I met with clothing designer and filmmaker Alexander Olch at his shop on Orchard Street in New York’s Chinatown to learn more about him and to learn more about his tie that Daniel Craig wears as James Bond in No Time to Die.
Alexander Olch designed the tie that Daniel Craig wears in the Matera, Italy scenes of No Time to Die. It is his “Avery” tie in burgundy, and it is the most interesting tie that we have yet to see on James Bond in No Time to Die.
Here is part of the interview I did with Mr Olch. The entire audio interview will be on the From Tailors with Love podcast at a later time.
Matt Spaiser: What do you do here?
Alexander Olch: We’ve been designing now for 18 years. I think the first necktie [I made] was around 2001. It was a souvenir for the crew that worked on my thesis film while I was at college at Harvard. Instead of getting the crew a present like a t-shirt or a baseball hat, which was the traditional thing then, I thought I would design a necktie.
MS: Are you still working in film?
AO: The last feature film I directed was called The Windmill Movie, which was out in 2009. It opened at Film Forum here in New York and then on HBO. Since then I’ve put my cinematic efforts into opening Metrograph, and as we now look to open additional Metrographs I’ll also be making another movie pretty soon.
MS: Is your tie business and design connected to your films?
AO: I like making things. I group things into two categories. The first would be things that exist in time, so I would say that’s movies, music, drama; things that have a beginning, middle and end. And then there’s things that are more objects that just are, that don’t have a beginning, middle and end. That would be painting, sculpture, fashion design, space design. So for me I like to always be working on one of both, so whether that’s the design of a fabric, the design of a physical object, design of a space, and then also be work on something that exists in time.
MS: I see this is the tie that Daniel Craig was spotted wearing in the No Time to Die trailer. Can you tell us anything about the design of this tie? Your inspiration for it?
AO: What I like to do in fabric design is play around with tradition. What I’ve talked about before is some idea of mixing something old and something new. And this is a design called the “Avery”, which is sort of a mix of two things. On the one side it’s a traditional polka dot, which is a step and repeat, meaning the design steps over one, and would be otherwise a traditional polka dot on a silk twill ground except for the fact that the dots are quite unusual.
When you look in closer, they’re woven with what’s called a silk bourette thread, and that bourette thread is something that is rough, unfinished. It is something you would normally not mix with very fine silk threads, and so the contrast between the two is very unusual. And then on top of that I created a stripe in the polka dots, so you have one stripe of light blue and one stripe of black.
What’s created there is, I would like to think an interesting design where you’re mixing something quite traditional in terms of the burgundy ground with something that’s quite unusual in the texture of the spots.
We also make what’s called a “pocket round”, which is our version of a pocket square. It happens to be round. When I open it you can see the back side of the fabric. A neck tie’s constructed so you never see the backside of the fabric, but here you can see how much work is going into producing just the spots. So underneath the spot is all the threads, what’s called “floated” underneath the back of the fabric. So you have this light blue and this black that’s floating all under the entire surface of the red silk, so it gives it quite a weighty feel so the tie also knots really nicely because it has a lot of density to it, much more than a typical silk repp weave.
MS: Have you considered doing a tie without a tipping so you can see some of that? Those are become more popular these days.
AO: One of my trademarks has been the self tipping, when in traditional tie-making the tipping is made of something else. It’s usually made of a thin silk of some kind. One challenge has been, when you go to a traditional tie maker they would say, “no, you can’t do it, self tipping, it’s not going to work.” I always get very interested when craftspeople tell me, “no, it can’t be done.” So we’ve made it a trademark that every one of our ties is all self-tipping.
MS: When everyone saw this tie in the No Time to Die trailer, did you know it was going to be in there?
AO: We had been working for about six to nine months with the costume team on the Bond film. We were not sure, as anybody would, what would actually make it into the film and what wouldn’t.
You’ll notice that this is a width that we don’t normally offer. We offer custom-making of ties that can be as skinny, as wide, as short, as thin. Our standard is 2 1/2 inches. We have also offered 2-inch and 3-inch. This is actually 3 1/2-inch, which is a new shape for us, so that was something that we collaborated with the team from the Bond costume department to create.
MS: Is this tie now available ready to wear in this width?
AO: There has been tremendous amount of interest in this tie, which is very exciting for us. And in fact we now do have the size available for purchase online in 3.5-inch, exactly as seen in Matera, Italy.
MS: Has Daniel Craig been in this shop?
