The Grenadine Tie: A Connery James Bond Staple

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The dark solid tie is a staple of the Sean Connery James Bond wardrobe. In Dr. No and From Russia With Love that tie was always a navy grenadine tie, most likely from his shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser.

The solid grenadine tie is one of the most versatile ties. Because it is solid it will not clash with other patterns, but its texture ensures it has interest. Other textures can work just as well as grenadine does, but few are as luxurious and as unique as the lacy grenadine. The grenadine tie is less formal than the satin tie—the dressiest of all neckties—and sits around the same level of formality as the less interesting repp tie. Unlike the satin tie it can pair nicely with most sports coats.

Blue, black and grey grenadine ties from Turnbull & Asser

It Is Not the Same as a Knit Tie

Do not confuse grenadine ties with the knitted silk ties, which James Bond favours in Ian Fleming’s novels and what Sean Connery wears throughout Goldfinger. While the grenadine might look similar in texture to the knit tie, they are completely unrelated.

The knitted tie is a more familiar tie, which somewhat resembles a sock. Like a sock, the knitted tie is a tube of knitted silk. It usually has a straight hem at the bottom, though some, like Tom Ford’s knitted ties are finished with triangular bottoms. The knitted tie is a sportier tie and disliked by many due to its straight hem. Yet the literary James Bond wears it, and the film Bond occasionally wears it as well.

A silk knitted tie on the left from Polo Ralph Lauren and a grenadine tie in Seteria Bianchi’s ‘Prometeo’ grenadine on the right from Turnbull & Asser

The director of the first Bond film Terence Young most likely made the decision to dress James Bond in the more sophisticated grenadine tie rather than a knit tie.

What Is Grenadine Silk?

Grenadine is a luxurious silk, very delicate and much more formal than a knitted tie. It’s a wonder it holds up to the wear and tear that James Bond puts his clothes through.

Grenadine silk is woven—not knitted—on a jacquard loom in a gauze weave, also known as a leno weave. Gauze weaves are very open yet very stable, though they have a fair amount of stretch. Whilst in ordinary weaves the warp and weft yarns go over and under each other, the gauze weave adds a third dimension to the weave by having warp yarns that also cross over each other.

An assortment of navy grenadine ties

Grenadine silk is woven by two mills in the Como region of Italy: Fermo Fossati and Seteria Bianchi. Turnbull & Asser gets most of their grenadine silk from Seteria Bianchi, while Drakes and Mason & Sons get theirs from Fermo Fossati. Sam Hober has the largest selection of grenadine ties available anywhere and sources silks from both Fermo Fossati and Seteria Bianchi. Fermo Fossati is the more prominent weaver of grenadine silk, and ties of their grenadine silk are more widely available.

Silk is not the only fibre used for grenadine. Polyester, wool and blends of silk and cotton, silk and wool, silk and cashmere, wool and cashmere have also been used for grenadine. Fermo Fossati also make silk shantung grenadine, which has slubs.

Though all of Bond’s grenadine ties are woven in a single colour, grenadine can also be found in two-tone with different colours in the warp and the weft, in striped patterns and with dots.

A garza grossa grenadine on the left and a garza fina grenadine on the right, both made of Fermo Fossati’s silk in ‘Dusty navy’ from Arcuri

Types of Grenadine Silk

There primarily are two different types of grenadine silk: large gauze and small gauze. Both the large gauze, known by its Italian makers as garza grossa, and the small gauze, known by its Italian makers as garza fina or garza piccola are equally versatile, though James Bond prefers the large gauze, which has more character but is also more delicate. Fermo Fossati and Seteria Bianchi make both types of grenadine, and Bianchi nicknames their large gauze ‘Prometeo’ and their small gauze ‘Filolao’.

A grenadine garza grossa weave

Other varieties of grenadine have been historically woven. It’s the twists and open weave that characterise grenadine silk. Without these characteristics it is not true grenadine silk. ‘Mock’ grenadine also exists, which has a similar texture to grenadine. The texture is created by floats rather than a gauze weave and does not have an open weave.

A British-woven mock grenadine on the left from Robert Talbott and a true grenadine garza grossa woven by Fermo Fossati on the right from Benson & Clegg

Two Sides of the Silk

Grenadine silk does not have a ‘right side’ and a ‘wrong side’, though each maker of grenadine silk has their own idea of what is supposed to the the right side. The right side of Fermo Fossati’s garza grossa is equivalent to the wrong side of Seteria Bianchi’s. This means that either side from either maker can be used without detriment to the silk or tie, and it’s a personal preference as to which side is better. Grenadine looks similar on both sides, but each side has unique qualities.

