Ties Make You Look Confident & Influential – Interview with Philippe TK
Ciao Philippe! Thanks for taking time to chat with us!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what you do?
My name is Philippe, I was born in France near Paris and I was raised there by my Polish parents and my sister. I’ve studied engineering and I’ve been working in the satellite industry for the last 7 years, more specifically on connecting aircraft by satellite. That’s how I ended up in Geneva five years ago. Since the company I most recently worked for had their aviation office here. I’ve been madly in love with Switzerland since then and its location in the middle of Europe is perfect for me. In late 2016 I started posting my daily outfits on Instagram. People started to comment on my posts and follow me which motivated me to keep posting and to explore the world of menswear. I love to document craftsmanship through reportage photography, especially when it comes to menswear and watches. I also advise some companies in these two industries when it comes to business development and their social media strategy.
How would you describe your style? And who or what inspires you?
A friend once described my style as “classic yet unusual” and I would say that it’s a fair description! In terms of cuts and fits I’m usually quite traditional but the colour, pattern and fabric combinations. I put together can sometimes be pretty original. An obvious source of inspiration for me is other people, especially if they post their daily outfits like I do. I look at how they dress, take what I think works well and (if possible) apply it to my style while trying to add my own spin or twist to it. I of course look a lot at classic menswear but also at different styles from both men and women. Another source of inspiration is paintings, flags and overall visual arts from which I learn a lot. Especially when it comes to colours, and I try to integrate that into my outfits.
You are very young but you often wear ties. Do you think that wearing ties make men more confident and influential?
I’ve always associated wearing ties with important, serious and happy occasions. This is pretty evident for formal affairs such as weddings that combine these three aspects and why most people wear ties then. For me just one of these aspects is usually enough. So that’s why I often wore ties when I was at engineering school (as it was a very important moment to me) and why I wear them when I work (which I consider both serious and important) and when I go to parties. So I would agree that ties can definitely be a self-confidence booster through their symbolism. And on top of that through their aesthetic quality when combined with the rest of one’s outfit.
How and when did you become interested in menswear?
Already as a kid I loved neckties & watches and I would dress up every time I got the chance to. I really got into my current style towards the end of high school and the beginning of engineering school and It truly took off though when I started my first job! Old family photographs were most likely my first source of inspiration. And then the people I was fortunate to meet in real life and/or online shaped me into who I am today.
How would you describe the Swiss menswear scene?
I would say that there is great potential here in Switzerland. We are literally surrounded by countries with great menswear traditions, Italy and France obviously but also Germany and Austria. So we have the opportunity to easily take inspiration from all these influences. Another important aspect is that people here seem to be more willing to pay a premium for well crafted products. Which usually bodes well for classic menswear and can attract excellent artisans. A lot of what I see on the streets is usually good quality clothing albeit in pretty conservative colours and patterns.
For you what ties are in style in 2021?
This year I really like to wear very geometric patterns on my ties, especially ones that aren’t really used for jackets and shirts. Such as dots, zigzag stripes and squares/rectangles. In terms of colours I’m leaning towards the extremes of saturation, so either black/grey/white or very vibrant hues.
What are for you the three essential items in any men’s wardrobe?
When it comes to absolutely necessary items, then of course I would think that a very well tailored suit and shirt combination paired with a good pair of shoes. Shoes are extremely important as without them, there isn’t really an outfit. That being said, accessories can really bring harmony to an outfit. So if I had to choose three items it would be one of your paisley ties and a very colourful pocket square that could be used in many outfits and one of my dress watches, most likely with a rectangular case.
Are ties going out of style? Do you think ties will come back?
I think that ties being worn in a professional context has been on a downward trend for years and that the pandemic further accelerated that. That might be bad news in terms of volume, especially in the entry-level part of the market. But ultimately ties losing their “utilitarian” association could be a positive. Instead of being thought of as a necessary but dreaded accessory for the office that needs to be pretty plain. Ties could become mostly associated with joyful occasions and that should allow more colourful and interesting ties to become prevalent.
On what occasions you should wear a tie?
Any occasion you fancy!
More seriously, and as we discussed earlier, I think ties can be a great way to mark an occasion. Especially if it is a cheerful one, and so it falls on the individual to decide if the moment calls for one. I am very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had so far in my life and all the choices I’ve made so that’s why I wear one most of the time. But when it becomes too cumbersome due to the weather or to my nephews wanting to play catch, I of course leave it at home.
Last but not least…
What was it about Stefano Cau that initially caught your attention? And which Stefano Cau product is your favourite?
What I really like about your products, especially your ties, is how everything is so well thought-out:
- The fabrics you use are excellent both in terms of how they look and feel to the touch but also in their functionality. A great example is the beautiful silk you use that isn’t so smooth that it makes the tie knot untie itself throughout the day.
- The construction is top notch, both when it comes to the finishing but also when it comes to the cuts. Your bottle-shaped ties make for beautiful knots! And it’s now tough for me to pick my other ties!
- The colours and the patterns that you choose are amazing and most of them I’ve never seen anywhere else. I especially like your printed grenadine as well as your block stripes satin ties.
It’s rare to see all these three parts coming together so I can only congratulate you for constantly managing to do it. Finally, it helps that you two are some of the nicest people I know so it wasn’t hard for me to fall in love with both you and your products!
Thank you very much Philippe!
Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Kind regards from Geneva,