Kamal Khan’s Olive Safari Suit

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Roger Moore’s James Bond is not the only character in the Bond series who wears a safari suit. Kamal Khan, played by Louis Jourdan in Octopussy, wears one of the most beautiful examples in the series in the form of matching olive green shirt-jacket and trousers that fit in perfectly amongst the colours of the jungle. Khan wears olive green to contrast with Bond’s tan safari suit in the same scene, but both are classic colours for safari suits. The suit is likely made of a linen blend.

Khan’s bush shirt-jacket has a traditional military cut and style with four brown leather-covered buttons closely spaced down the front with a belt around the waist between the third and fourth buttons, and a flared skirt. This piece is called a shirt-jacket because it is constructed like a shirt but worn untucked like a jacket. Because it has a shirt construction it can be worn without anything underneath, as Khan wears his. Frank Foster possibly made this safari jacket, since he made Moore’s safari jacket as well as other shirts for Jourdan to wear in Octopussy.

The shirt has a two-piece point collar, two patch breast pockets with straight non-buttoning flaps and mitred lower corners, and two square bellows pockets on the hips with straight non-buttoning flaps. The set-in sleeves have cuffs that fasten with a single button hidden with a fly and are attached to the sleeves with pleats. The belt fastens in front with a brown leather buckle. The back of Khan’s bush shirt-jacket is detailed with an action back of bi-swing shoulder pleats. These pleats that extend from the top of the shoulder down to the top of belt’s loops at the waist provide an ease of movement for shooting, which are useful of Khan’s “Most Dangerous Game” type of safari.

Not much of Khan’s bush trousers can be seen, but they are made of the same material that the shirt-jacket is made of and have medium-width straight legs with plain hems.

Khan’s shoes are medium brown suede with double soles. Though not much of them is seen, they are likely to be chukka boots.

Rather than the classic stiff pith helmet, Khan wears a tan soft cotton fabric safari hat with his safari suit. If Bond wore a hat with his safari clothes it would come across as purely costume, but Khan can pull off the full bush look with the hat because he is the leader of this hunt for Bond. The crown has a dent at the top, a pinch in front and a self-ribbon at the base. The brim is close to three inches wide and is turned down at the front and rolled up at the back. The hat lacks a chin strap.

43 COMMENTS

  1. I think these days it’s the matching of the jacket and the trousers that people hate with the Safari suit the most. Like a matching track suit really, I have a cotton shirt-jacket in steel grey that looks Safari like, if I wore steel grey matching chinos, people would think I’d flipped (even though it wouldn’t look that bad), with navy trousers or black, even tan coloured trousers it looks quite smart. What do you think Matt ?

  2. This is the message written by Roger Moore when Louis Jordan passed away:
    “Very sad to hear Louis Jourdan has died. Many happy memories of filming Octopussy together”.
    I think that Moore and Jordan were happy to work togheter.

  3. I just watched this movie again (probably the Bond I have seen the most, going back to its theatrical release when I was 11), and the wardrobe, everyone’s wardrobe, really is terrific. Yes, even the clown disguise (over which, i have never understood the hate). And Kamal Khan is surely one of the best-dressed villains. I agree with Ryan that the matching colors may generate some frowns today, but so what? This looks good and appropriate for a tiger hunt.

    • I agree, its camouflage.
      Bond wears the tan suit because he’s about to crawl around outside the balcony of a tan coloured building. Same thing.

      Admittedly green camouflage when you’re riding a 20 foot grey Indian elephant is somewhat unnecessary. But it’s tradition.

    • Are you serious, you don’t understand the hate for James Bond, cold-hearted assassin and secret agent, known for impeccable taste in clothing, accessories, cars, fine wine and dining, in disguising himself as a circus clown? (Magically applying the face paint in seconds). Or foiling the bad guys by swiftly donning a conveniently empty gorilla suit – a sad attempt at humour ripped off the Pink Panther series and trotted out again the same year in the COMEDY Trading Places? You don’t get the distaste for James Bond, once the central character in admittedly escapist and fanciful but originally (somewhat) serious adult action adventure films evading the tiger hunt by swinging on ropes through trees giving a Tarzan yell and taming said tiger with a Barbara Woodhouse-style “SIT!”?
      Cos I certainly do. Scenes like these are what almost killed the series off for good.

