Tan Cotton Safari Sports Coat in The Spy Who Loved Me

11

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Safari-Sports-Coat

Cotton is not used much in tailored clothing because it is not a very strong fibre compared to wool, linen or silk. And because it isn’t going to last as long, cotton is typically not worth the tailor’s effort and expense of making a structured suit or sports coat from it. Nevertheless, a cotton jacket is what Roger Moore wears here and it keeps him cool in Cairo.

The jacket is a structured sports coat, likely made by Angelo Roma, tailored with a canvassed front, padded straight shoulders and roped sleeve heads. The wide lapels are cut with a slight fishmouth notch. The coat has swelled edges all over to reinforce the garment. Shoulder straps (often incorrectly called “epaulettes”) bring this into safari jacket territory, though rather than being a safari jacket it’s more of a sports coat with safari jacket features, such as the belted back with a deep single vent, belted sleeves, and patch hip pockets with flaps. The set-in breast pocket also has a flap. The brown buttons are not horn, but probably made from the Tagua nut which comes from the seed of a tropical palm and is similar to ivory. It’s a commonly used material for buttons and goes especially well with the safari jacket look.

The jacket’s foreparts (front pieces) have an usual cut. The front of a jacket is typically cut away and thus curved below the button at the waist. On this jacket, the edges of the foreparts are straight and only have a small curve at the corner. They edges are, however, slightly angled apart for a more dynamic look than a straight front would provide. The very closed foreparts still give a bottom heavy look to the jacket. The cutaway of a typical suit jacket is to provide balance to the open space above the jacket’s fastening button. Closed lower foreparts, and particularly straight lower foreparts, look more balanced on a higher buttoning jacket with three or four buttons.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Safari-Sports-Coat-2

The stone-coloured trousers have a flat front, flared leg, lapped side seams and no belt. Bond’s blue chambray cotton shirt made by Frank Foster has a long point collar and tab cuffs. The tie has stripes in the American right-shoulder-to-left-hip direction in light blue, dark blue, white and red. It is tied with a double-four-in-hand knot, recognizable by it’s long shape. Bond’ socks are beige. The shoes are tobacco suede horse-bit moccasins with a tall heel, probably made by Salvatore Ferragamo. Read more about the horse-bit moccasins here.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-Safari-Sports-Coat-3

James Sherwood’s book Bespoke: The Men’s Style of Savile Row attributes this suit to Douglas Hayward, who made Roger Moore’s suits for his three Bond films in the 1980s. Hayward, however, was not known for making such structured shoulders nor putting such flashy details on his garments. Sherwood even writes, “Doug would have been appalled if the suit got more attention than the man wearing it.” It’s hardly likely that Hayward made this outfit.

Before Roger Moore wore this jacket in The Spy Who Loved Me, he wore it as part of a suit with matching trousers in the 1976 Italian film Street People.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt.
    This outfit is one of my favourites (My top 1 or 2) of the entire Bond series.

    I find the jacket very elegant and the safari features managed to incorporate both elements of contemporary late 1970's fashion and Bonds British military heritage. The clothes which accompany it also complement the jacket well.
    Because of the sleeve belts (similar to what you see on a traditionally British styled trench coat) and epaulettes I had considered the possibility that this might have been a Burberry sports coat of the time but obviously this isn't the case.

    The breast pocket flap (which also appears on the Hunt suit in Moonraker) was a Cyril Castle/Roger Moore staple from before Bond. 2 suits Moore wore in the colour Saint series, as well as a herringbone tweed jacket, also featured breast flap pockets.

    I note that as you have added a category to the blog for safari jackets so you most likely intend featuring the other clothes Moore wore which fall into this category. I can predict the usual predictably negative (and unjustified) comments from some quarters which will ignore completely the distinctive British heritage of these garments. In fact, Moore’s wardrobe, in my opinion, most fittingly showcases Bond’s pedigree and this lack of connection to this pedigree is what is behind my criticism of other Bond actors but probably a lot of this is simply that it was Moore as Bond whom I first saw and this was my introduction to the character.

    It is only in this movie and it’s successor, Moonraker, that I can recall Bond wearing striped ties with the stripe in the American direction (which kind of contradicts with some of my previous comments above!). Why do you think this was so?

    Also, do you think these are the same trousers he wears with the navy blazer later in the Sardinia part of the movie or another pair? I think the others are a lighter “off white” shade and probably not.

    Incidentally, the townhouse featured in these scenes in Cairo (Fekkesh’s apartment) is called the Gayer Anderson Museum and is attached to the Ibn Al Tulun Mosque. Both are open to the public and it was very interesting for a long-time Bond fan to go onto the rooftop where the fight with the assassin took place, when I visited Egypt some years back.

  2. Whilst safari jackets have a distince British heritage, Roger Moore's safari jackets in the Bond films are variations on the classics. I could understand if people don't like them because they aren't traditional, but most of the complaints are unwarranted. It's ridiculous to compare Moore's safari jackets to leisure suits as many have. The closest are the more casual shirt jackets he wears (3 of them). In the Sea Wolves, which takes place in India during WWII, Roger Moore wears a proper safari jacket. He also wore proper safari jackets in The Saint and The Persuaders.

    The trousers worn with the blazer are not the same. You're right, those trousers are practically white. The legs on those trousers are even wider and are more like traditional sailors' trousers.