Two ties of Fermo Fossati dark navy garza grossa grenadine silk: the wrong side from Oliver Wicks on the left and the right side from Sam Hober on the right

The right side of Fermo Fossati’s grenadine and the wrong side of Seteria Bianchi’s grenadine has a delicate, lacier and more web-like appearance. The wrong side of Fossati’s grenadine and the right side of Bianchi’s grenadine has more of a honeycomb look and more overall texture. This is the side that Sean Connery’s grenadine ties use. Because this side has slightly more texture, it shows up better on screen than the other side would.

Grenadine Tie Construction

The grenadine tie is constructed like any normal tie: it is folded on the bias, it has a wool interlining for body, and it is finished with a triangular tip. The wool interlining must be dyed the same colour as the silk so the colour of the interlining does not show through the open weave. Grenadine ties may be made in a seven-fold construction that does away with the interlining in favour of extra folds of silk to give it body.

Most grenadine ties, like most ties, have a tipping to fill in the backside of the ends of the tie and give a finished look to the tie. Some grenadine ties have no tipping, which necessitates hand-rolled edges for an elegant finish. Sean Connery’s grenadine ties in his 1960s James Bond films are made without tipping and are slightly see-thought at the tips.

An untipped grenadine tie from Sam Hober made of Seteria Bianchi ‘Prometeo’ grenadine

Hand-rolled grenadine ties without tipping have more interest and involve a higher level of craft to make than standard tipped grenadine ties, but this variation does not effectively change the tie’s formality.

James Bond’s Grenadine Ties

Sean Connery wears large-weave grenadine ties in all of his James Bond films except Goldfinger, his only Bond film to not feature grenadine ties. In Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever he wears dark navy grenadine ties. In From Russia with Love he adds a lighter shade of navy, and in Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever he adds black and dark brown to the roster. In black it makes an excellent funeral tie, and this is exactly what James Bond wears to a funeral at the beginning of Thunderball. In Diamonds Are Forever he also adds an amethyst-coloured—a pale purple—grenadine tie. In Never Say Never Again he wears a large-weave grenadine tie in mid-grey. Except for the amethyst grenadine, all of the other colours are still available today.

Sean Connery wearing a blue grenadine tie in From Russia with Love
Sean Connery wearing a blue grenadine tie in From Russia with Love

When Roger Moore brings traditional English clothing back to the Bond series in For Your Eyes Only, he also brings back the grenadine tie in grey large gauze with his grey flannel suit.

Where to Find Grenadine Ties

Today, grenadine ties are more popular than they have ever been. They are easy to find from countless brands around the world and are no longer exclusive to the most luxurious brands, something that was hardly the case before the 2010s. Thanks to the internet, they have seen a renaissance.

A black grenadine tie from Turnbull & Asser in Seteria Bianchi’s ‘Prometeo’ grenadine

Turnbull & Asser still sell the same large-gauze grenadine ties that Sean Connery wears in his Bond films, but in a different width and with tipping. They change their tie widths periodically to follow fashion trends. The same type of grenadine ties can be found at many other shops on London’s Savile Row and elsewhere in Mayfair, on London’s Jermyn Street, in Milan, and elsewhere. Sam Hober offer bespoke grenadine ties in a wide range of colours online at a reasonable price. Specify the wrong side of the silk to get the Connery look with their grenadine ties.

45 COMMENTS

  1. I started watching James Bond movies in my middle school years. Pierce Brosnan was my generation's Bond and still is, and he inspired my own sense of style from that early age. In many ways, Bond influenced me more than anybody else in my life. Its thanks to 007 that I never dressed solvenly in my teens/early 20s like so many others my age. Now at 25, Im still the best dressed person I know!! :)

    Your blog is a welcome addition to my daily reading. Keep up the good work.

  2. The more I read the more I wonder, how would you Matt, have Bond dress in BOND 23?

    Perhaps that's a question for later though, as Dr. No is still being covered!

  3. Grenadines are lovely and a staple in my wardrobe and I think that they are more practical than the knits.

    Unfortunately the ones you get at shops are very thick and result in large knot (four in hand).

    I get mine from Sam Hober, who custom makes them, and I specify them with a thinner inner lining which allows a smaller knot…more like Sir Sean!!!

    http://www.samhober.com/grenadine-silk-ties/

  4. So, how close is the current version of the Turnbull & Asser Navy Grenadine tie to that in Dr. No?

  5. Matt,
    I remember you told me before Sean Connery wore different shades of blue grenadines, and was wondering. Would he wear lighter shades of blue to offset his navy suit albeit being a darker color and therefore making his grenadines stick out?

