Dimi Major Bespoke Tailors: OHMSS Style

27
George Lazenby in a cream suit made by Dimi Major
George Lazenby in a cream linen suit made by Dimi Major

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.

D Major Linen Suit
A recent linen suit jacket made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors. Apart from the patch pockets it is not so different from the suit Lazenby wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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.

A recent navy chalkstripe double-breasted suit made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors
A recent navy chalkstripe double-breasted suit made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors

The Silhouette

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.

A tweed three-piece suit made by Major Tailors
A recent tweed three-piece suit made by D. Major Bespoke Tailors

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.

On-Her-Majestys-Secret-Service-Ulster-Coat
George Lazenby in an Ulster made by Dimi Major

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.

Gabriele Ferzetti in a navy nailhead three-piece suit made by Dimi Major
Gabriele Ferzetti in a navy nailhead three-piece suit made by Dimi Major

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.

A navy chalkstripe suit by Dimi Major
A navy chalkstripe suit by Dimi Major

Beyond Bond

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.

You can find out more about D. Major Bespoke Tailors at MajorTailors.com

27 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt!

    The D. Major suits from OHMSS are indeed fine work . The cut flatters Lazenby’s body and is – in comparison with the Sinclair suits made for Connery – a bit more rakish. But even though there are some concessions to 70s fashion it is never over the top. The pictures of the suits from Major’s tailor shop are a real eyecatcher.

  2. “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”. Would that this ethos was adopted by certain others involved in the production of 007’s wardrobe!

    • What a great post, I wasn’t aware that Major’s was still in operation, perhaps I should stop by the next time I’m in London. It seems like their current offerings are just as high-quality as they were in 1969, and I wholly agree with their stated ethos!

  3. Astonishing!
    The suit of Ferzetti seems a Caraceni!
    In my opinion Dimi Major is THE BEST tailor that has worked on Bond!
    Better also of Snclair.
    Today the suits of the firms seem to me a British cut at his best..maybe the double breasted is too much long,but is really superb.
    And single brested is pure poetry.
    Chapeau!

      • They do bespoke suits and less expensive custom suits that skip some steps. I don’t believe they have a ready-to-wear line except for the accessories and knitwear they sell.

  4. In Bernhard Roetzel’s book “Gentleman…” Sean Connery is mentioned as a customer of Dimi Major.
    And a nice touch there. Fleming had written in the novel that Draco wore the kind of suits that Bond himself wore: Sure! They have the same tailor! a great way to put a small line from the book on screen.
    Perhaps you could review some of Peter Hunt’s suits as seen on behind the scenes stills. As well as some of Terence Young’s? Those two directors were smart dressers.

  5. I completely agree with Carmelo and others above. These were my favorite suits of the series and I looks like the firm has maintained its elegant, rakish style.

    Matt, did you actually visit Major’s shop? I think its exciting that they are still in business and family owned.

  6. Tonight i had a strange dream,so strange that i have to tell:
    I watched a Bond movie,”Moonraker”.
    In a scene in a sort of club in London, both in dinner jacket,George Lazenby was James Bond,and…… a moustached Sean Connery was Hugo Drax!!

    • I have to agree, that does sound interesting. I’m guessing that the scene is the club scene from the Moonraker novel where Bond plays bridge with Drax. The Moonraker novel is really very good. A pity the movie didn’t adapt it more faithfully. Although to be honest, I’d prefer if Bond is played by any of the other actors rather than Lazenby. He looks the part, but I never really liked his performance.
      But Connery as Drax would be interesting. The Avengers movie (the one with Ralph Fiennes) is actually playing on HBO right now and Connery shows that he can ham it up like the best of them! And he’s wearing a lot of interesting (IMHO) clothing worthy of a Bond Villain. There’s a cream/white three piece suit, a velvet jacket and some kind of Scottish formal dress. Matt, is there any chance you could do an article on the movie? For that matter, what do you think of Fiennes’s Steed outfits?

      • Fiennes’ Steed outfits are really nice, though not as flamboyant as Macnee’s. I may write about one of Connery’s or Fiennes’ outfits here sooner or later. How about Sean Connery’s bear costume? 😉

    • Somehow I knew you would mention the bear costume! It would be actually go quite well with Connery’s Zardoz costume and Roger Moore’s clown costume.

  7. Hi Matt, thanks for this article and this great site. Bernhard Roetzel in hi book Gentleman hints that Dimi Major made suits for Sean Connery on a private basis (I.e. for personal use).

  8. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. Your bespoke tailor’s blog provided us useful information to work on suits. You have done an excellent job! Thanks for sharing the great information. Good Luck!

  9. Their website seems to be down. Do you happen to have Mr. Major’s email address Matt? I’m in the States right now so calling can be tricky. Thank you.

  10. Hi , Interesting article, a couple of minor corrections, Doug Hayward was with Dimi until 1967 when he moved to Mount Street. Dimi was a wonderful man as indeed was Douglas Hayward. I worked for them both in the 60’s and remember them very fondly.

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.