Dimi Major is known to James Bond fans as the tailor who made George Lazenby’s suits for his role as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. D. Major Bespoke Tailors Ltd. continues today under the ownership of Dimi’s son Andrew Major and Andrew’s sister. Andrew Major was kind enough to answer a number of questions for me about the history of the firm and the firm’s work on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Even though Major Tailors only did work for one James Bond film, their clothing played a substantial part in the look of the film and is one reason why the film holds up well today.
Dimi Major and the history of D. Major Bespoke Tailors
Dimi Major was originally trained to be a tailor by his father, and then moved to London where he worked at Bailey and Weatherill—known to readers of this blog as Patrick Macnee’s tailor for The Avengers—for almost a decade. By that the end of his tenure at Bailey and Weatherill, Major was ready to open his own business where he lived in the Fulham area of London, and since 1959 Major Tailors has been located there at 11 Royal Parade, Dawes Road. Andrew said it was very important to his father to own his premises.
For a few years in the 1960s, Douglas Hayward, later known one of London’s most famous celebrity tailors, formed a partnership with Major called Major Hayward. Hayward is known to James Bond fans as the tailor who made Roger Moore’s suits in his three Bond films from the 1980s, and he is also know for formerly being the to Michael Caine, Terence Stamp and many others. Hayward left Major in 1967 when he moved in with shirtmaker Frank Foster on Pall Mall and later acquired his own premises in Mayfair in 1968. Andrew told me that his father and Hayward remained friends until Major’s death in 2004.
Andrew Major cuts and fits all of Major Tailor’s garments, and he was trained by his father. The silhouette of the suits he cuts is still similar to what Major made for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He said about the cut:
My father always aimed for an elegantly shaped cut, with soft shoulders and a medium-weight canvas for the coat and a slim but not over-fitted line to the trousers. The emphasis has always been on a classic look with a nod to the fashion of the day, without adopting the often fleeting extremes of style. Of course, as bespoke tailors we aim to give our clients what they want while always trying to advise them on what looks most flattering for them. The suits we make tend to last quite a long time, so in the long run it is advisable to avoid being too faddish. This remains our ethos to the present day.
This cut is still the same as what Dimi Major made for George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby’s suit jackets have a 1960s flair and were made with slightly short with narrower trousers than a classic look would prescribe, but they were certainly not too faddish and do not look out of date today. Major’s attitude towards the fashions of the day is shared by most tailors, even many Savile Row tailors. A good tailor tries to make the client look his or her best above all else.
Major Tailors and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Dimi Major made most of George Lazenby’s tailored wardrobe for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Not only did he make the suits, dinner jackets, sports coats and trousers, but also the three-quarter-length peacoat-like overcoat and the Victorian Ulster coat for the Sir Hilary Bray disguise. Andrew Major could not find any records that they made Lazenby’s infamous highland dress, though the firm has made a number of jackets for highland dress over the years but not kilts.
Not only did Major make clothes for George Lazenby, but they also made clothes for Bernard Lee (M), Gabriele Ferzetti (Draco) and Telly Savalas (Blofeld). For Lee they made two three-piece outfits (though not suits), though there are no records for his green velvet smoking jacket. Andrew Major told me that they have made similar smoking jackets for clients, who want a less complicated smoking jacket that is styled more like a dinner jacket, like M’s is. For Ferzetti they made his navy nailhead three-piece suit and his black lounge outfit for the wedding. Ferzetti’s jackets have stronger shoulders than Lazenby’s have, and that could have been requested by costume designer Marjory Cornelius to give Ferzetti’s suits are more continental look. For Savalas they made the overcoat with the astrakhan collar. Andrew Major said “I know that my father was very proud of his work when he saw it on screen.” After all, Major was responsible for creating the tailored clothing for all of the film’s male leads.
Peter Hunt, the director of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was already a client of Dimi Major before the film was made. It is unknown if he influenced the producers to choose Major to do the tailoring for the film in the way that Terence Young brought in his tailor, Anthony Sinclair, to make suits for Sean Connery in the Bond films. Major also made at least one suit for Bond producer Harry Saltzman, though Andrew does not know when. Andrew also told me that they had made suits for another James Bond actor for personal use, but he is unable to disclose whom.
Major Tailors has tailored many stars for other films, television and theatre over the years. They made George Segal’s suits for the 1973 film A Touch of Class, which resemble George Lazenby’s suits despite having wider lapels. Tony Curtis was also a client of Major’s for many years, including at the time of The Persuaders. Andrew is unable to confirm if Curtis wore any suits from Major in the series.