Bond Wardrobe Review 11: Moonraker (1979)


Bond Breaks His Tailor’s Heart

Roger Moore as James Bond
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Costume designer: Jacques Fonteray
Wardrobe mistress: Colette Baudot
Wardrobe master: Jean Zay
Tailoring: Angelo Roma
Shirts: Frank Foster
Footwear: Ferragamo


Moonraker continues the overly trendy 1970s styles from The Spy Who Loved Me but frames them in more classic ways. Angelo Roma continued making the suits with the same wide lapels and wide flared trousers yet superb fit, and Frank Foster again made the shirts with long point collars and Lapidus tab cuffs.

Naturally the ties are wide to follow the wide lapels and long collar points. These fashion points again dominate this film’s style, but they are a little less distracting this time. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve grown accustomed to them. There are many more tailored outfits in Moonraker, so the wardrobe changes stand out more than the repeated ’70s fashion details.

Moonraker’s looks may be more classic than in the previous film, but many of them look a bit old-fashioned or outdated beyond the 1970s cuts and details. Still, there are plenty of inspirational looks.

Formal Wear

James Bond’s dinner suit in The Spy Who Loved Me serves as the basis for the Moonraker suit. While the suit in the former film could possibly be midnight blue, the suit in Moonraker is certainly black. The cloth is smooth and shiny, suggesting mohair, which would be the most comfortable choice in warm Rio de Janeiro.

The Moonraker dinner suit is made in the same classic double-breasted style as in the previous film. Since Bond does not carry a gun in Moonraker, the double-breasted fastening does not get in the way of Bond drawing his weapon.

Frank Foster made a more classically Bondian evening shirt for Moonraker, in white cotton voile with a pleated front, white mother of pearl buttons and cocktail cuffs—the last time Bond would wear cocktail cuffs until Spectre revived them in 2015. This shirt and the shirt in The Man with the Golden Gun are the only ones with a pleated front and cocktail cuffs, and I think it’s a wonderful combination. The bow tie is again a classic width rather than excessively wide, but it looks like it was adjusted to be longer for Moonraker, so it looks a little more balanced with the rest of the outfit.

Bond wears this outfit at night for Carnival festivities, as well as the morning after sans bow tie for some investigating on Sugarloaf Mountain. Wearing the dinner suit the following morning tells us that Bond did not return to his hotel that evening, but I think the main purpose is likely to get more screen time of Bond in a dinner suit.

The outfit otherwise does not make sense in this context, and it deprives us of a better outfit for the occasion. It’s especially bad that Bond wears his shirt collar outside of the jacket’s collar, Saturday Night Fever style. If Bond hadn’t already worn his blue blazers so much in this film, it would have been the perfect opportunity for Bond to wear a blazer with an open-neck shirt like Jaws does. A casual blouson would have been a nice choice as well.

Lounge Suits

Bond enters M’s office wearing an elegant three-piece suit—it’s Moore’s first three-piece suit as Bond and the only three-piece suit of his four 1970s Bond films. Three-piece suits saw a revival in the 1970s, so it’s a surprise Moore didn’t wear more of them at the time. The suit has a very closely space pinstripe, which creates a semi-solid effect.

The ecru silk or Sea Island cotton shirt is an elegant complement to the suit, while the grey striped tie is an elegant choice. The low-contrast outfit is flattering to Moore’s complexion, but it lacks some excitement. Overall the outfit is effective, but not quite as memorable as it could have been.

For a brief hunting scene at Drax’s estate, Bond wears a brown Donegal tweed suit. The suit is brown because it’s a traditional country suit, not because it’s a 1970s suit. It has traditional country details like hacking pockets, a flapped breast pocket and elbow patches. He wears it with an ecru shirt and a brown knitted tie. It’s one of Moore’s more classically Bondian outfits, and I can picture Sean Connery’s Bond dressing like this.

He’s perfectly dressed for a hunt, yet he only stopped to thank Drax for his hospitality. He is dressed perfectly for the setting, but it doesn’t quite make sense for him to wear this tweed suit if he has only dressed to depart the château.

