After our visit to Ruth Sprenger’s tailor shop in Vienna, we would like to take you on a tour of a small tie shop in Germany that is packed with all kinds of neckwear – Kaiser Krawatten (Emperor Ties).
Upon entrance into Mr. Kaiser’s diminutive tie shop in Weimar, your senses are flooded with one thing: neckwear! And although there are so many different neckties, bow ties, ascots, etc., Mr. Kaiser himself really stands out because he seems to know almost every anecdote, story or piece of wisdom about neckwear.
As Mr. Kaiser is a cravatier by vocation – and not just a tie merchant, as he firmly emphasizes – I listened very carefully to what he had to say about ties. His knowledge was a real tour de force – ranging from Louis XIV to shady political commissioners in the Lithuanian SSR, to the sartorial legacy of the city of Krefeld (and its remains) to the importance of Jacques Fath for the gentleman’s wardrobe, and even to the self-imposed artisanal demands of Asian tie-makers.
While sharing his knowledge and experiences, Mr. Kaiser guided me through his collection, which includes more than a thousand neckties, plus bowties and ascots. However, the really surprising thing was that all these accessories were stored in a nook no bigger than 100 square feet.
Ties, ties, ties!
For beginners, he offers a rich and diverse choice of imported neckties, mainly from Italy, sorted by pattern, weight, material and shape.
Moreover, he presented the heart & soul of his collection – his own hand-sewn neckties. Mr. Kaiser puts special emphasis on the right weight distribution and the precise cut that is necessary to craft a tie that is not twisted. When you hold up a tie at one end with the other hanging straight down, the tie should not twist – otherwise, it has not been cut correctly.
In regard to tie patterns, there is, as one would expect, a huge variety. One of his specialties are two tone ties, with the tail of the tie being in another pattern/color than the front blade. When you don’t put the tail in the tie tack on the back, you can see both patterns. Of course, he also has a selection of seven-fold ties as well as slim three fold ties.
However, if you still think you cannot find what’s right for you, he will happily create a bespoke tie just for you!
Mr. Kaiser is particularly proud of his selection of handmade bow ties (of course by himself!). He claims the quality of his bows is at least on par with the ones available on London’s Bond Street, though with these kind of items it is always difficult to tell. At least, he also offers bespoke bow ties and so the claim seems plausible to me.
His specialty quadruple bow ties feature four different blades, meaning you can wear four different combinations with just one bow tie. Of course, you will always see a bit of the other patterns as well, which can look more like a patch work tie, if that is to your taste.
Last but not least, Mr. Kaiser also offers vintage ties and if you have a special one, he will buy it from you for his very own collection. While I was present, he showed me a 1970s Yves Saint Laurent tie from his Mexico collection. It was interesting to see such an old tie in impeccable condition, but also to understand how timeless true masterpieces really are. Without a doubt, this tie could have been easily worn with contemporary suit in this day and age.
Sometimes, he even recycles these old treasures and makes them into different accessories such as purses and clutches, iPad protectors, etc.
So, if you are ever in Weimar, you must pay Mr. Kaiser’s store visit.
99423 Weimar Bleibtreustraße 50,
P.S.: he also maintains stores in Erfurt, Meißen and Berlin.
This shop report was conducted by our guest author Leon Bleiweiss. If you want to contribute to the Gentleman’s Gazette as well, please contact us.