  6. Great article. What do you think of the grenadine ties on the house of ties website? It looks like they have three versions of the navy tie, each of different widths. Do you think the weave also differs between the versions?

      • I see. Which of the two grossa versions would be the best width match for Connery’s in your opinion, 8cm or 7.5cm?

      • In Dr. No they were probably around 8cm, and more like 7.5cm after that. 8cm won’t look as silly after the current fashion trends pass, and that’s what I would recommend.

  7. Matt do you recommend the Linkson Jack ties featured on the top right of the page? Do they closely resemble the ones used in the films?

    • Yes, I recommend them. They are very well made. If you get a tie custom made from them, request that the back side of the silk be used for something like what Turnbull & Asser makes. I’ve discussed that with Linkson and they can do it.

  8. I just purchased an 8cm plain blue silk grenadine from Marks & Spencer for £17.50 Bargain.
    I think I’ll buy a few more, in different colours… The only thing to bear in mind is the raised texture of the weave may incur a risk of snagging.

  9. Hi Matt,
    The linkson jack link on the right side of the page doesn’t work. Was there previously a discount promotion if redirected through this site?

  10. Matt,

    Is the Sinclair grenadine tie lined and would it fit with the current lapel width on the conduit cut suit?

    Thanks

    • The Sinclair grenadine is lined (to not be lined would be an unusual exception, though Drakes and others do them now). The tie is narrower than the lapel width on the Conduit Cut suits, but I think they can still pair nicely together.

  11. Hello Matt, I hope you are well. The podcast is fantastic, so thank you for your work on that.

    How would you describe the formality of a grenadine tie? Can it be business attire, worn in a four-in-hand knot?

  12. Hi Matt,
    Grenadine ties are indeed very versatile, but what would you say are their limits? Are grenadine ties formal enough for black lounge and morning dress? What’s the most casual one should wear them, with a jumper perhaps?

    • I would not wear them with black lounge and morning dress, but I wouldn’t say they’re off limits. You could wear them with a jumper if you like, but I think they’re best with a jacket.

  13. Hi Matt, Great article! I am about to purchase my first grenadine tie. I am looking at Turnbull & Asser, and Sam Hober. I prefer Garza Grossa in navy. Do you know what the current navy for Turnbull and Asser is like compared to Connery’s grenadines? Sam Hober has a soft navy and a midnight blue in Garza Grossa, and a navy blue in the Prometeo weave. Do you have any knowledge of these current Hober colors? From your article, it sounds like Garza Grossa and Prometeo are the similar, both large gauze. Is there any differences in appearance between Grossa and Prometeo?

  14. Do you guys have any recs for grenadine ties? About 90-95% of my ties are T&A, but when it comes to the grenadines I find they wear very quickly. I have a bespoke one from Shibumi which has fared much better. But I’m curious to hear what other people wear….

    • Grenadine silk only comes from two neighbouring mills, though the finer weaves are less delicate than the ones T&A uses. Some people find that using the other side of the silk is less delicate. Most makers use the other side. I have a few from Sam Hober.

  15. Hi Matt. Do you know which Sam Hober colour is closest to Connery’s light navy ties? I’m thinking it would probably go better with a dark charcoal suit than a midnight blue would.

  16. Matt, do you think a bright red solid tie like the one pictured on the left of the first picture can work on someone with a winter complexion ? If so, with what color of shirt and suit ? Or is better left for summer complexions ?

  17. There are other sources than T & A for grenadines as for sevenfolds (and even knitteds) , and even some of those on Jermyn Street are less excruciatingly priced than T & A’s superior quality but limited colour range options. Who would know the difference viewing them tied on your neck, as distinct from viewed up close from behind, including the finishings and labels etc?

  18. Idea for a post: non-navy ties? Don’t get me wrong, I love navy ties, but if Bond were to branch out from navy, black, and brown, what colours would he turn to? Burgundy? Forest green?

  19. Matt, when you state “Specify the wrong side of the silk to get the Connery look with their [Hober’s] grenadine ties” is that for the Grenadine Grossa or Prometeo ties (or both)? I got swatches from both silks and Hober seems to consider the delicate, lacier side the “right” side on both the Grossa and Prometeo. Thanks for clarifying!

    • It would be what Hober considers the wrong side for both. The side you use for either one is down to personal preference, which is one of the most beautiful things about grenadine silk.

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