tied Neo-Dandies

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“My Facebook profile photo is a painting of me in a bow tie when I was four,” says K. Cooper Ray, the relentlessly dapper founder of men’s etiquette guide Socialprimer.com. “I came by this honestly.” The Alabama native was up north last night to launch his line of collaborative bow ties with Brooks Brothers. A look at the crowd suggests four-year-old Ray was on to something. At every corner, bow-curious neo-dandies were knotted up in the Social Primer for Brooks Brothers ties, reversible silk and cotton weaves in BBQ-ready stars, stripes, and polka dots—often, in mash-up combinations, all at once. With the bow tie, propriety is all, which may (or may not) explain the roster of hosts from the upper echelons of the social strata: Euan Rellie (and wife Lucy Sykes Rellie), Boykin Curry (and wife Celerie Kemble), Peter Gregory (and wife Jamee), and Luigi Tadini, plus Amanda Hearst and Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler for good measure. “Cooper and I share a feeling for manners,” explains co-host Tadini, navigating a team of waiters toting country club fare, “and for Brooks Brothers.” His boss, Mickey Boardman, agrees: Bow ties are all well and good—provided “you have people to tie them for you.”

The tying’s hard; the interpretation, according to the arbiter, is easy. “I just love a bow tie,” says Ray, who has relocated to Charleston, S.C., to work on a book version of Social Primer. “It just makes people smile. Whether they are smiling at you or with you, I don’t know—I embrace it!”

Social Primer bowties, $59.50, available at select Brooks Brothers locations nationwide, www.brooksbrothers.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Brooks Brothers

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