Max Zorin in Black Tie

Zorin-Dinner-Suit

Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken, is dressed is a different, but just as classic, mode of black tie from James Bond. Whilst Bond wears a white, single-breasted dinner jacket with natural shoulders, Zorin’s dinner jacket is black and double-breasted with straight, padded shoulders. The padded shoulders reflect both the 1980s fashions and Zorin’s thirst for power, and they contrast with Bond’s softer look. This is one of the series’ best examples of contrasting black tie between Bond and the villain. Thunderball also finds Bond wearing a single-breasted dinner jacket whilst the villain is wearing the double-breasted dinner jacket, but the colours are reversed. It’s more subtle than putting the villain in a black shirt, like Le Chiffre in Casino Royale.

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Zorin’s double-breasted buttoning is in the typical 80′s style: four buttons with one to button. But unlike what was in fashion, the bottom row of buttons on Zorin’s dinner jacket is only just below the waist, not a few inches lower. This gives the jacket better proportions. There are three buttons on the sleeves, and all the buttons are made of black horn. The peak lapels and trouser stripe are black satin. The jacket also has jetted pockets and double vents. The only fault with this dinner jacket that the collar fits poorly and leaves a gap between the shirt collar.

The dress shirt has a spread collar and pleated, fly front. The fly front was very trendy—yet still elegant—at the time, and Pierce Brosnan often wore it in Remington Steele. He wears a classic black satin silk thistle bow-tie. Zorin makes a poor choice with a dark blue puffed pocket square, clashes with the black dinner jacket. Scarpine’s wine red pocket square (see top picture) is a more classic and complementary choice. Apart from the pocket square and collar, Zorin is a well-dressed man, as a man in his position should be. Today, this would be quite rare for someone in the technology industry.

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19 thoughts on “Max Zorin in Black Tie

  1. Any idea who made this? I think it’s a great look, almost as good as many of Bond’s black tie ensembles. This would have been a good way to dress Dalton in Licence to Kill– minor concessions to the trends of the 1980′s but in a tasteful and classic manner.
    And you’re right, Zuckerberg would probably have a sweatshirt on at this party!

    • I don’t know who made it. It’s a lot better than the double-breasted suits Pierce Brosnan was wearing in Remington Steele at the time. I’ll have to show one of those just to demonstrate what a double-breasted suit should not be.

    • Hmmm, let me guess Matt :
      baggy trousers with triple reverse pleats, jacket with a very low button stance -making Pierce Brosnan appear taller and thus slimmer, things he didn’t need-, oversized (perhaps almost falling ?) and overpadded shoulders , plus no waist suppression at all, the whole thing totally drowning poor Pierce…

    • I’m not sure he wore triple reverse pleats (definitely double) but everything else is exactly what he wore. Though the low button stance is elongating, the fullness of the suits prevents Brosnan from looking too slim.

  2. Looking at the first picture, Scarpine seems to have a perfect-fitting jacket (no collar gap). Would this be the first time that a henchman is “better” dressed than a villain ?! But I think he wore the same pocket square with a dark double breasted suit sooner in the film, as he listens to the rooms’ conversations, so perhaps his “right” choice of pocket square was just a coincidence.
    Zorin’s suit looks overall very nice, the lapels are just not wide enough for me. And I don’t see the purpose of the (sun ?)glasses. It certainly is (with the morning coat ) one of Zorin’s best outfits. I remember he also wore light grey suits and medium red ties that made him look very pale and sickly. Perhaps it was made on purpose to accentuate his rather scary origins, but it wasn’t flattering.

  3. Matt, I am sorry if it’s almost my sixth post of the day, but I must disagree with you a little.
    Although I quite agree with Mads Mikkelsen’s all dark dinner suit outfit contrasting in a too obvious way with Craig’s one -it’s not really a typical dress shirt and bowtie-, even if he wore it quite well in my opinion, I am quite shure his shirt and bowtie aren’t black, but a very dark purple/mauve color. The same color of the shirt he wears at the beginning of the movie, when meeting Mr. White, as a matter of fact.
    The scenes in the casino, under artificial lightning, may make them look black or dark charcoal, but the outdoor car scene and especially the torture scenes clearly show its real color. It’s also shown in the one of the dvd’s bonuses, when Mikkelsen is being “interviewed” (for less than a minute !).
    I will put a link tomorrow if you aren’t convinced !
    Thank you for your patience.
    I wish I could

  4. This is a terrific look. I think Zorin looks better than Bond here, as I don’t think the white does Roger’s age any favors. And nice summary of Pierce’s late-Steele suits, Le Chiffre.

    • Thank you Christian. I quite agree with you about Zorin looking better than Moore -also because to me, the white dinner jacket is completely out of place here, in Chantilly. But, regarding the time of the day -end of the afternoon-, I think the dresscode imposed is itself a bit out of place !

    • Completely agree on the appropriateness of the white dinner jacket in this setting. As times have become more informal, the Bond series has occasionnally gone to strained lengths to fit in the seemingly mandatory dinner jacket scene.

  5. Speaking of Mads Mikkelsen and villainous suits, I’d love to hear your take on his suits in the “Hannibal” tv series… Single breasted, peak lapel lounge suits which seem to get darker in color palette as the first series progressed.

  6. In fairness, Le Chiffre’s shirt didn’t just identify him as a villain because it was black, but because it was a fashionable (now dated) example of black tie contrasting with Craig’s more classic (but still modern) ensemble.

    • Allright, but what is fashionable in this shirt besides the fact that it is -presumably…- black ? The collar, the cuffs ? Of course not. The fly front placket and pleated front aren’t particulary dated either, since we find it here in a 1980s outfit, as well as in some of Brosnan’s Bond black tie outfits, and even in a black tie outfit of the 70s in DAF.
      I don’t think velvet dinner suits are typical of the 2000s, neither were they very fashionable in this era. They take their origin in the velvet smoking jacket, which appeared long before the dinner jacket and was already around in the 1850s.
      So I don’t see at all what’s fashionable in the outfit apart from the color of the shirt.

    • I only meant the colour, since black shirts were big in the 2000s.

      For what it’s worth, I quite like Le Chiffre’s black tie rig, especially the velvet jacket. Mads Mikkelsen is one of the few men who can successfully pull off black-on-black.

    • But the velvet jacket and flashy black shirt are a very Fleming-esque way of denoting Le Chiffre as a villain. Compare his kit with Hugo Drax’ in the Moonraker novel.

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