The best suit of the film is from Bond’s arrival in Venice. This light grey silk dupioni suit continues Bond’s light grey suit legacy that started in Dr. No, but in silk it adds an extra level of luxury. He wears it with an ecru shirt, possibly in luxurious silk or Sea Island cotton. The printed dark navy tie isn’t exactly classic Bond, but it’s subtle enough that it looks appropriate for the character. It’s a shame that numerous examples of this outfit were ruined when the Bondola tipped Roger Moore into the water because this must have been the most expensive suit of the film due to the silk.

Moonraker Cream Suit

The cream suit is another successful suit, and it’s a particularly elegant choice for a relaxed look when Bond arrives in Rio. It stands out as one of the few one-button suits in the series. Bond wears it with a pale brown shirt that looks nice against the cream suit as well as against Moore’s tan.

This is the first time Bond wears a suit without a tie, but the tie is not missed because the suit is a casual one. The suit’s wide 1970s lapels look better without a tie because, in this case, no tie is better than a wide tie. Unfortunately to make up for the lack of a tie, Bond wears a pocket square that matches the shirt. A complementary pocket square would have been a better choice.

Blue Blazers

Moonraker is the Bond film of the blue blazer, with two different blazers worn a total of three different ways. Bond begins the film in a heavy French navy double-breasted blazer. It would have been a wonderful blazer if it had the classic peaked lapels, but its wide notched lapels let it down. Perhaps the wide notched lapels make it more pea coat-like, but they also make it look more dated and less elegant than wide peaked lapels would.

Bond wears wears the blazer with a lightweight pale beige polo neck and grey flannel trousers for an elegant but casual look. The polo neck is a 1970s style, but it has a sophisticated look too.

The dark navy single-breasted hopsack blazer returns from The Spy Who Loved Me, almost identical except without a ticket pocket. While this is an excellent blazer, his two outfits featuring this blazer aren’t quite as striking as the outfit he wears in The Spy Who Loved Me. When Bond wears this to meet Drax he wears light fawn cavalry twill trousers, a blue voile shirt and a burgundy and navy striped tie.

The combination is classic and easy to wear, but it lacks the memorable striped shirt of the previous film as well as the elegant minimalism of Connery’s blazer style. The continental-style striped tie isn’t as Bondian as a British repp stripe, and it would have been a good opportunity to revive the Royal Navy regimental tie. Bond overall looks like an average travelling businessman in this outfit.

Later in Venice he wears this blazer again but with an ecru shirt, tan trousers and a more flamboyant fancy striped tie. The added warmth in the shirt and trousers looks good in the Venetian surroundings, but the ecru shirt does not pair quite as nicely with the blazer as the blue shirt does. The tie is one of the worst of the series, with an unpleasant combination of purple, magenta, pink and green. It’s one of Bond’s worst pieces of 1970s fashion.

Casual Attire

Moonraker puts Bond in just a couple casual looks. The first is an all-black sneaky look that Bond wears twice in the film. It’s nice when Bond reuses looks as it adds an element of realism to the wardrobe. This outfit consists of a black jersey half-zip shirt from Frank Foster with a large point collar and flared trousers without pockets. Like the black outfit in The Spy Who Loved Me, this one is superb in concept but is let down by the 1970s details. The shirt, however, is an interesting design and elevates the look, despite it being a popular 1970s style.

A safari suit is the second casual look of the film. This is made up of a pale taupe cotton drill shirt-jacket made by Frank Foster—worn as a shirt—and trousers. A safari suit is practical and stylish in the jungle, whether it’s the 1970s or any other decade. This is an almost perfect look, but it’s let down by leather loafers, which are completely inappropriate in the jungle. Bond needed a pair of more rugged shoes or boots to suit his mission.

Mission Gear

One of Moore’s many disguises as James Bond comes in the form of a poncho and sombrero as he rides a horse to a secret field office. Moore doesn’t look half bad in this outfit, however, it is mostly pointless as a disguise. I don’t think a disguise is necessary in this scene, but I’m not exactly sure what would be a better choice here.

