The Boston Globe: Anthony Corey Ties

Renewed ties.

After year’s hiatus, Back Bay designer is rebuilding the business that gave him cache

By Keith Reed, Globe Staff  |  December 2, 2004

For a man whose wares have ringed the necks of presidents and royalty, Anthony Corey’s place of business is pretty undistinguished.

Sure, his Back Bay home — which doubles as office and creative space — is better decorated than most residences and offices, with eccentric decor that nods to his passions. The equestrian in him spilled out onto the self-painted canvasses of horses hanging on the walls, jaunts to Africa landed him the zebra hide rug lying in front of his couch, and his foray into interior design over the past year is responsible for the overall scene.

Still, the way his dog, Hurley Burley, hops around a visitor’s feet during a meeting and the look of his exquisite ties lumped on top of each other in a cardboard box on the floor screams that these aren’t the trappings of an internationally acclaimed neckwear designer.

Then again, Corey hasn’t exactly been focused on tie-making for a while.

“I let the tie business go way, way back when I started doing interior design. Doing that full-time was really, really hard,” he said.

After his yearlong hiatus, Corey, 43, is now trying to rebuild the business that gave him cache. For several months, he’s been meeting with retail executives and showing his goods at fashion exhibitions, aiming to sell his ties in retail stores in time for the release of his Spring 2005 line, which will feature 24 designs, each in four or six different colors.

So far, he’s picked up about a dozen boutiques, including Drinkwater’s in Cambridge. He also sells the ties on his website, www.anthonycorey.com. The ties retail for about $110 each.

“Really, nobody else that I do business with does neckwear like his,” said Gary Drinkwater, who owns Drinkwater’s.

“He used very, very rich woven fabrics that are really popular right now. It’s just clever.”

Corey’s ties are almost enigmatic. He designs them all himself at home, and spends a considerable amount of time selecting the “warp” of silk that will be used for them. A warp is an almost sheer piece of silk onto which a tie’s pattern is either silk-screened or woven. Most ties start off on black warps, but experimenting with colored and textured warps can give them very different looks.

Corey uses a range of colors for the warps onto which his designs are woven.

His choice of warps explains the trademark translucent appearance of his ties, which are handmade in Italy.

“Right when I started to do ties was when they started to come back,” he said of his first designs back in 1991. “Texture was back in, and so there’s a richness,” to his line.

His experimentation doesn’t stop at the warps, though.

Many of his ties feature subtle prints of animals or other oddities (think dancing frogs), which would look downright tacky under most circumstances.

Corey’s ties are fun and powerful, the kind that could make a man’s wardrobe if drawn all the way to the collar in the boardroom, or hanging loosely at the bar.

They’ve been worn in public by former President Bill Clinton and Prince Charles, among others.

Another signature of his collection is their solid weight, due to the amount of wool inside his ties. They’re heavy enough that a brisk gust from a passing car won’t leave it flapping on its owner’s chest.

“Flimsy can be beautiful. Armani was famous for doing really thin ties, but I like mine this way,” Corey said.

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

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