    • Rod, I’m with you on everything there but the clown suit. The other things are poor jokes, but there’s nothing made funny about Bond in a clown suit. I take Christian’s side there.

    • Leaving aside the suspension of disbelief required for him to perfectly replicate the makeup etc in IIRC a very short amount of time, there’s just something undignified about Bond dressed up as a clown. And it’s something that I doubt would have ever passed through Fleming’s mind!

    • “Dignified” isn’t quite the right word to describe Fleming’s Bond either. While I can’t say what Fleming’s Bond would have done in this situation (he wouldn’t have machine-gunned his way through like Brosnan’s Bond would have), I think the clown is a fitting symbol for Bond. Clowns generally try to entertain (which was certainly the intention of Fleming’s stories), but many have a deep fear of clowns because they also represent death. Because of this, I think the clown disguise works very well for Bond, especially for Moore’s Bond.

  4. Khan’s safari suit is probably the best of the series. Since this style has been coming back into play, it’s pretty relevant as well. I suspect we’ll even see the return of the matching shirt and trousers look in the next couple of years.

  5. @Rod

    -As far as “Octopussy” is concerned I second your remarks. Even if not sartorially the film itself comes very, very close to the series’ nadir. In comparison Connery’s NSNA, although an 80’s remake of TB, is the much better film.

  6. I think it’s entirely possible to disappear in to outer cyberspace and return to this blog and the SAME old nonsense is being trotted out; “Moore nearly killed off the series” “Octopussy/Moonraker/Golden Gun (whichever movie fits with the current rehash of the same rancid theme) was the series’ nadir”. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. FACT is; this trend towards slapstick began pre-Moore (how very inconvenient) in Diamonds and carried on til the mid 1980’s because it suited the zeitgeist and far from killing the series off, audiences obviously loved Moore’s light hearted interpretation of the character given the box office returns and it was by mutual consent that after starring in the longest run of Bond movies that he shook hands with his friend Cubby and walked graciously away from the role in December 1985.

    • “Moore nearly killed off the series”

      No one said that, no one blamed Moore in person. Just reread the comments. I don’t even know at whom I would have to point at – the author of the script, the director, the producer or the zeitgeist. It’s only that I (and perhaps some others, too) think that at the time in question Bond actually was not what the character – in my book – is supposed to be. And you are right – it also already began with “Diamonds”.
      One could go on and go on and go on with this ad infinitum – but quite frankly I would prefer to restrict it to Bond’s clothes. And I repeat what I have already stated elsewhere – “Octopussy” and the TMWTGG are – all in all – from a sartorial point of view quite nice to watch.

  7. Why do you call it nonsense?
    Box office receipts might have been good but the quality of the films in the period you mention (and yes I agree DAF deserves its place among the worst offenders regarding ridiculous plot and attempts at humour) were poor in comparison what came before and after.
    DAF was the first Bond I saw in a cinema and I thought it was great. I was 7! Some time later I was given several books and came to much prefer the character of Bond and the plots from (most of) the books to those of the films being made at the time. With few exceptions (TSWLM?), those films which have stayed close to the source material or at least the Essence of the literary Bond have been much the better in the series.

  8. As David said, it’s amazing what can transpire in cyberspace in a short period of time. Comment sections do seem the place where inhibitions are lost. My better nature tells me to ignore the trolls, but my litigator side won’t let me. To compromise and to be brief as the clown suit is not the subject here (Khan’s fine safari suit was, as is Octopussy’s fine sartorial sense generally), to answer the question directly asked of me and directed at Rod alone: no, I don’t get it. Within the context of the story, the clown suit is the perfect disguise in an extended sequence played quite straight; indeed, the chase to defuse the bomb is one of the best extended sequences in the series with an urgency and sincere performance from Moore that work well together. Perhaps you have a better and more dramatic resolution, but this is what the screenwriters came up with and I accept it on its own terms. Rod’s comments above betray a distaste for many of the Bond movies (the complaints identify traits in the movies that can be seen going back to 1964, and include most of the movies through 2002). There is a simple solution for this – don’t watch the movies you don’t like. There is a Bond film for most preferences in tone (for the record, FYEO, FRWL, Spy, and OHMSS are my favorites, with CR/SF, and TB/OP/MR/YOLT always endlessly watchable).