The yellow space suit is the more necessary disguise in this film. If Bond had to go into space, he had to dress the part. Drax and Jaws were the only characters who didn’t seem to need a space suit. As a costuming choice, the yellow suits stand out from the space station setting. It’s a bit of a shame that Bond has to spend the climax of the film wearing this space suit and not looking as much like James Bond as he should. The space sequence is disappointing from more than a costuming perspective, and the costumes work as well as they can.

Other Characters

Hugo Drax is a well-dressed villain, particularly in his double-breasted, three-piece black flannel chalk stripe suit. It’s an elegant and old-fashioned look that also is inspired by how the character dresses in Ian Fleming’s Moonraker novel. His hunting suit and cape is a fascinating look too, and he also successfully revives Blofeld’s Mao suits for his most villainous looks.

Well Done, James

Moonraker revives the three-piece suit for the M’s office scenes, previously done in Thunderball and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It established a trend for how Bond dresses for the office in seven of the next eight films.

The brown tweed suit and the grey silk suit provide some of the film’s most elegant and classic looks while having to make the best of 1970s fashions. The cut of the suit jackets and blazers is nevertheless a very elegant one and makes Roger Moore look like a strong James Bond.

The safari suit is one of Moore’s best, combining the traditional safari suit with 1970s fashions. The safari suit top mainly differs from the traditional version by lacking a belt. I only see this as point in favour of Moore’s version because a belt can be cumbersome and looks less streamlined.

Not Perfected Yet

Enough was said about the 1970s fashions in the review for The Spy Who Loved Me, but the issue persists in Moonraker. Bond could not look as old-fashioned as M does. He needs to always look current, but never too trendy.

Where Moonraker goes the most wrong is in the striped ties with the single-breasted blazer. The tie when Bond meets Drax is likely French or Italian. The stripes are rather bold for Bond and don’t have the classic British elegance of a regimental stripe. However, that tie is not as bad as the striped tie in Venice. The multiple bright colours, including a rare instance of Bond wearing purple, are too flashy and do not suit the character at all.

The safari suit comes so close to being a perfect look, and Moore had to ruin it by wearing loafers into the jungle. Bond is wearing the safari suit as a practical garment, not a fashion piece, but Moore’s taste for loafers couldn’t be denied.


If Moore was still playing Simon Templar a decade later, this is how he would have dressed. The outfits in Moonraker—particularly the blazers, polo neck, striped suit, tweed suit with a flapped breast pocket and safari suit—have more in common with Moore’s clothes in The Saint than they do with anything Bond wore before Moore took over the role. Some of these looks are still appropriate for Bond, but the wardrobe is Moore in his comfort zone, for better or worse.

No outfit is perfect exactly the way it is. I think the wardrobe is comparable to Diamonds Are Forever, featuring a number of classic concepts and brilliant ideas, a few unforgivable missteps and too much 1970s influence. This is why I give it the same rating.

Rating: 6/10

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Leave your comments below.


  1. I think there are some beautiful suits in this movie. The main problem is with the accessories, eg the handkerchief with the white suit, the dodgy striped tie. The suits themselves are really nice, especially the country suit, as you say. In the poncho scene, Roger dresses as Clint Eastwood, it’s another send-up at a time when the Bond movies are getting camper and camper.

  2. Matt, another great review. I would rate this one the same. The suits are really nice and while I’m not a fan of the 70’s details, they fit Roger beautifully. The jacket fit is fabulous and second only to the Hayward jackets for me in the whole series in terms of how they fit and suit the actor playing Bond. I love the navy hopsack blazer which as you say is very similar to the one in the previous movie. I do agree that the Royal Navy tie would have been better with it than the striped ties worn here (although I don’t mind the first one worn at Drax’s home). I agree with you and could see Sean Connery’s Bond wearing the tweed suit, really like that look. I really quite like the black jersey shirt too, it works on Roger Moore in the scenes, suits his style and looks Bondian to me. Really looking forward to FYEO which is one of my all time favourites for both clothing and the movie itself.

  3. Interesting, the Saint slant you mention, Matt. because no matter what roles Moore would have taken on, post-Templar, it was a dead cert that (period movies aside) he’s have dressed in the way he as ordinarily accustomed to dressing with a few minor tweaks.

