Assignment K: A Double-Breasted Suit by Douglas Hayward

11

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit

Stephen Boyd stars as Philip Scott in the 1968 spy thriller Assignment K, and throughout the film he wears suits by Douglas Hayward. Douglas Hayward tailored Roger Moore’s suits for For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill, and he also made suits for Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, Steve McQueen and many other stars. One of the four suits that Boyd wears in Assignment K is a medium grey worsted flannel double-breasted suit. Worsted flannel is can be lighter in weight than the traditional woollen flannel, but being flannel it still has a fuzzy nap. The serge weave is visible under the nap on a worsted flannel, whilst no weave is visible on a woollen flannel. Worsted flannel has a sleeker look than woollen flannel does, but the nap keeps him warm in West Germany’s winter.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-2

Boyd’s double-breasted suit jacket has the traditional arrangement of six buttons with two to button, and it is tailored with soft shoulders, a clean chest and suppressed waist. The jacket’s peaked lapels are made in the Tautz style, which means they have a horizontal gorge. They look slightly less formal than standard peaked lapels that point up towards the shoulder. The jacket also has double vents, three buttons on the cuffs, flapped pockets and a royal blue lining. The suit trousers’ legs taper to the knee and are straight from the knee to the plain hem. Not much of the the trousers’ legs are seen, but if they match Boyd’s other suit trousers in the film they have frogmouth pockets and are worn with a belt. The front does not have pleats, but it is probably darted.

Assignment-K-Charcoal-Overcoat

Boyd’s sky blue shirt is likely made by Frank Foster. It has a wide spread collar, square double cuffs attached to the sleeves with shirring, rear side pleats, rear darts and a placket stitched close to the centre. Boyd wears two different ties with this suit: the first is solid silver and the second is solid black. Boyd’s shoes are black. Over the suit, Boyd wears a charcoal cashmere overcoat, which he wears over every suit in the film. The coat is three-quarter length to just above the knee. It has three buttons down the front, three buttons on the cuffs, slanted flap pockets and a rear vent. Like the suit jacket, the overcoat also has soft shoulders. With the overcoat, Boyd wears dark grey suede gloves.

Assignment-K-Double-Breasted-Suit-3

Assignment K has a few connections to James Bond besides both using tailor Douglas Hayward. The director of this film Val Guest directed parts of the Casino Royale spoof a year earlier. Assignment K also features the actor Jan Werich, who was originally cast as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. Producer Albert Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert of You Only Live Twice decided that Werich was not right for the villainous role and replaced him with Donald Pleasence.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting post, Matt and indeed a very good example of Hayward’s superb tailoring. The collar style on the shirts doesn’t seem typical Foster. I haven’t seen him produce such a wide spread although I accept that you viewed the shirts closer and the other features you describe do indicate Foster’s work. I was surprised though that you didn’t choose to mark Sir Rog’s 87th birthday on the 14th with a post on something from his extensive wardrobe =)

  2. How about a post on the suits worn by Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson? He’s had an interesting evolution of his style since his first appearance in Iron Man.

  3. The return of double breasted suit in late 60s.
    Mid-late 60s fashion is poor and flat in my opinion; the late 50s/early 60s minimalism was had become boredom and lack of style.
    This suit is part of a begin to a new era,but keep some feature of previous taste,as the slenderness of the lapels.

  4. Am not familiar with this film but even from the stills it is clear that Hayward did an exceptional job making a suit in a very traditional style function in the fashion chaos of the late ’60’s. Not at all difficult to see why he was fit to make suits for Bond. If nothing else it proves that narrow lapels can work on a big man. Stephen Boyd – a great Irish lad and a good solid actor. Taken from us too soon. Not his first spy film – he was great in a small but pivotal role as an Irishman spying for the Nazis in The Man Who Never Was (1956). If one must quibble, Boyd looks more like an ambassador or CEO than a man wishing to blend in but maybe that is right for Assignment K. The blond woman next to Boyd in one of the stills would have been grand Bond girl.

  5. Stephen Boyd always looked good suited-up in his contemporary films, so I’m glad to see this one again.The sleeker D/B style with narrower lapels has always been a favourite of mine…I still have one, so thanks again . Matt I seem to remember a mid-sixties film called “The Oscar” with SB wearing some very stylish “shark-skin” type suits..maybe Sy Dvore? Perhaps you could follow this up. Geo.

    • I’m afraid I don’t know who made it. I had never even heard of Assignment K before you suggested I write about it, and I’ve only written about what I’ve seen in the film. The suits in the film are stellar, indeed.

  6. Matt, I know this isn’t your usual area of expertise, but I’m desperate to get a ski-suit made that looks just like the one Stephen Boyd wore in Assignment K…how could I go about it? Can you suggest anything at all?

    Thanks so much,

    Paul.

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.