François-Régis Laporte had enjoyed a peripatetic career – law school, theatre, before studying pattern cutting and styling at the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. He then gained industry knowledge and experience working as the assistant to the Artistic Director of Jacques Faths and after as the Press Manager at Bruuns Bazaar. Five years ago, he launched Maison F, the only remaining tie maker in Paris.
“It was a choice between fashion, architecture and the theatre.” Fashion won, because while wondering what to create in the ‘mono’ market, he noted that there were no tie makers. “Also,” he says, “because I’ve always been interested by the idea of dressing your neck. I loved the history of them: a variation of a tie was worn by Croatian soldiers before they made their way to the court of Louis 14th, who was so enamoured by them that he created the trade of tie maker."
Laporte, who also designs collections for some of the major French maisons, works with a team of seamstresses in the Maison F atelier. What is unique about Maison F ties is that the fabric is thick and of sublime quality, the silk is sourced from Lyon and its fabric composition is 98% silk.
It takes around 20 minutes of handiwork to create each tie, and the silk is cut and sewn by hand. Traditional ones are sold alongside ties that are fastened with magnets. The next development for Maison F is the launch this Autumn, of neck ties for women.
“We don’t just create traditional ties – our bow-ties have many different shapes when worn untied. We have designed everything from a butterfly shape, to angel wings, mermaids, the head of a cat, or,” Laporte pauses, “an erotic one which resembles male and female body parts.”