Dismissing neckties as antiquated soup bibs and fancy choke
collars, a Hong Kong group of power dressers wants to promote the
Chinese mandarin collar as a stylish alternative for the modern
Launched on Tuesday, the Mandarin Collar Society, which includes
prominent businessmen and socialites, urged men the world over to
"reorient" and "liberate" themselves from ties and embrace the
short, stand-up collar worn loosely around the neck.
"I'm not declaring war against the tie, we're just trying to
find an alternative to Western elegance by bringing a style that
belongs to the Orient," said society visionary Raphael le Masne de
Chermont, executive chairman of luxury retailer Shanghai Tang.
The society's tongue-in-cheek manifesto describes the necktie as
"antiquated", "something for adversaries to grab in a fight" and an
accessory inviting "enslavement" by reminding the wearer that his
bosses have him by the neck.
"I've always felt comfortable in a mandarin collar, it's a very
practical costume," said Andrew Yuen, a Hong Kong Chinese socialite
and founding member of the society. "One would always feel more
comfortable with one's own ethnic costume."
Fans of the mandarin collar aren't exclusively Chinese. Shanghai
Tang has enlisted the support of former British sprinting great
Linford Christie and Michelin starred French chef Pierre Gagnaire
to spread the gospel with Western men.
"We're in China here, and China has to reinvent its own code of
conduct and elegance and we're trying to contribute to that," said
Le Masne, a Frenchman who now only wears mandarin collars.
"You will see that in four or five years it will be perfectly
acceptable to wear a mandarin collar at business meetings."
(Agencies via CRI.cn April 19, 2007)