    I don’t find the striped ties that offensive. That said, I agree that the first one worn with the blazer was the most subtle. I would put the office shirt down as silk rather than Sea island cotton but I can’t be certain. It looks like that shirt was again paired with the silk suit while the ecru shirts worn with the blazer and tweed suit are cotton as they look different in shade and texture.

    You mention the polo neck worn with a sports coat or blazer look as being 1970s and it certainly was though like many other staples of his wardrobe, roger had adopted this look as early as the Black and White Saints. Is it “a little premature” to ask but which of Moore’s Bond movies did you find he was his best dressed (I have a an idea which you will opt for)?

  4. leaving aside the 70s fashion fads, we have to admit that the tailors in Angelo Vitucci shop were first rate.
    The fit is perfect.
    Aside the huge lapels,some suits are very smart.
    In particular the dupioni gray suit is fantastic.
    You have to admit that in this movie Simon Templar is very well-dressed.

    I’d be curious to know if the double breasted of Drax is from Angelo too.
    If yes (but could even coming from a French tailor), this show how Angelo could provide very well cut and clean classic suits…if only one asked to avoid fashion fads.

  5. It’s all very well saying the wide lapels, wide ties and wide flares are in keeping with seventies style to keep Bond ‘on trend’ for this film, but that doesn’t take into account the fact that the punk explosion had happened in 1976-1977 which had a massive effect on style, not just on youth culture and music. All of the above stylistic details were by 1979 very much out of date even in the more genteel area of mature menswear, but that fact had failed to percolate up to the costume designer of this one. Having been a big fan of Bond films to this point, I thought the film was rubbish, Moore looked old and slow, and the costumes risibly out of date. This was the last Bond film I saw at the cinema until ‘The Living Daylights’ brought back some of the lost mojo.

    • Bond was styled as a mod in Thunderball (1965) with great success so why not style him as a punk rocker in Moonraker (1979)? But disco was a parallel trend in the late 70’s with a bigger mainstream splash, so Cubby and Moore went for the Travolta look rather than finding themselves in the jam…

      • in 1978 in UK mods had a very huge comeback.
        So why not recruit Timothy Dalton and send it back to Sinclair?
        (Of course they should have a less silly screenplay, more similiar to original Ian Fleming novel).

    • No, Bond was not styled as a Mod in Thunderball. As much as I love the TB wardrobe he was still wearing two button suits as was the trend in menswear before and after Mod went mainstream circa 1964. Perhaps you could argue that the silver grey sharkskin Junkanoo suit fabric was a nod to Mod style but if he’d been fully styled as a Mod he’d have been wearing three button jackets with five inch side vents and flat front strides. While I would never call The Beatles a Mod band, the disdain for youth culture was exemplified in the ‘listening to the Beatles without earmuffs’ comment in Goldfinger from 1964.

      PS Punk and disco were both pretty much over with by 1979. Even the BeeGees admitted that by the time Saturday Night Fever came out in 1977, disco was largely over with but they unwittingly breathed new life into it all. Sometimes news travels slowly. The ‘Disco Sucks’ event was in summer 1979.

      • Yes, I agree that Thunderball was not mod all in but more of a nod to mod.

        Punk and disco were pretty much over with by 1979 as new and exciting genrers in their relevant subcultures, but certainly not in the mainstream. In ’79-80, many acts, from progressive, to hard rock to MOR pop, jumped on the disco bandwagon; like Pink Floyd with Another Brick in the Wall pt. 2, Kiss with I Was Made For Loving You, ABBA with Voulez-Vous and Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, Queen with Another One Bites the Dust, etc. And even before, in ’78, The Rolling Stones with Miss You and Rod Steward with Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? The Disco sound can of course be heard in 1977 on the soundtrack of The Spy Who Loved Me.

      • Yeah agreed. I think you’re making my point for me, which is to say at root that since the punk explosion of 1976-7, wide flares, wide lapels, wide collars and wide ties were looking very dated throughout the entire menswear oeuvre by the time Moonraker hit the screens in Summer 1979.

