Dinner Suit on Ice

Die Another Day Dinner Suit

Pierce Brosnan’s last Brioni dinner suit of the series in Die Another Day is the same button one peak lapel jacket that costume designer Lindy Hemming always dresses Bond in. The midnight blue dinner jacket is cut with straight shoulders and a clean chest, but with a rather straight cut through the body that’s flattering to Brosnan’s figure. The jacket is classically detailed with jetted pockets, four buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The lapels and buttons are covered in black grosgrain silk. The trousers have a darted front.

Die Another Day Dinner Suit

Even though Brioni made the regular shirts for this film, the dress shirt is from Turnbull & Asser. What tells me this is Turnbull & Asser’s double cuff, which has the link holes placed close to the fold, whilst Brioni puts their link holes in the middle. The shirt has a spread collar, a fly placket to cover the buttons and small pleats on the front. Brosnan wears a black ribbed silk, thistle-shaped bow tie. Brosnan follows the classic Bond tradition and wears neither a waistcoat nor a cummerbund with this dinner suit.

Die Another Day Dinner Suit

Street People: An Inspiration for Tom Ford

Roger Moore Street People Light Grey SuitRoger Moore’s first film to feature the fashionable Angelo Roma suits from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker is Street People, from 1976. Since this is an Italian-made film, it’s very likely that Angelo Vitucci made these suits. The suits have the same cut as Angelo’s suits from the Bond films: the jacket has an elegant Roman silhouette with straight shoulders, longer jacket length and close fit through the body. The trousers have a flat front and a flared leg.

Roger Moore Street People Light Grey SuitThe light grey three-piece suit is one of the more interesting pieces in the film. The jacket is a button two with wide peak lapels. The lapels have a lot of belly, or outer curve, reminiscent of lapels from the 1930s and 40s. The jacket is detailed with swelled edges and four buttons on the cuffs. The pockets have flaps, but the flaps are much narrower than the lapels just as on Angelo’s suits in the Bond films. The jacket also has a very deep single vent that starts all the way up at the waist, reminiscent of a hacking jacket. The wide peak lapels, deep single vent and close fit is very much like the work of a popular fashion designer today: Tom Ford. Ford has very effectively done the single-breasted peak-lapel style. The waistcoat that completes the suit is a button six with two pockets. Angelo’s inspiration, like Tom Ford’s, likely came from English designer Tommy Nutter.

Roger Moore Street People Light Grey SuitMoore wears the suit with two different shirts and ties in the film. Frank Foster made the shirts for this film. The first shirt is white with one-button cocktail cuffs, but they do not button down like Foster’s single-button cocktail cuffs typically do. With this shirt he wears a navy tie with white squares. The second shirt is a blue and white awning stripe with contrasting white collar and cuffs. The cuffs on this shirt are two-button cocktail cuffs. With this shirt he wears a solid black tie. Both shirts have a large point collar. Moore wears black shoes with this suit.

Roger Moore Street People Light Grey Suit

Brown in Town: A Three-Piece Mohair Suit in Thunderball

Connery Anthony Sinclair Brown Suit

In Thunderball, James Bond wears a brown and black mix worsted-mohair blend suit by Anthony Sinclair to the office. Brown hasn’t always been accepted for citywear, though Bernard Lee’s M has also worn brown to the office and the secret service doesn’t have the same dress code that banking would. Bond’s suit is a three-piece in the same style as the grey flannel suit he wears earlier in Thunderball. Brown typically isn’t a colour that would flatter Sean Connery’s cool complexion, but this suit is a cool brown that has more blue in it than typical browns. It actually looks somewhat purple.

The suit jacket is Sinclair’s typical cut with two buttons on the front, natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a draped chest. The lapel rolls gently to the top button, similar to the lapel on a button three jacket. The jacket is minimally detailed with jetted pockets and no vent at the back. The cuffs have the standard four buttons. The waistcoat buttons 6 and is cut straight across the bottom, as was the current fashion. The suit trousers have double forward pleats, turn-ups and button-tab side adjusters.