    I don't know the reason for the direction of the stripes. The ties from Moonraker may have had French or Italian origins due to filming locations. The "American direction" as I stated isn't limited to America, but it's what Brooks Brothers did with their striped ties to differential their ties from the originals in England. I don't have an explanation for this tie. But I'm sure it's not American.

  3. Tangentially, having read "Carte Blanche", some of Deaver´s sugggestions as far as products a modern Bond would use strike me as odd: The current Bond drives an ostentatious car (Bentley Continental Gt), wears off the rack Canali suits (not that bad a choice as Canali probably represents the best value RTW in my opinion,but shouldn´t Bond owe himself bespoke at that price level), Oakley sunglasses and other stuff.
    Still, while maybe nice, all that might be about as far away from the spirit of the literary Bond as one could get, or am I missing something.
    Would be great to hear your take on this,Matt.
    Kind regards,
    Marcelo Diez

  4. The Bentley makes sense, considering that's what Fleming's Bond drove, and it still costs a lot less than the Aston Martin in the movies. Canali suits are great, but they have a very strong Italian silhouette. Deaver might have been influenced by the choice for Brioni in the films, though Brioni has a more English influenced-style than Canali. A bespoke suit would cost at least twice as much as a Canali. I would have expected a more British choice for Bond, even something cheaper like Hackett.

  5. I've always liked the Half Norfolk look but jackets like that are difficult to find OTR. I was wondering, Matt, If you could shed any light on the origin or functionality of the back belt? I know it evolved from a full belt but does it serve any purpose such as pinching the waste in more? Thanks.

  6. Matt,

    Re; the safari jackets and the 3 he wears as shirts, (as opposed to this sportscoat and the very definitely safari styled one from The Man With The Golden Gun) i've never been sure of what category these fit as they are worn as a shirt – without an under vest etc – but are more of a jacket length. Moore's first one, from Golden Gun also, he wears with a paler shade of trousers but the other ones (Moonraker and Octopussy) appear to be worn with matching trousers, making them presumably safari suits of sort. Would these have been tailored, in your opinion by Cyril Castle or by Frank Foster? Foster could do the shirt I'm sure but not, i think the matching trousers and It's a stretch to imagine one doing one garment and another the other although it's not impossible.

    I agree re the leisure suit comments. this is simply igonrance of the items in question. I always liked them and as they're not easy to come by I got one made in cotton with matching trousers but I had to get a tailor to do the trousers and my wife knows a dressmaker who can make an item from photos and she copied a Bond shirt/jacket one for me. I wore it in India last year and the Indians were very complimentary.

    The Persuaders safari jacket always intrigued me. What material do you think it is? It looked like a kind of suede almost (brushed cotton?) but he wears it mostly as a shirt without, apparently, any undergarment (except in one episode where he has a cotton polo neck sweater underneath it). It was very well made. Castle again, presumably.

    Finally, if one wanted to get a replica of this (TSWLM)sports jacket made, (not easy I'd say) would you know what material would be the nearest from currently available ranges?

  7. I had forgotten about this interesting connection
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074494/.

    This low budget Italian movie was released in 1976 and filmed, most likely, less than a year prior to commencement of principal photography on “The Spy Who Loved Me”. In the same way as Connery’s clothing in “Woman of Straw” being subsequently recycled in “Goldfinger”, this jacket, or a very close replica (you may be able to definitively confirm this) appears in scenes filmed in San Francisco in this movie. In this case it is as part of a 2 piece tan suit with matching trousers. Could it be that the jacket was then used as a sports coat with cream/stone trousers for the Bond movie? Furthermore, I feel this may not be the work of the tailor Angelo. After all, as you have already noted, other clothing from both “TSWLM” and “Moonraker” came courtesy of Nathans and Bermans etc. I have a residual feeling, given its features, that this could be the work of Burberry, for example.

  8. Normally I wouldn’t care too much for safari type jackets, But I think this one is quite nice. I think it’s because the safari “elements” are smaller and more understated. The shoulder straps in particular don’t flop around and raise up like many do and are quite close to the shoulders, helping them to blend in. This jacket reminds me allot of the suit worn by actor Paul Freeman in raiders of the lost ark. I’m not sure how I feel about the belted sleeves, but I think if the 70s lapel proportions were toned down I could actually pull this off in a dry hot climate without looking ridiculous. One thing I always liked about Moore was that even if some of his costumes had eccentric elements, he could pull them off with his sheer will and by pairing colors elegantly.

  9. Hi Matt, thanks again for a wonderful blog. Here in the UK, as a form of tribute, the Moore Bond films are being played one each night. As aspects such as gadgets age with time one of the more enduring features of the films are the suits and outfits, many of which shame present day examples. I think it worth mentioning that, of all the Bonds, Moore looked best in a suit – he seemed to have proportions that show the clothing at its best but without it taking over – it is always seen as an adjunct to the character rather than an overwhelming aspect. Moore always seemed to move with an unmatched elegance, Connery and Lazenby were athletic but Moore projects an almost meditative quality. On safari jackets it is probably worth mentioning the heritage – that they evolved from British military field jackets lightened by using different forms of woolen cloth. Thanks again.

  10. What material would you guess/think the trousers are made of? Could it me cotton gabardine, wool gabardine, tropical wool or linen?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.