      • I think they may have looked dated on a young man, but it would not have been uncommon to see men in 3 to 5-year-old suits that looked like this. The average man does not wear the latest fashions. Wearing 5-year-old suits rarely makes one look outdated.

      • Hot damn I love the soundtrack for The Spy Who Loved Me. Watching Roger speed down the mountain in that gaudy yellow ensemble with the cowbell going nuts will never not make me smile. I was born 40 years too late, I’d have loved to be a young man during the ’70s.

    • Didn’t Moonraker start production in the summer of 1978? On that basis it would be fairer to compare mainstream fashion in 1978 rather than at the time of release in the absence of a crystal ball. I accept that the big lapel and flare look was well on the decline but it was still very much a mainstream look in 1979 suits let alone a year earlier when filming began. Thankfully it was gone by the time FYEO came out resulting in some of Bond’s best ever suits.

      • Yeah but the point I’m belabouring here is that unlike the usual glacial evolution of menswear, punk caused a massive and immediate catalyst that sent shock waves through several industries, and that unlike say the gradual widening of ties, lapels and hems that occurred organically from the late sixties through the seventies, punk caused a watershed moment that had an immediate impact on style – and not just youth style. So I stand by my view that Moore looked very dated in Moonraker. I was there at the time and recall my own response to the film, so I’m not viewing this through the prism of passed time.

  6. I am always willing to accept wardrobe choices determined by the needs of filming. Putting Bond in a turtleneck was no doubt done to avoid having a tie flop around during the skydiving stunt.

    The fact that Moore and his stunt doubles could pull it off are bonus points. But it does scream 1970s.

    I also like how you pointed out that three piece suits were making a comeback in the late 1970s. I always took this as a reaction to the wide tie, lapels, flaired trouser cuffs of that era. Fashions snapped back to a more traditional look. In Peter Seller’s “Being There” Chance wears clothes made in the 1920s, and characters note how they have come back in style. By 1981 Moore’s look will be pulled back considerably, and for the better in my opinion.

    • Thanks for a good and useful comment on the skydiving roll neck. It is a practical choice that simultaneously looks very dapper, relaxed and saintish

  7. The elephant grey dupioni suit is not just my favourite lounge suit in Moonraker but possibly in the whole series. Who would wear such an elegant outfit to Venice now? Probably no-one. Compare and contrast with the ‘estate agent on holiday’ chinos and rugby top Craig wore in Casino Royale.

    The Donegal Tweed suit is also a fantastic outfit. Donegal Tweed, in my opinion, is the best thing to wear on a cold winters day here in the UK.

    • In fairness, Craig WAS on holiday… but your point still stands. It’s not a look I like, and I’d be more likely to wear Roger’s suit in Venice, even if I was on holiday there myself.

    • Well said. Sums up the Craig “style” (the best since Connery etc etc etc) perfectly. Regarding “Who would wear such an elegant outfit to Venice now?” I did, 9 years ago. It worked very well too.

  8. I’ll always praise the tweed suit – it deserves lavish praise – but I think I have to declare the Rio cream suit + brown shirt the true victor here. Not only is it stunning in and of itself but the brown really pops both as a highlight against the suit itself but also as the perfect compliment to Moore’s skin tone.

    It also seems better served by any ‘70’s excess than the tweed, which slightly (only very slightly), suffers as a result of decade’s period dating as tweed is already an ‘old’ look for fabric, ergo flared trousers and excessively wide lapels really ‘hurt’ the look of any tweed ensemble in my opinion.

  9. The double breasted jacket with notched lapels is off-putting. I first saw it on Martin Shaw in the professionals. Dirk Benedict wore them a lot in the a-team.

  10. Certainly a vast improvement on the spy who loved me medallion man Bond
    The striped ties don’t bother me that much.
    The low points are the safari suit worn with loafers in the rain forest, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Moore wasn’t even pretending act at this point.
    The man with no name outfit which is another attempt at comedy that tries the patience and the Saturday night fever outfit which is just Another example of Moore playing dress up.

