Gareth Mallory: Blue Chalk Stripe Suit

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Mallory-Blue-Suit

To contrast Daniel Craig’s fashion-forward suits, Ralph Fiennes’ government official Gareth Mallory in Skyfall dresses in timeless Savile Row style. It’s more like Bond’s usual look than what Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall, similar to Daniel Craig’s Brioni three-piece suit in Casino Royale. The biggest difference is that Mallory wears braces with his suits, something Bond never has done. Timothy Everest, one of the leaders of Savile Row’s New Bespoke Movement, tailored Ralph Fiennes’ suits for Skyfall. As one would expect from a Savile Row establishment, even a modern one, the suits are well-tailored. Though the often-daring Everest isn’t so adventurous with Fiennes’ suits, the suits do not look old-fashioned either. Whilst three-piece suits—as well as the double-breasted suit Fiennes wears later in the film—stand for old-fashioned values, three-piece have seen a recent rise in popularity. Fiennes may not look nearly as fashionable as Daniel Craig, but he doesn’t quite look as old and stodgy as he perhaps was meant to look either.

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This suit is navy with a mid blue chalk stripe and has a button two jacket in a modern Savile Row cut. Like the traditional Savile Row jacket this one has straight, padded shoulders with roped sleeve heads. But on the other hand, the jacket is cut fairly lean in the chest and does not look like a suit of armour. The jacket has slanted pockets with a ticket pocket, four-button cuffs and a single vent. The waistcoat has six buttons with five to button. The trousers have a flat front, a high rise to the waist and are worn with braces. If they wanted Mallory to look more old-fashioned he could have been wearing double-forward-pleat trousers like Sean Connery’s Bond wore. The suit’s buttons are black horn.

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With this navy suit Fiennes wears a classic Jermyn Street-style shirt in light blue end-on-end with a spread collar, placket front and double cuffs. His navy tie has large white dots with a small navy dot in the centre, and it appears to be tied in a four-in-hand knot. His shoes are black cap-toe oxfords.

39 COMMENTS

    • Jovan, there is absolutely no question as to who was better dressed. Fiennes’ suits are beautiful.

      The more I think about it, the more I have decided that Craig should share some of the blame for Bond’s suits. While Tom Ford provided excellent looking fabrics, the cuts, as we all know, were too tight. I remembered reading somewhere that Temine said Craig worked closely with her on Bond’s attire. Accordingly, I went and looked at recent pictures of Craig at public events and his suits very closely resemble those of Skyfall. So my verdict is that, although this collaboration between Temine and Craig produced excellent casual attire, the business wardrobe suffered from Craig’s interest in current fashion as much as Temine’s desire to create a “second skin.”

      • That probably is partially to blame. I like Craig as an actor and he’s definitely someone I’d share a pint with, but I have noticed his real clothing often goes on the fashion forward side. I don’t think it suits him or his age. That said, the Billy Reid pea coat he purchased for himself (since he liked the one he wore in the film so much) is actually a size larger than the film version.

        It would be interesting to see Matt dissect his couple of suits in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” since he already did an article on the “Layer Cake” suit. They were somewhat modern looking, but nowhere near as fitted as the suits in Skyfall. The funny thing is that Craig took the opposite approach to preparing physically for Bond. He “stopped working out and ate whatever [he] wanted” to appear more like the Mikael Blomkvist in the novels — handsome, but not an action hero in any traditional sense.

      • Interesting observations. I am also a big fan of Craig. I think the suits in Skyfall have a few redeeming qualities, but on the whole they were a disappointment, especially next to Mallory. And I especially agree with your point that his suiting is not really age appropriate.

        As an aside regarding Craig’s portrayal of Blomkvist–I remember reading that bit about him saying he “let himself go” to fit the role, and then I saw him in the movie and felt as though I was still watching James Bond. He’s just too cool to pull off the bumbling journalist from the novels.

  1. Seriously this suit does remind me of casino royale’s 3-piece suit. So how did they get it right with M’s wardrobe but with Bond they made him look like he was on Runway?

  2. Jovan, Spot on. I agree 100%. Fiennes’ look is timeless elegance. Craig’s is ugly fashionable bling with some spurious, unsuccessful attempt to mirror Sinclairs look on the early Connery Bonds.

    Matt/Kaleem,

    I don’t really see the similarity with Craig’s Brioni 3 piece as for one thing, the waistcoat cut on Fiennes’ suit is a lower more classic length than on Craig’s suit. I can’t see too much more from the photos of Craig’s suit to compare. Fiennes’ suits remind me mostly, overall of Moore’s “office” suits from the 1980’s (some differences in cut between Hayward and Everest but overall reminiscent).

  3. This character is my favorite thing about Skyfall for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that he wore the nicest suits. With the theme of tradition and old vs. new throughout Skyfall Mallory and his clothes fit in nicely. Craig’s suits on the other hand… well we’ve all written extensively about how the cut leaves something to be desired, but I’d also like to point out, as I alluded to in a post on another thread, that they don’t really make sense to me in terms of the storyline either. Isn’t this Bond supposed to be the “old dog?” Doesn’t he “like to do some things the old-fashioned way?” “Sometimes the old ways are best?” Seems like his clothes are saying the opposite.

    As an interesting aside, I was shopping at Turnbull & Asser in New York about a year ago and they told me that they produced the ties for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and that Timothy Everest made the suits for Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch.

    • Good point, I’d never thought of it that way. There was that undercurrent of secret agents like himself being old news and unnecessary for the 21st century. This mirrors real life — the glamourous secret agents of old which Bond was based on are just about extinct now. However, I admired how this film and “Casino Royale” blended him into modern times fairly well, showing that he did indeed work in the field with other agents from time to time.