    Speaking of reviews, if you look at the reviews of the first two movies, contemporary reviewers thought them as ludicrous as the later movies were accused of being. Further, take a look at the Variety and New York Times contemporary reviews of the 1977-1983 Bond movies – they are pretty universally positive. In fact, the NYT though Moonraker to be, along with Goldfinger, the best of the lot. Octopussy in particular was very well-received, with Leonard Malten reflecting the prevailing opinion of 1983 that it was the best Bond movie in ages (“what would summer be, without James Bond” said another reviewer). Now, reputations rise and fall as times change and movies are viewed again, but the movies were received quite well at the time they were released, to say nothing of the worldwide box-office grosses that were the largest or near the largest in the world in 1971, 1973, 1977, 1981 (outgrossing Raiders of the Lost Ark outside the USA) and 1983. So in some sense, audiences and critics were in some agreement.

    I will no further comment on this tiresome debate as these internet comment back and forth have lives of their own.

    Back to the subject that brings us to this blog, I have to agree that Octopussy and Golden Gun (to my surprise!) are wonderful on the wardrobes. Indeed, my recent viewing of GG has, along with this blog and my fellow regulars, caused me to revise my opinion of the clothing in that movie. Despite the generally muddy cinematography, the clothing are very nice and I must withdraw negative comments I have made in past years to some of the clothing featured in that film.

    • I must say that that analysis amounts to probably the best rebuttal of the Moore/escapist Bond critics which I’ve read on this blog in a long time. Will it stop the same myopic responses? Sadly not if some of the comments which followed it are anything to go by. If the topic were anything remotely serious I’d despair by now but, once again, well done!

  9. It’s repetitive and by now boring and it’s this repetition of an idea that there is a “correct” or “authentic” cinematic interpretation of the character along the lines of Connery, Craig etc and that other interpretations are “incorrect” (and that is the clear trend of the argument) which I find nonsensical. From Goldfinger onwards the cinematic Bond parted company with the literary character (though flashes came through from time to time) and when attempts were made to produce a movie in this vein; Licence to Kill, the result didn’t impress moviegoers. Box office returns didn’t match previous outings. I personally found most of the earlier Bond movies highly entertaining and would prefer to watch an entertaining version of Bond than a sour faced, humourless assassin along the lines of Dalton or Craig but naturally not everyone feels that way. Given the rather dark zeitgeist we are experiencing currently, an escapist 70’s or 80’s Bond would be most welcome for some of us. If all of us here just accepted that their point of view is subjective rather than objective, as seems to be implied it’d be more reasonable. It’s the constant dismissal of nonsensical.

  10. David, “Given the rather dark zeitgeist we are experiencing currently, an escapist 70’s or 80’s Bond would be most welcome for some of us. ” Count me in! What I can’t understand is that the ’70’s were also a dark and difficult period, and the lighter Bond movies provided a welcome distraction from the litany of Vietnam, Watergate, plane hijackings, stagflation, etc. Why we can’t have that same distraction now with a lighter, funnier (and better-dressed) Bond I will never understand.

  11. I really wonder what you mean by the “dark and gritty” Daniel Craig performance. CR and QoS both were as entertaining as a Bond film can be. And they contain all you – i.e. the escapists – are looking for: Nice locations and landscapes, beautiful (youthful!) women and yes – humour. But it’s not the in-the-face-humour of certain Bond films but a more subtle one. It’s far from being sour and gritty and Bond still is quite well-dressed.

    So what is the point of your complaints? One thing is for sure: If you are fond of a Bond in an Austin Power style than Craig isn’t your man. But that’s not exactly news. Perhaps the answer simply is that you guys are incurable nostalgics.

