At Gallifrey One this past year, I had a situation I blogged about where I ran into a Ten cosplayer who was wearing an Armani tie who I did not recognize (I know most of the cosplayers with original Armanis, so this surprised me). I finally managed to ambush him in the halls and have a chat with him about his tie, where he happily revealed to me that he was wearing a Magnoli replica! Unfortunately, I was dressed in my 7b Matt Smith and couldn’t compare ties right there, but after posting about the experience, a reader and friend of mine offered to mail me his Magnoli replicas for me to do a formal review, which I happily accepted.
I have been getting quite a few requests for this comparison, so here we go. I will try to be as fair as possible. Also, I originally misordered these ties, so I apologize for any confusion that may cause.
I happen to have some specific insight into the history of these replicas, so allow me to talk about that while I also point out my areas of concern.
Most people I’ve seen own Magnoli v1, his original attempt, which is actually really good for guessing from photographs. After this, Magnoli came into possession of an original Armani, and went to work revising the pattern (v3). Unfortunately… well, all I can say is it wasn’t his fault.
I want to be in love with this revision but you can see what the problem is. The bigger flaws have been corrected – the background ribbing is much closer to the real deal than the plain weave of v1, the squares have proper texture, and even a similar texture has been added to the brown in the eggs, which really gives that fabulous authenticity you want in a replica. This particular tie pictured appears to have been woven mirrored to the original, though more likely it was cut upside-down. But here we have the elephant in the room: What happened to the color?
As Indy posted on The RPF back in 2012, this was the updated sample that either he gave his manufacturing company or his manufacturing company gave back to him (I’m unclear as to that detail):
As you can see, it’s not only beautiful, it’s nearly 100% spot on. If this was the final tie, I’d give it an A and say it’s a 95% match to the original – even better than his Utopia tie, which is fantastic. Unfortunately, the story goes that both Indy and his manufacturing company agreed on this prototype, at which point it was up to the manufacturing company to make the ties. Indy was then shipped around 400 of this:
As you can imagine, this was disappointing to us all, which is why it’s offered at a discounted price. The manufacturing company claims that they weren’t able to properly execute the intended weave and improvised instead.
It’s truly too bad, because his prototype is so spot-on (I’d really love to have an alternate tie to wear at minor events and more casual conventions so I don’t chance losing my original), but for now this is the situation.
After the debacle with v3, Magnoli went back and simplified the design so that his company could actually produce a replica that was an improvement on his original tie. That tie is v2. Version two is actually a great improvement on an already great original, and this is the tie that, on the con floor, I mistook for an original, so take that for what it’s worth. Currently, if you buy Magnoli’s “brown” colorway of the tie, this is what you will receive. So let’s investigate.
The reason the color is off (despite his brown being damn close to the real shade) is because the background of the Armani is actually a two-toned weave of brown and blue (as v3 was supposed to be), giving the tie a lovely iridescence and allowing them to blend into a new color when viewed from far away. At left, you can see that Magnoli incorporated the ribbed look of the original, but left the weave solid brown. For scale, he pretty much hit the nail on the head from the get-go, and this version of the tie shows that. The only real improvement that could be made on the actual egg pattern is to possibly rotate the eggs slightly, but that’s some serious nit-picking. The bigger issue here is that, while the brown is pretty much spot-on in color, the blue is really much too light. Remember, the image above is a direct side-by-side comparison and not a composite, so that’s how the colors truly look relative to each other.
Beyond manufacturing errors, the replicas are quite lovely, and on their own they’re fab ties. For length, width, and thickness, they’re exact matches, and the pattern is, again, almost exactly to scale. The only major complaint I have is the blue color, which again, should be darker, and that the background color is dark brown instead of somewhere in between the brown and blue shades, which I’m sure he has in mind to tweak once his stock of v2 and v3 run low (at the moment he has other projects occupying his mind).
The label on v2 even mimics the Armani label, which is a cute touch. As far as linings go, his original lining was actually a closer match than his new lining, but as it never shows it’s of little concern. The real lining has GIORGIO ARMANI woven into it, which you can sort of see in the above photo – that kind of customization is a lot to ask for the price range, though.
Overall, I give v2 a B – the pattern is excellent but the weave and colors could be closer – though that’s simply part of the curse of the Doctor Who ties! If you’re looking for a replica of one of the most popular brown suit ties, Magnoli is definitely the way to go!