Histories of fashion say that the necktie in its modern, customary form appeared in 1924. The 80th anniversary of this mainstay of men’s fashion inspired Marharyta Sichkar, one of the most ingenious personalities of Kyiv’s high life, to throw a party in her restaurant Tampopo in honor of the necktie.
The interior of this Japanese restaurant, decorated in soft, techno colors, was changed beyond recognition by an exhibit of private necktie collections of two men about town, businessman Oleh Poliakov and impresario Kostiantyn Doroshenko. Poliakov’s collection was a multicolored Oriental-style extravaganza: 40 designer neckties, ranging from Hermes to Kenzo, were hung in orderly blocks of ten ties each. The sophisticated colors and quality of silk were impressive. “A necktie is what distinguishes a man from a non-man, i.e., a woman or a child. It was and still is the attribute of a true gentleman,” Mr. Poliakov summed up in his opening speech.
Mr. Doroshenko presented a more fragmentary but concept-heavy collection. This is by far the most famous collection of neckties in Ukraine, which is often publicized in the print media. Part of this collection was exhibited at the launch of the Ukrainian edition of the diaries of Polish cult author Witold Gabrowicz, organized in 2000 by film director Serhiy Proskurnia, as well as at the Tadzio Gallery, where art specialist Olena Yahodovska staged an exhibit for Mr. Doroshenko’s birthday. This time Doroshenko displayed 16 neckties, each of which was accompanied by a short explanatory note. The first was a tie that the collector wore for the first time as an adult. This treasured necktie, which once took pride of place in his father’s wardrobe, was made in Yugoslavia — a fact that signified Soviet men’s prosperity, well-being, social prestige, and progressive taste in the 1970s. Mr. Doroshenko recounted, especially for The Day, a story about the Egon von Fuerstenberg tie he put on for this party: “I got it last year as a present from Yevhen Minko, a friend of mine and my best collaborator on my modern culture projects. He received the tie soon after the necktie’s creator, the descendant of an old aristocratic family that included famous Teutonic knights and rivals of the Hohenzollerns in the struggle for the imperial crown, and the ‘prince of haute couture,’ died in Rome. Symbolically, as well as from the collector’s point of view, this gift is all the more valuable because the world will no longer be able to see the designer’s new creations.”
The party’s catwalk parade began with a show of the latest Brioni, Pal Zileri, and Stefano Ricci necktie collections. The highlight was an auction of neckties by Ukrainian designers. The highest bid was for a necktie created by Viktor Anisimov, which was shaped like a white-cuffed sleeve of a man’s black suit. It went to designer Olha Hromova for $450. She also bought a necktie made of cheap white silk with a stylized print of Buddha, the trademark of the increasingly popular Kharkiv-based fashion designer Andre Tan. The tie came complete with a T-shirt with the same picture. A no less successful bidder was Oleksandr Sokolovsky, founder of the Kyivan Catwalk fashion festival, who filled his wardrobe with neckties from Tetiana Zemskova, Olena Vorozhbyt (black-furred and pearl-encrusted) and Oleksandr Hapchuk. As for the latter, the guests joked that it must have been a joint project with his grandmother: the black silk necktie was ornamented with white macramО.
A dancer with a stripper’s moves, who was wearing a pink pearl-encrusted tie called “A Souvenir of Night” by Zavadsky and Ostroverkhova, with a condom in a secret pocket as a bonus, made artist Heorhiy Senchenko, the living legend of Ukrainian contemporary art, double up with laughter. An elegant gray-checked ladies’ necktie with a delicate green design by Iryna Karavai, caused quite a ripple at Senchenko’s table. It was purchased by his wife Tetiana Savadova, an art specialist and Kyiv’s premiere interior decorator. Proceeds from the exhibit will be used to purchase medical supplies for an orphanage in Nova Borova, Zhytomyr oblast.