    • Renard,
      Your Austin Powers comment is out of place in a blog devoted to things sartorial – presumably everybody here cares about seeing a well-dressed Bond on the screen, regardless of the actor playing him. My complaint is fundamentally this: Craig’s Bond is not in the least aspirational – he is a bitter and angry man, not particularly sophisticated, and certainly not someone any sane man might wish to be, even in a fantasy. Furthermore, he is expensively dressed but has no natural grace or elegance, unlike most of the previous Bonds.
      Bond used to be the ultimate male fantasy, while, most of the time, Craig is a sour-faced Bourne-wannabe. Look at the difference between Bond’s apartment in LALD and Spectre – in the former, we see the apartment of a man of taste who enjoys the finer things of life. Craig, on the other hand, hadn’t even bothered to put up pictures or decorate his apartment, presumably because he was too busy brooding.

    • Dan,

      Don’t be so hard on Craig. After all, we still haven’t seen his coffee machine of choice !

  12. PS: if we’re really serious about this “authenticity” thing, then Craig, from appearance, is the least appropriate incarnation of the literary character in over 50 years of cinematic outings.

    • @Dan Ippolito
      “…regardless of the actor playing him.”

      Sorry, I don’t buy that. As anybody who comments regularly here knows quite well it is never unbiased.

    • Without wishing to keep this extremely threadbare line of “debate” going; it’s not at all “fair” to equate Moore and Craig in thisa regard. Indeed, from appearance, Moore, facially, is not particularly dissimilar to Fleming’s description of the character whereas Craig is far away from the description of the character’s apperance; the furthest away of all the actors to have played him. Bond should be handsome; something all the previous actors to Craig have been. From apperance (if not sartorially), Dalton may be the closest to the Bond described in the books but I guess, no matter what evidence is presented to yourself and a handful of other’s on this blog, the idea that Craig is the best Bond ever. This is why the “debate” is so tired now.

  13. The clown suit. In a circus.

    Remember when Bond dressed as a scientist to sneak in to Prof. Dr. Metz’ lab?

    Remember when he killed a guard and donned his radiation suit to get to Dr. No’s reactor?

    Remember when Bond dressed as an astronaut to board Blofeld’s rocket in Japan?

    Remember when he dressed as a tweedy heraldry expert to infiltrate Blofeld’s alpine hideout?

    Remember when Bond dressed as a Moonraker pilot to infiltrate Drax’s space station?

    Remember when Bond had a seagull on his head to sneak under the surface of the water?

    Or ditto with a crocodile?

    Remember when he dressed as a horse trainer and then a Central American Colonel to sabotage a spy plane?

    Remember when he stole Mischka’s red shirt and waistcoat to appear to be one of the Octopussy circus train crew?

    That.

  14. Getting back to the main subject here.
    It’s probably one of the best safari suits of the series. I like Moore’s one in Octopussy too, but somehow, Jourdan seems to look better in it -probably because he had an actual waist.
    I also thought Moore would have looked a bit better in the green color Jourdan is wearing. Same for Jourdan in light tan. But no camouflage for Moore then.

    I reviewed some Moore’s movies after him passing away and spent quite an agreable time ! (LALD, Octopussy and FYEO, the latter being probably the ond I watched the most, since I had it in VHS).
    Octopussy and FYEO really feature Moore’s best outfits by a long shot.
    And the clown scene was really Moore’s best dramatic moment -too bad they were as rare. Without him dressed as a clown the scene would lost a lot of its tension.
    Jourdan is also impeccably dressed. Being French my guess would be a French tailor, but I can’t go any further.
    I still prefer his suits and sport coats to his non-Western attire. The latter being verynice, but not very flattering to his slight frame.

    How about a poll for the best dressed Bond villain ? Between Largo, Khan, Zorin… this could be interesting.

  15. I have to agree with David in that Bond is described as tall, slim athletic, with dark hair and grey blue eyes. He is also described as having strong chiseled features. Even though Daniel Craig is ruggedly handsome, he lacks the classic looks Bond is surposed to have. Going by Fleming’s vision of the character.

    • Perhaps, that certainly fits my mental image of Bond in the books, but then Connery has brown eyes not blue and needed a toupee. So he didn’t fit Fleming’s description either. I think the audience is just meant to take a deep breath and accept whoever is presented as the lead and ignore all previous interpretations.

