If there’s one article of clothing that acted as a lynchpin for James Bond’s style through the earlier films in the 1960’s, it would have to be the grenadine tie. With the exception of Goldfinger, Connery’s Bond wore a grenadine from Turnbull & Asser in all of his films. And today the style is more popular than ever. Matt Spaiser does an excellent job of analyzing the grenadine tie is this article.
But we’re here to review some ties. Specifically two of the grenadines offered by Canadian tie-makers Aklasu. So I’ll get this out of the way right now. Bond favored what is known as a garza grossa type of grenadine. This is a looser weave of fabric with a significant amount of texture. What Aklasu offers is a garza fina grenadine. It’s a tighter weave, but still has plenty of texture when compared your typical silk tie.
Now, I’ll understand if some of you are having second thoughts about the navy Aklasu tie for reasons related to screen accuracy. But before you make a final decision, there’s some things you might want to consider.
A Little Bit About Aklasu
If you read this site with any regularity, you know I’m a big fan of supporting smaller companies whenever possible. Especially smaller companies that deliver a quality product at a fair price and prioritize the people they serve. Aklasu definitely checks those boxes. Started as a passion project by Mensah Aklasu and based in Canada, it is truly a boutique operation. Mensah and his wife basically do everything, from coordinating with their tie makers in Como, Italy to building their website. This smaller scale operation allows for a personalized level of service that clearly demonstrates the values of the company and the pride the owners take in what they’re creating. You can read more about their story here.
Aklasu’s Fabric and Construction
I just want to quickly note the packaging for the Aklasu ties. They’ve obviously put some thought into it. Each tie comes in its own container and includes a card with illustrated directions for tying a four-in-hand knot and a message from Mensah. It’s little touches like this that create a positive first impression and help you connect with the brand.
The first thing I noticed when I removed the ties from their containers was the surprising weight of the ties. This is not flimsy, gossamer neckwear. The substantial feel is due in part to the 100% wool interliner they use that runs the full length of tie. It also comes from the tighter, denser weave of the silk.
About that silk weave. The main advantage to using garza fina grenadine is that the fabric is less likely to snag and create pulls. But it also gives the tie a slightly more formal look while retaining the visually interesting, three dimensional texture that makes grenadine so unique. Personally, I simply find garza fina to be more versatile. Aklasu sources their grenadine from a heritage mill in Como, Italy, where it’s woven on 100 year old wooden looms.
When tied in a simple four-in-hand, the tie’s construction gives the knot a nice, medium size. This creates an excellent balance between the weight of the knot and the 3″ blade. The slightly stiffer fabric also allows the knot to stand away from the collar for a more interesting drape. And although it’s easy to create a decent dimple right from the start, I feel it will just get better as the fabric is trained over time.
We’ll start with the Navy. It’s a deep, rich blue with a very slight sheen when it’s in direct light. A beautiful tie to wear with a suit or more casual sport coat. And definitely Bond-worthy.
But what really brought Aklasu to my attention was their Burnt Orange grenadine. Chasing Turnier was the first to mention it in the comments for our post on options for the Tom Ford knit tie Bond wore in SPECTRE. I was pretty eager to get my hands on one to see if it would work as an alternative. I’ll let you judge first before I add my comments.
Personally, this is the tie I’ve been looking for to finish off the Morocco look. Of course the weave isn’t screen accurate. But, for me, the grenadine garza fina still has enough texture to come “close enough”. And since I prefer grenadine over knit, I was more than willing to accept the difference.
It’s the color of the Burnt Orange that really sold me. In real life, the tie is darker in color with more of a red tone than it looks online. When paired with my affordable alternatives for the Morocco Brunello Cucinelli jacket, pants and belt and a simple white dress shirt, I think it really completes the look. I’m pretty pleased with the end result.
The Aklasu grenadine ties are not garza grossa or knit. In other words, they’re not screen accurate. But let’s put that aside for a moment. What Aklasu does deliver is a beautifully constructed tie, made from quality silk grenadine by craftsmen in Italy. Now add to that their absolute commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience and a price of $67.00 U.S. Finally, factor in the rich blue color of the Navy and the oh-so-close color of the Burnt Orange. For me, the decision is an easy one. The Aklasu grenadine ties are simply excellent value for the price. And I’m looking forward to getting a lot of use out of both of them!
The Aklasu grenadine ties are available from their website. Priced at $80.00 U.S., Aklasu offers free shipping in Canada and the U.S.
Aklasu provided the author with two ties at no cost for the purposes of this review.