Connery Anthony Sinclair Brown Suit

The most basic complement to the brown suit is the cream shirt. Bond’s cream shirt from Turnbull & Asser has a spread collar and cocktail cuffs. His tie is a brown grenadine, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Bond’s shoes are short, black, elastic-gusseted boots, following the city standard to black footwear even though brown would be a better match. Boots are the best complement to a narrow trouser leg like Connery wears. Narrow trouser legs don’t break well over the shoe and need to be hemmed shorter to look neater. Because they are hemmed shorter the boot makes it less likely for the socks to show when walking. Bond’s brown socks that match the trousers continue the leg line in case sock is exposed when walking.

“I think I had a hat when I came in,” recalls Bond as he walks out of the office looking at an empty hat tree. Not only is the trilby hat missing, but so is the rest of the outfit he walked in with: the navy blazer, grey trousers, blue shirt and navy tie.

Connery Anthony Sinclair Brown Suit

This suit was featured inside a GQ feature on Anthony Sinclair in 1966, but with a striped knitted tie in place of the grenadine. This suit, sans waistcoat, was also sold at auction at Christie’s in South Kensington on 11 December 1997 for £5,175.

Oscar Udeshi: Clothier and Bond Fan

Oscar Udeshi

There’s a shop in Mayfair called Udeshi, run by a man named Oscar Udeshi. Oscar Udeshi started out as a banker but left that industry to open a clothing shop that combines fashion with tailoring. Mr. Udeshi is also a well-known James Bond fan and much of the clothing in his shop is Bond-inspired, from shirts with cocktail cuffs to grenadine ties to suit jackets with gauntlet cuffs. I spoke with Mr. Udeshi about the clothes he sells and his take on the clothing in the Bond films.

Matt Spaiser: How did you get started in the clothing industry?

Oscar Udeshi: The correct answer is I inherited my mother’s bottom. I couldn’t find anything that fit. I was a 38 jacket and a 40 trouser, of sorts. Also, I could never find anything the way I wanted it to be. If you went to a tailor it would fit well but it wouldn’t necessarily look very good, and if you go to a fashion house you’ll have something that might look well but doesn’t fit or isn’t comfortable. I was trying to find something that would balance the two out and is something that would look good and is comfortable and actually fits. And at the time I didn’t feel there was anything out there that would bridge that gap.

MS: When did you open the shop?

OU: Six years ago.

MS: You’ve been here on Davies Street?

OU: Yes. Before that we sold wholesale, but with wholesale there’s a limit to how far your distribution can get. We also always had people go, I’d like this shirt but in a different fabric, or can you do this or can you do that. And why are we giving away that business? So it was the next logical progression. Very few stores would also stock the whole range.

MS: How do you like to describe your clothes?

OU: We walk the magic tightrope between fashion and tailoring. Tailoring usually, as I said earlier, the garment will fit correctly but won’t necessarily look that good. It’s a question of balancing proportion, having an eye to balance it and having the right clothing and the right look for that specific person. Whereas a tailor would make you something really that fits. Whereas with fashion you buy a suit and actually like it, and you want to come back 3 months later and say “I’d like the same thing in grey,” good luck. Or if you go to, Gucci is a good example, every time you go back there in 6 months they’ve changed the fit so it fits completely differently. I don’t know how they assume your body shape is going to change every 6 months just to fit it its clothes. And so for us it’s finding something that is comfortable but also makes you look good.

MS: Do you have suits in your shop that have different fits?

OU: Yes. We have 3 different fits and then with our made-to-measure and our bespoke you can have within reason whatever you want, but still we have a house style. We have relatively light shoulder pads, waisted but not too tight, relatively light canvas, light construction so it feels comfortable but still has some shape and isn’t a sack. For example, if you’ve ever have a Tom Ford suit on it’s almost like a suit of armour. Not a bad thing, it depends. Some people like pasta, some people like sushi. There’s no right answer. To each their own. But, we probably have a much lighter style than the average English suit on the market. We also have some completely unstructured jackets, whereas the Italians tend to have the Tom Ford “let’s stick the biggest sleevehead we can into an armhole.” Yes, lots of comfort, lots of freedom of movement but then you end up looking like a woman’s blouse with all the creases and pleats along the top shoulder line. Whereas an Englishman, that doesn’t work. I had a gentleman in here and I said to the client “What do you think of this jacket?” Why is he wearing a girl’s jacket, just because of that detail. Or for example, a Borelli shirt and one of my friends looked at it and goes “why is the buttonhole machine broken?” Oh, those are hand-made buttonholes. “They’re not consistent.” That’s the beauty of it. Eh! And again he complained about the sewing. “Why are you wearing a girl’s blouse? Why do you have creases on the shoulder?” Nothing wrong, different tastes.