      Side note: some Tarzans were blonde (Denny Miller), some dark (Johnny Weissmuller), some over 40 and stick thin (Jock Mahoney), some muscled male models (Miles O’Keefe), long haired with grunting dialogue (Christophe Lambert), others bequiffed, verbose Americans (Gordon Scott). Perhaps because there was no internet then, we didn’t hear about how this might have rubbed fans of the novels the wrong way but they made 30+ films and no-one seemed to mind.

      This is off topic, sorry.

      Actually, Octopussy, Tarzan…no it’s not ☺️

  16. “Bond should be handsome; something all the previous actors to Craig have been.”

    -I really ask myself how you can possibly judge that being not a woman. I am quite sure that Craig has a lot of female admirers and they would not agree with your statement. There is no “official” standard beauty would be to judge by. And the literary Bond appears to be a kind of “dark beauty” (scarred face etc.) so Fleming also did not think of him as a “classic male beauty”.

    “This is why the “debate” is so tired now.”

    -Yes, indeed it is unbearably tired because what lies beneath is so crude: “Moore is the best Bond and Craig the worst”. “Moore is the only Bond with an ‘innate sense of style’” (wow!) …and all the others are slouchs, I suppose (?)

    Closure (as far as I am concerned).

    • @Dan Gale
      “This is off topic, sorry. Actually, Octopussy, Tarzan…no it’s not ☺️”

      -Exactly! In “Octopussy” there is another blond Tarzan – one over fifty camouflaged in a safari outfit 🙂

    • Renard, I have to ask why you think a woman’s opinion is required to judge male beauty. That’s discounting the fact that A. not all men are straight and B. that straight men like me are secure enough in their sexuality/masculinity to be able to say, hey, that guy is pretty good looking. 😉

      Though I disagree with David on many things, as Daniel Craig is my favourite James Bond, I think you’re misunderstanding him. Roger Moore /did/ pay attention to his clothing more than any other Bond actor. That’s not just opinion, that’s on record. He brought his own tailors and shirtmakers to the series and designed his own wardrobe for The Saint and The Persuaders. None of the other Bond actors put that much attention into their appearance on screen, with the possible exception of Daniel Craig saying that he wanted his clothing tighter. Plus, I’d argue Moore had the best fitting clothing alongside Sean Connery, since they both had bespoke tailors making their Bond clothing. I didn’t read that as David calling the others total slouches in the style department.

    • Jovan – according to Roger Moore’s autobiography, the credit that he designed his own clothes is not “quite true.” Moore wrotes that he was on the Board of the milling company, “lent his name to the company and took an interest in textiles and fabrics, in exchange for a rather nice remuneration.” He goes in that the company offered to outfit him for any films and TV shows. He took them up in it for The Persuaders, and “made a few comments about the type of clothese (Moore) thought Brett Sinclair would wear. That secured (Moore) the credit.” Roger Moore, My Word Is My Bond, Michael O’Mara Books Ltd., London 2009, p. 203.

    • Moore brought in his own tailor and shirtmaker for The Persuaders and later for Bond. That’s more than any other Bond actor has done, though Craig had a a fair amount of say in the clothes of his last two Bond films.

  17. One addition (just to avoid misunderstandings): In my book Connery (not Craig) is the best Bond (with regard both to acting and matters sartorial).

    • A man has to be neither a woman or homosexual to recognise whether another man is handsome or not. To my eye, all the actors prior to Craig were handsome, albeit in different ways. Whether or not Craig appeals to women (as he surely does) is an entirely different matter. Mick Jagger, for example, appealed to a lot of women and he’s far from handsome.

      As for innate style; I would say that both Brosnan and Moore had this. The rest not so much. As for the concept of “best”, well this is clearly subjective. I’ve no quarrel with anyone favouring other Bonds over my favourite (any other stance would be immature) but I will defend any actor whom I admire in a role when incorrect assertions are advanced. There is nothing “crude” in my analysis either. All my points of view have a valid basis.

    • @Jovan Gauthier

      “Roger Moore /did/ pay attention to his clothing more than any other Bond actor. That’s not just opinion, that’s on record.”

      -My point is that this has nothing to do with having an “innate sense of style” – it was simply for reasons of business as Christian has pointed out (Moore got a fee).

  18. To be clear, I am simply forwarding what Moore wrote in his autobio. People can interpret his words and his style without my unoffered opinion.

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