The Croata Brand Story


The story of the first cravat



As is the case of many great things which marked humanity, love was at the origin and inspiration of the cravat. In the olden days until now, Croatian girls tied scarves around their fiancé’s neck, as a sign of their shared love and fidelity.

This was the sign of their mutual commitment, showing others their love. The importance of this act dramatically increased in times of war. Through it, the women promised their fiancés that they were ready to wait for them for years, while the men – the soldiers – found solace and encouragement in this in the most difficult moments in the battlefield.


The key moment in the history of the cravat took place during the Thirty Year War, in the 17th Century. The Croatian light cavalry was famous for its exceptional bravery. Part of the cavalry entered the service of the French king. In addition to military prowess and bravery, Croatian soldiers were also famous for one original detail – a red scarf around their necks. The fashion conscious Parisians immediately noticed this. By contrast with the high stiff collars of the time, Croatian scarves were simple, picturesque, airy and on top of it, elegantly tied into a knot. That fashion novelty was enthusiastically accepted at the court of King Louis XIV. The cravat, as a sign of dignity and civility, courtesy and ceremony, soon conquered the current civil fashion and first won over Europe, then America, and now the entire world.

These stories of the first cravat and its homeland were told and are still being told to Croatia and the world by the CROATA brand of the Potomac d.o.o. company.

CROATA Boutiques

Museum in a store window

Academia Cravatica incorporated the concept of shop museum into the CROATA boutiques, with the world premiere in the summer of 2008, in the CROATA boutique at the Peristil in Split. The professional verification was carried out at the conference “Best in Heritage” in Dubrovnik in 2008 and at the first professional conference of the European Forum of Company Museums, held in Milan in the same year. The very fact we were invited to present ourselves next to elite global brands such as Ferrari, Ducati, Siemens, Guinness, Sony shows recognition of sorts of this unique concept.

The concept of a museum in a store window (shop museum), is an example of museological realization presented to the wider international museum community as a type of specific shop form inspired by local heritage.

Under the name “From the history and ancient history of the cravat”, the CROATA boutique in Rijeka integrates the story of the cravat, its history and meaning. Each object becomes interesting when the man behind it is discovered. The same holds true of the cravat. For the exhibit whose contents are connected to the city of Rijeka and its greater area, representative persons from its history were selected: entrepreneur, builder and patron of the arts Ljudevit Adamić and composer Ivan Zajc.

The combination of text and image was used to first introduce their character and work, and then the topic was extended by connecting it with other historical figures and events. The aesthetic component as a function of an attractive and clear visual signal was also not neglected; decanted busts – original sculpture by Petar Ujević – were used to display a replica of cravats that are, in fact, hidden drivers of the entire branching narrative complex.

The role of the mirror in the shape of a narrow vertical – which separates the Croatian from the English text, and links the central characters (Zajc and Adamić) and the replica of their cravats – is to include the visitors, because it emphasizes their personality, their individual beauty.

The exhibit also includes replicas of Nikola Arsenijević’s watercolours. He was a self-taught painter who went around in the middle of the 19th century and recorded people in traditional costumes. The Kvarner region was no exception, and in these images we see (if we take into account the long duration of forms in traditional costumes) a kind of forerunner of the cravat, in this region known as facoli.

The attractiveness and uniqueness of the shop museum is a confirmation of the commitment of the CROATA brand to creativity and innovation, thus creating global trends and affirming local values.