Udeshi Suit

MS: What role has James Bond had in inspiring your clothes?

OU: When I was young, watching James Bond was a little bit more realistic than me learning how to fly or climbing up buildings. I’m not scared of spiders but crawling up on ceilings didn’t appeal to me and I tried flying, but that didn’t work. But chasing women, exotic locations, driving fast cars. After seeing a Bond film most women want to sleep with James Bond and most men would walk out a couple inches taller and want to be James Bond. I think one of the first films my dad took me to see was The Living Daylights, unfortunately. No, A View to a Kill. Grace Jones, yes. Won’t forget that one.

MS: But you’re a Connery man, mostly?

OU: Yes. Having watched all of them, having read all the books doesn’t necessarily make an expert on who’s the best Bond. I think Fleming said Connery was that milk man or that truck driver from Glasgow and really wasn’t happy about Sean Connery. It was Terence Young [director of Dr. No, From Russia WIth Love and Thunderball] who basically created the style, or the persona of James Bond. If you actually look at what Ian Fleming did, blues with blacks and cream shirts, it just sounded too much of a little bit of a dandy. And if you look at Ian Fleming in the photos at GoldenEye, with his slippers and everything, so that really doesn’t create that tough-guy image in my mind. Mind you, my world, our world, has been shaped by the perception of what a tough guy or what a man should be thanks to Bond as well. In my mind, Connery comes closest to what a James Bond should be. Timothy Dalton was a classically-trained actor who probably looked more comfortable in his Afghani costume; the clothing didn’t help. You didn’t get that tough-guy impression. Pierce Brosnan was a middle-aged businessman who had a briefcase. Roger Moore is more like a one-man comic. It was a completely different time in the 70s. And most of what he wore. There are probably intimidating photos of your parents wearing things. I know that my parents wore certain things like, “Dad, you wore a tie this wide?” “It was the fashion.” And back then if you had Sean Connery be James Bond in the 1970s, assuming he was 10 years younger, it just wouldn’t have worked. It was a different time.

MS: Even in Diamonds Are Forever his ties got much wider.

OU: He also got a lot… bigger. Considering he was supposedly a 46 inches chest with a 33 inch waist, which is basically like a spin top; it was like an inverted pyramid. To actually get something to fit him is quite difficult. So when people actually say the Conduit Cut, quite honestly on him, most things would have looked good back then. In Diamonds Are Forever he [his waist] was probably wider than his chest.

MS: What to you is the most memorable piece of Bond’s wardrobe?

OU: Initially it probably would have been like most people, I guess, the suit in Goldfinger. Now probably, as you can see from that rack over there it’s probably his shirts with the cocktail cuff. It’s different enough. It can be formal, you can dress it up or it can also be more casual. And in my mind it fits James Bond’s style ’cause, from the books at least, without having all the gadgets and having to remember cufflinks, in theory wouldn’t have to match your watch or any other jewelry you’d carry. Or your ring. It just dispenses with that, but it’s a little bit more interesting and a little bit more flair than just a normal button cuff. Back in the 60s it was also called a casino cuff or a Napoli cuff or a musketeer cuff. There was always something interesting about it. They didn’t invent it in the film, of course. I do think they did a lot to publicise it. And so probably that. I’ve also watched Thunderball one too many times and my casual shirts, short sleeve ones have a square tail with vents in the side like his. Most of the suits, most of the trousers have side adjusters. My jeans have side adjusters so I don’t have to worry about a belt.

Udeshi Store

You can find more about Udeshi at udeshi.co.uk

Ruffles: This Never Happened to the Other Fella

Ruffled-Front Shirt

George Lazenby is the only Bond to have the distinction of wearing a ruffled-front dress shirt. And he wears not one but two in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Roger Moore can be seen in a ruffled-front dress shirt in The Persuaders, and he wore one in some production stills for Live and Let Die under a very nice double-breasted dinner suit, but Moore never actually wore one in a Bond film. Moore and Lazenby used the same shirtmaker, Frank Foster, and he made their ruffled-front shirts. Lazenby’s dress shirts both have a point collar, double cuffs and mother-of-pearl buttons down the front placket. The backs are darted and the shirts fit very close around the waist. Apart from his brown casual outfit, the ruffles are the only part of George Lazenby’s wardrobe that looks dated today.

