Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Gianfranco Ferre with the Onassis

bill blass, onassis, necktie, ritchie po, helen siwak, knotwerk by ritchie po

The annual Venice Film Festival opens today. Lasting three weeks, Venice’s is the world’s oldest film festival and has long been the arbiter of exquisite cinematic taste. Films that have won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, include masterpieces such as Rashomon, The Battle of Algiers, Monsoon Wedding and Brokeback Mountain.

Along with its place in cinematic history, the festival attracts the world’s glitterati and celebrities who kick off the months-along “awards season” that culminates in the Academy Awards every. Venice is also the scene where celebrities wear their most versatile styles: think Keira Knightley in Mary Katrantzou in 2012, or Amal Clooney marrying there in 2014 dressed in Oscar de la Renta. It’s a place that evokes effortless old-world chic. This week’s Gianfranco Ferre dark tie evokes the spirit of the film noir – dark, moody, sultry.

bill blass, onassis, necktie, ritchie po, helen siwak, knotwerk by ritchie po

Hat & shirt: Banana Republic; scarf: Hugo Boss; shoes: Kenneth Cole; belt: Calvin Klein; trousers: TopMan

Sitting in the dark of the cinema and then partying until the wee hours is a must at Venice, and sometimes having to perform a quick change or ripping off a tie to get to the dance floor faster (not to mention escaping the heat) is a must. The Onassis knot, named after the venerable Greek tycoon, captures the essence and definition of classic male sartorial elegance.

bill blass, onassis, necktie, ritchie po, helen siwak, knotwerk by ritchie po

Image credit: The Well dressed Man

The knot is actually a play on the Windsor knot, but is actually simpler to assemble. I like to think of it as a continental variation on the classic British look. Take the tie and assemble the Windsor, but at the very last step, instead of looping the wide end through the knot, simply lay the cravat over and … would you believe it, it’s a knot that actually does not have a knot! Truth be told, years ago I did this as a joke, not realizing it was a classic throwback look and not simply a sign of my laziness in completing the look. This is especially helpful if you have trouble getting the cravat through that final loop for the finished look. This works well for wide ties with a distinct bold pattern you want to show off. The only thing I caution is that since this is not a knot, it may fall apart a bit more easily, but I hardly think one performs cartwheels or triple axels while wearing this particular knot.

I may not be at Venice this year – tickets are notoriously hard to get – but I look forward to each year as the “Oscar bait” vehicles are unveiled. Don’t believe me? Remember that in 2006, Dame Helen Mirren received a 15-minute standing ovation for her performance in The Queen when it premiered there, Peter Jackson screened his debut Heavenly Creatures in 1994 (where the then-unknown Kate Winslet first shone), and Martin Scorsese won the Best Director award for Goodfellas. When I finally get to Venice one of these years, you can bet I’ll be dressed impeccably.

bill blass, onassis, necktie, ritchie po, helen siwak, knotwerk by ritchie po

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

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