If you could only have one tie in your wardrobe, what tie would that be? Could one tie possibly take care of all tie-wearing needs? If there is one tie that could possibly do it all, it would be a dark navy grenadine.
Seteria Bianchi and Fermo Fossati, silk weavers in Como, Italy, provide the grenadine silk to Turnbull & Asser, Anthony Sinclair, Drakes, Sam Hober and many other purveyors of neckties. Seteria Bianchi offer two shades of navy and Fermo Fossati offer four different shades of navy. Both weave similar types of grenadine silk that are hardly distinguishable from each other. James Bond’s grenadine silk is always in the large-weave variety, which Seteria Bianchi calls ‘garza prometeo’ (Prometheus gauze) and Fermo Fossati calls ‘garza grossa’ (large gauze).
Sean Connery’s tie maker in his Bond films Turnbull & Asser primarily uses Seteria Bianchi grenadine, and Connery’s two shades of navy are most likely from them. Sadly, their dyes have changed over the years, but their lighter and brighter navy is likely very similar if not the same as what Sean Connery wears with his navy suit to the office in From Russia with Love. The darker navy that they offer today is a more teal shade of blue than what most of the Connery’s ties appear to be. A few years ago they offered a midnight blue shade that was much closer.
Of Fermo Fossati’s shades of navy, the lightest and brightest one that is still in the navy range of blues is known as ‘Navy’ (code 213) and is similar to Bianchi’s lighter navy. The next two, ‘Prussia blue’ (code 26800) and ‘Dusty navy’ (code 217), are slightly darker and more like dark teal than navy. These are the least versatile navy grenadine silks because their green cast makes them clash with most blue clothes.
The darkest grenadine tie that Fermo Fossati offers is the ‘Dark navy’ (code 6220). Unlike all of the other navy grenadine silks that they offer, this one is the purest blue, with a slight indigo cast, in comparison to all of the other shades of navy that Fossati and Bianchi both offer. This help it to match better with most navy suits and blazers than all of the others do. The dark, cool tone of this tie helps it harmonise more with greys, as well as other colours, because it feels more neutral. The very dark blue of this tie also allows it to blend with an outfit rather than pop out of it, so it is less likely to clash with anything it is paired with.
Though the silk of Connery’s grenadine ties was most likely sourced from Seteria Bianchi, of the currently available colours, the ‘Dark navy’ shade from Fermo Fossati is the closest to the shade of navy that Connery typically wore.
Though Sean Connery also wears the lighter navy grenadine tie, his dark navy grenadine tie from Turnbull & Asser is the foundation of his tie wardrobe and is the only tie that he wears in the first Bond film, Dr. No. He also wears it in From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. These are all of his EON-series Bond films in which he wears any grenadine ties. He pairs this tie successfully with grey suits of all shades, from pale to charcoal, and with navy suits and blazers.
This dark navy tie could go well with just about anything else too, from light blues to browns and tans. It can work with just about any colour besides black. Though sometimes black and blue can pair harmoniously together, this tie is too dark and too close to black for it to not clash.
A black tie could be almost as versatile as a dark navy tie, but black can look harsh against many colours—particularly bright colours—and skin tones. Dark navy is a slightly softer colour than black, meaning it will complement more outfits and skin tones more pleasingly.
Why is the grenadine tie more versatile than other ties? The grenadine is plain, so it will not clash with any patterns, but the texture keeps it interesting. Other textures can work just as well as grenadine does, but few are as luxurious as the lacy grenadine. Its luxurious nature makes it more formal than the somewhat visually similar sporty knitted tie and thus appropriate for just about all suits. On the other hand, the grenadine tie is less formal than the satin tie—the dressiest of all neckties—and unlike the satin tie it can pair nicely with most sports coats. Both the large gauze that Sean Connery’s Bond wears and the fine weave are equally versatile.
The only downside to the tie of ultimately versatility is that grenadine silk is delicate and will snag if you are not careful with it. This is because of all the prominently floated yarns the grenadine weave has. The large-weave grenadine is more prone to snagging than the fine-weave grenadine is, but the large weave also has a more complex and interesting weave.