A staple of the Sean Connery James Bond wardrobe is the dark solid tie. In Dr. No and From Russia With Love that tie was always a navy grenadine tie from Turnbull & Asser. Do not confuse that with the knitted silk ties that he wears throughout Goldfinger. While the grenadine might look similar in texture to the knit tie, they are completely unrelated. Most people are familiar with the knitted 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 made with triangular bottoms. The knitted tie is a casual tie (which might seem like an oxymoron these days) and disliked by many. Yet the literary James Bond wears it, and the film Bond occasionally wears it as well.
But for now we will discuss the grenadine tie. Grenadine silk is woven—not knitted—in a gauze weave, also known as a leno weave. Gauze weaves are very open yet very stable. Whilst in typical 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. Grenadine silk is woven on a jacquard loom.
The grenadine tie is constructed like any normal tie: it has folds, an interlining and, of course, a triangular tip. Some grenadine ties do away with the interlining for a transparent look like a knitted tie, but the stand grenadine tie cannot be seen through because of a wool interlining that is dyed the colour of the silk. Grenadine is a luxurious silk, very delicate and much more formal than a knitted tie. In black it makes an excellent funeral tie, and this is exactly what James Bond wears to a funeral at the beginning of Thunderball.
Fermo Fossati and Seteria Bianchi, both located in the Como region of Italy, are the two primary weavers of grenadine silk. Most of the grenadine tie makers get their silk from these weavers. Turnbull & Asser, 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.
There mainly are two different types of grenadine silk: large gauze (pictured top) and small gauze (pictured below left). James Bond prefers the large gauze, which is better known by its Italian names garza grossa (large gauze) or garza prometeo (Prometheus gauze). The small gauze type is known by its Italian names garza fina (small gauze) or garza piccola (tiny gauze).
Turnbull & Asser still sells the same garza grossa grenadine ties that Sean Connery wears in his Bond films, but in a different width. They change their tie widths periodically to follow fashion. The same type of grenadine ties can be found at many other shops on Jermyn Street and elsewhere. Turnbull & Asser, Mason & Sons and a few other shops sell grenadine ties using the wrong side (back side) of the silk, which gives the silk a more honeycomb-like texture.
“Mock” grenadine (pictured below right) also exists, which has a similar texture to grenadine that is created by floats rather than a gauze weave and does not have an open weave. The example pictured is woven in England rather than Italy.
Sean Connery wears grenadine ties in all of his James Bond films except Goldfinger. His ties are in light and dark navy, black and dark brown, and they are all colours that Fermo Fossati still weaves today. 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 garza grossa with his grey flannel suit.