I also own both version of the Swirly Tie made by Magnoli Clothiers, so I’m in a very good position to review both of them alongside the original I now own.
She only featured it once in an episode from beginning to end, The Girl In The Fireplace. This was because stunt-work was at a minimum during the story, so the tie could be kept ‘safe’.
So when it can to David’s swan song and his final scenes, she choose a tie she had extra special affection for: the Christian Lacroix. Knowing she would be handing over to a new costume department, she checked that it was okay to use the tie, bearing in mind there were no back-ups or spares.
No questions were raised, so filming went ahead as planned.
Reluctant to allow the precious, unique tie to be damaged, Ray Holman and his team had to make a replia of the tie so they were free to do what was required in the script.
This was done by tracing the design onto brown silk and embroidering the blue swirls to match. A couple of reddish areas were replicated by using scraps of coloured silk appliquéd on, but these didn’t quite match the original, hence the visible difference between the two versions.
Thus, there are TWO distinctively different versions of this one tie.So it now comes down to which of these ‘screen-accurate’ ties is being copied.
- The original Christian Lacroix woven-fabric tie as worn exclusively by David Tennant
- The hand-made replica, with appliquéd design as worn exclusively by Matt Smith
It is woven, with the swirls and background in totally solid colours, but I can confirm neither if these are actually correct.
The area of artwork, and thus pattern repeat, is fairly limited, due mainly to the lack of images of the full area of the design. The first six or so inches stand up well, but it quickly gives way to increasingly inaccurate guesswork, working from what was available at the time.
Buyers criticised it for not having the reddish areas and lacking the depth of relief the swirls appeared to have, but this was based on the spied filming of The Eleventh Hour, when Matt Smith wore the Ray Holman replica tie as outlined in my introduction.
Since Matt wore his tie without a jacket it was more visible; whereas David’s was mostly concealed by the buttoned-up suit. It was assumed (wrongly) that they were the same tie, so Matt’s was used for reference for both.
The existing swirl artwork was retained, and expanded upon, based on a flat image of the Eleventh Hour tie. This was a much welcomed improvement over the first version.
I gather a number of attempts were made to create the reflections and shading the embroidered swirls produced, with a limited level of success.
The final version did a good job and the red areas were included, but come out too light in the released version.
My conclusion is that the second draft tie stands as a good tie, but fails to replicate the three-dimensional relief of the Matt Smith version.
Although the original David Tennant tie is all woven, like the Magnolis, the red areas should be much more subtle than seen here, with the brown background a lot darker. The overall swirl artwork is good, if a little large and heavy going. It still stands up today, though there is room for further improvement, if another version is produced.