AO: To my knowledge, no, but I can’t answer that definitively.
Alexander Olch’s ties and pocket rounds (round display handkerchiefs instead of square) are displayed on a counter in an artful display to make it easier to experience the products. Many more products from current and past seasons are available from the drawers underneath. Customers can ask about other products, such as their wide, droopy butterfly bow ties.
The shop may look minimalist inside and out, but on the corner of Canal Street and Orchard Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the bright white shopfront cannot be missed.
A special thanks to Peter Brooker for making the connection and getting me to meet with Alexander Olch at the shop. Look for more with Mr Olch on the From Tailors with Love podcast coming soon.
Excellent. I look forward to hearing the full interview. I hope interest in this wider tie leads to interest for more wider ties in his collection. They’re difficult to come by now in the $150 and under range.
The tie looks interesting, although, 3.5 inches seems to be too wide for a “casual” tie, such as this. Also, a wide tie requires wide lapels. Many men miss this and wear wide ties with narrow lapels.
That being said, it’s hard to imagine James Bond shopping at Olch in Chinatown. James Bond is not a New York hipster. He is an icon of British culture. It’s understandable that the films require larger firms to create the wardrobe, and thus, small Savile Row shops can’t be contracted, but accessories, such as ties, should come from heritage English brands.
3.5 inches is by no means a wide tie, it’s just not a narrow tie. The width is perfect for the Massimo Alba suit’s lapels and for Daniel Craig’s build.
Of course, tie width is a personal preference, but 3.5 inches is, objectively, a wide width for a tie, and pretty much the widest offered on the market. A tie, wider than 3.5 inches will look pretty extreme, unless it’s a very thin, inlined, untipped tie, like the ones that were worn in the 1930’s and 40’s. 3 inches seems to be ideal for any occasion, style of tie, style of suit, face and body shape, etc. In my humble opinion, “casual” ties make more sense when they are slimmer. Historically, ties worn with sport coats were very slim. In the older James Bond films, two of the most conservatively dressed characters, Q and M, always wear slim ties, which is even more noticeable, compared to Moore’s super wide ties in the 70’s.
3.5 inches is objectively medium for a tie. That’s a medium lapel width as it’s about halfway to the shoulder on the average man, and because ties are supposed to match lapel width, this is thus a medium width. If you’ve lived through different tie trends, 3.5 inches has been a middle ground that widths have revolved around. 20 years ago it was considered a narrow width. Many makers consider 3.75 inches to be the standard that’s neither too narrow nor too wide.
It’s fascinating, seeing different perspectives here. I’m approaching the middle of my 30s, can I safely assume you’re younger than that, I.T.? When I first got into menswear in the mid-2000s, 3.75″ ties were the standard, even for mass market fashion brands like Banana Republic, Express, and J. Crew. Retailers were just starting to catch onto narrower tie trends from high fashion and offer up a few basic designs.
Our current Bond has worn ties that width in three movies, most notably the first two when it was still standard and to match the lapel width on his “Italian gangster” suit in the last movie. They’re all pretty substantially lined, but look good since other things in the outfits have presence — strong shoulders, lapels, and collars.
All of T&A’s standard ties are 3.75”….
Indeed they are and it’s a good argument in favour of that width’s timelessness. They’re a little rich for my blood, though. I hope to see Bond wearing them again someday.
I would say the kipper ties are “objectively” wide ties.
They definitely are. But I can’t find any on the website right now. Were they just a short-lived experiment?
They were big in the 60s and 70s during Michael Fish’s heyday… I think they’d be hard to find nowadays except for bespoke!
I was referring to this on the T&A website, which I thought you were: https://turnbullandasser.com/understanding-our-ties
I’ve never correlated tie width to any level of formality. We’ve just gotten so used to ties three inches or narrower that anything wider seems large by comparison. Particularly when most casual woven designs are being made in narrow widths. Alexander Olch is not a large firm at all, though, it’s a pretty small operation that makes everything by hand in New York.
I would like to offer a different perspective to I.T, we know Bond is supposedly been out of action and left the service so I think it’s perfectly conceivable for Bond to have stepped outside of his typical repertoire.
It might be a similar context to his unusual look in Spectre, with a single breasted peak lapel suit and eyelet collar.
Nice I love colors like that burgundy is my favorite….
This tie reminds me of a tie Pierce Brosnan wore in Tomorrow Never Dies. He wears it in the scene where he breaks into Carver’s newspaper factory. The tie is brown with polka dots.