    • Agreed. There was a Bond-a-thon on the telly here yesterday and for my sins I sat through Moonraker again. After Manuela’s near brush with death at the hands … err … teeth of Jaws, Bond offers to take her home. The tuxedo was shoe-horned into the film in the first place as I can’t believe anyone from the nineteen seventies would think wearing a tuxedo to the Rio carnival would be appropriate, but Manuela plays no further part in the film. She may have been the victim of the editors as the next scene is Bond, still in tuxedo sans bow tie, atop Sugar Loaf Mountain. Are we to assume he shagged Manuela at her place and didn’t have time to change? Given the ability of Bond throughout the series to conjure up outfits from the thin air (white dinner jacket on the train to Tangers in Spectre) this has to go down as a missed opportunity for the costume department to get him into a more appropriate situation-specific outfit for the cable car adventure.

      • The thing that bugs me about Mr Moore’s costuming is that he is always appropriately dressed for every situation, even those that couldn’t be foreseen.

  11. He would take off his bow tie for the next morning as it is bad form for an Englishman to wear black tie before 6pm…

    I think the suits and blazers are absolutely spot on – he looks the business in them, and don’t forget that by 1970 James Bond WAS Roger Moore as much as Roger Moore was James Bond… so who cares what went before. As we were to find out 4 years later the Bond bods needed to cement the present to safeguard the future as their past was catching up with them (and it worked).

    I think this is a solid 8 – and give me the striped ties over endless bland Grenadines any day of the week – Moonraker is definitely one of the key early influences on my personal style. And the white rollback is a real ladykiller.

  12. I’m ashamed to admit that until this very day, even after watching this film a million times over the past few decades, I never noticed that Bond doesn’t carry a gun. Was that a conscious production choice?

    • The script didn’t call for any moments where Bond takes out a gun. He only has the wrist dart gun. For some reason Drax didn’t have Bond patted down for any weapons when he was retrieved from the python encounter.

  13. Another great article Matt, with many predictable negative comments from others. But I have a soft spot for seventies fashions, so I don’t mind some of the styles here. I quite like the outfit he wears to meet Drax and as a kid I desperately wanted that black long sleeved zipped shirt. And I absolutely love the navy blazer and turtleneck, my students will say this is a signature Mr Copeland look!

  14. Some claim that the first Bond one ever watched leaves an indelible mark on the viewer. I am no exception. Moonraker was my first Bond close encounter, at the age of 9, and it immediately got me hooked, forging an irreversible bond (pun intended) with the character, which justifies my forgiveness for the flares (which I hated even back then) and anything linked to the 1970s’ rather flamboyant fashion.

    Over time, I noticed some interesting nods and cross-cultural references.
    The turtle neck / blazer combination (I indulge in it until that day..) was used in “2001” during the space station meeting room. Was any costume designer betting on the crepuscule of neck ties ?

    Another reference has grown obvious over the years (and numerous watching sessions..) : Jean-Paul Belmondo’s super spy role in “Le Magnifique” (aka “The Man from Acapulco”) released in 1973.
    A specific scene is when Belmondo (aka ‘Bob Sinclair’, a clear nod to Moore’s character Brett Sinclair from the ‘Persuaders’) is being picked up at the bottom of his – Air France- plane, in Mexico:

    He wears a nearly identical cream suit. Even the horn of his car (at 2’44”) is exactly the same as the buggy’s overtaking Bond’s Rolls at 0’34”:

    Tough to label these as mere coincidences. Perhaps a byproduct of Moonraker’s heavily-loaded French cooperation ?

    Has the cream suit become a staple of secret agents travelling to Latin America ?
    Quantum’s unused one :

    Or Frederick Stafford’s (more tan than cream, though) in Hitchcock’s 1969’s “Topaz” ?

  15. The ratings from this series thus far, for those keeping track…

    Dr No – 9/10
    FRWL – 9/10
    GF – 10/10
    TB – 10/10
    YOLT – 6/10
    OHMSS – 8/10
    DAF – 6/10
    LALD – 7/10
    TMWTGG – 8/10
    TSWLM – 5/10
    MR – 6/10

    Of the remaining movies, I think only TWINE and QOS would deserve something in the 9/10 or 10/10 range.


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