Ruffled-Front Shirt

50 Years of James Bond: The Auction

Christie’s has just released the catalogue of their upcoming James Bond auction on 5 October 2012. There are items from Timothy Dalton’s, Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bond wardrobes, including items from Skyfall, plus much more. Click here to see the catalogue online. All proceeds of the auction will benefit charitable causes.

Lazenby in Black Tie

George Lazenby Dinner Suit

September 5th was George Lazenby’s 73rd birthday. In honour of that let’s look Lazenby’s peak-lapel dinner suit by Dimi Major. The dark, single-breasted, peak-lapel dinner suit is Lindy Hemming’s preference for Bond, and that’s what she always dressed Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig in for the five films she worked on. But before GoldenEye, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the only time Bond wore this style. Otherwise, his peak-lapel had all either been double-breasted or white, or both. Lazenby’s dinner suit is probably midnight blue, and that’s practically confirmed by the dinner jacket’s dark blue lining. The dinner jacket naturally buttons one, and it has a clean chest and soft shoulders and is fitted through the waist. It is cut a bit short, following late 60’s trends. The jacket is detailed with double vents, three buttons on the cuffs and jetted pockets. The trousers have a darted front, a black satin stripe down each leg, button side-adjusters and a lower-than-traditional rise. The overall cut of this dinner suit is very similar to what Daniel Craig will be wearing in Skyfall, though none of the fashionable aspects are taken to the extreme. The jacket is closely fitted without being so tight that is creases. The jacket is shorter to lengthen the legs, but not so short as to draw attention. And the trousers have a lower rise, but not so low that the shirt is exposed below the jacket’s button. Lazenby’s dinner suit is tastefully fashionable and would look just as fashionable today as it did 43 years ago.

George Lazenby Dinner Suit

Lazenby wears the dinner suit three times in the film, with at least two different ruffled-front shirts from Frank Foster. I’ll discuss the shirts in more detail later. He wears a black satin silk thistle-shaped bow tie that matches the lapels. That’s probably done more for the filming and less for the character. He follows Connery’s tradition of not wearing a waist-covering. When we first see Lazenby, he is wearing a black trilby with his dinner suit, a slightly informal hat for black tie.

George Lazenby Dinner Suit

Light Grey Suit in Las Vegas in Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds Are Forever Grey Suit

Apart from the wider lapels and pocket flaps, and the removal of trouser pleats, little has changed in Sean Connery’s clothes from Dr. No to Diamonds Are Forever nine years later. Even the cloths have stayed the same, like the light grey tropical worsted wool. The cool tone of grey doesn’t blend in as well with the Las Vegas desert as Connery’s more casual cream linen suit later in the film does. Grey has a more formal look than the cream linen suit does, which looks more appropriate for the setting. But light grey is dull enough to not stand out in the pale desert.

Diamonds Are Forever Grey Suit

This button two suit cut by Anthony Sinclair has natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a cleaner chest than what Sinclair made in the 1960s. The pockets are slanted with flaps, there are four buttons on the cuffs and there are deep double vents at the back. The trousers have a darted front and button-tab side adjusters.

Turnbull & Asser Ribbed TieConnery wears a cream poplin Turnbull & Asser shirt with a spread collar and two-button cocktail cuffs. The black tie is from Turnbull & Asser as well and has a ribbed weave, with ribs of varying widths. Like the grenadine ties that Connery most often wears, this tie is also solid and still has plenty of surface interest. Roger Moore wore the same tie in different colours in The Persuaders. See my navy version of the tie to the left to see a close-up picture of the tie’s ribbed pattern. My tie is 4 3/8 inches wide, probably a similar width to Connery’s tie. He wears black socks and black three-eyelet derby brogues, except when on the bike he is seen wearing dark brown suede monk-strap ankle boots.

Read more about this suit in a comparison with the light grey suit Connery wears in Dr. No.