    • You clearly have got a very interesting a point there, Kyle. Your remark proves that today, in movies, they just don’t care about dialogues or any, well intellectual, spiritual content. They offer us beautiful pictures with nothing behind. You see something and heard the opposite. The concepts -and they aren’t numerous in Skyfall in my opinion-, if we can call them that way, “introduced” in the script don’t find an echo at all in the pictures. It’s just empty. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like Skyfall at all. I assume the suits (for the costume designer at least…) were supposed to echo the 60s Sinclair suits, that would be the echo of the old fashion way we heard so much about in the movie… Well, you missed, 007.
      About Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, that’s very interesting. I liked the suits and the outfits a lot in the movie. And Colin Firth (dressed by Tom Ford perhaps ? Anyway, the result is stunning !), like Gary Oldman, was very well-dressed. I remenber he wore a nice red paisley tie at a party. It looks a lot like the T&A one shown on their website.

  4. Mallory’s suits fit the character perfectly both from an aesthetic perspective and from a psychological perspective. Recall that Mallory is veteran of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland and is an experienced British political hand.

    Clearly, there is more to him than meets the eye.

    His suits communicate authority, British tradition, competence, and refinement which is exactly how Fiennes played the character. Remember the courtroom scene where Mallory intervenes and actually takes a bullet? This is no ordinary politician.

    I contrast M’s suits with those of Bond in the Skyfall post on my blog at Tailored and Styled (tailoredandstyled.com).

    Mallory’s look comes out the clear winner in my view.

  5. There is a scene in “Skyfall” where Craig does wear braces, it is the scene on the yacht when Bond is with Severine heading towards Silva’s island.

  6. It’s a little embarrassing to compare Bond’s and Mallory’s suits. Timothy Everest is a Savile Row-trained tailor who apprenticed under Tommy Nutter, and Tom Ford is just a fashion designer. The results of their respective work are miles apart.

    I think Mallory’s jacket would have looked even more elegant with double vents. Also, I can’t recall if Mallory’s trousers had a straight waistband, or were scalloped to be worn with braces. I’m hoping for an eventual post about Silva’s outfit. His white jacket was made by London tailors who, interestingly, apprenticed under Timothy Everest (bringing to mind the ongoing juxtaposition of old vs. new).

  7. I must say I am convinced after reading your article, Matt. All the fuss about Mallory’s suits in the precedent article surprised me a little. I thought people loved it just because they weren’t as badly cut as Craig’s, so they shined just in comparison. But I must say this 3-piece is perfect. The essence of the British businessman, even if it’s not Mallory’s job. Very Savile Row, except for the single vent. Better than the CR Brioni 3-piece suit, because of its softer lines. Beautiful job, I just think it would have even nicer to see a white pocket square… I know, I am a pocket square maniac !
    I am just not mad about the braces -a little too wide I think. Wide braces on Craig, that’s allright. But they seem too wide for Fiennes, even flashy (what colour where they ? Light blue, or white ?), not discreet enough, making me think of Gordon Gekko for a while. Besides, mixing braces with flat front trousers… it’s a strange mix of modernity and “old-fashionness” to me… Even if people wore flat front trousers in the 20s, to me pleated trousers are more classic ! By the way, Matt, I have a question about the scene when Mallory offers M some brandy. Is he wearing the same suit ? I had the impression he wore double forward pleats trousers.
    Even if my favorite M, in term of impersonation as well as in term of clothing, is Bernard Lee, this new one is well-dressed. And that’s very disturbing by the way. We clearly see that in this movie, M’s much better dressed than Bond. In the other movies (Lee-Connery, Lee-Lazenby, Lee-Moore, and I am afraid that’s all…) there was a kind of emulation. The two characters had different taste but were both well-tailored. Two rivals in sartorial elegance ! Now, there is clearly a winner… And clearly Craig is going to dress on that same extreme fashion line. It’s really a shame.

    • In Fiennes’ first scene he is wearing the trousers from a solid dark grey suit. And they have a flat front. Fiennes doesn’t wear flashy braces, they are a very elegant navy an embroidered fleur-de-lis pattern. The buttons in front are too far to the sides.

      • Thanks Matt. Indeed I think that kind of braces are too showy, but I guess I must be too strict 🙂 I don’t understand your last phrase, what are you talking about ?
        And something I wanted to start with in my first comment: hasn’t the jacket pagoda shoulders ??

      • Sorry, I meant the front braces buttons.

        It looks like there’s a slight pagoda effect, but what you see in the pictures is mostly just from the angle they were taken from.

      • Since we are talking about braces, Matt, I would like to have your opinion about wearing white “dress” braces – as a matter of fact, the Casino Royale ones- with just a simple 3-button lounge suit (and shirt and tie, obviously).
        Do you think it’s odd ? Are they some kind of lounge suits that are better worn with braces than others, like 3-piece or double-breasted suits ? Or do you think they are reserved for formal and semi-formal occasions only ? Thank you.

      • I do not think dress braces should be worn with a suit. I’d find it just as odd as wearing a pleated shirt or a black bow tie with a suit. All lounge suits go well with braces, if the trousers have a long enough rise as Mark Gibson points out. With a 3-piece or double-breasted suit, I’d never wear a belt with those, but side-adjusters can work too. With a 3-piece suit the advantage that braces have is that your shirt will never show underneath the waistcoat. That’s a problem we see in Connery’s Bond. And in both a 3-piece suit and double-breasted suit they will never be seen. A belt with a 3-piece suit prevents the waistcoat from laying flat (as Brosnan too often proves), and a belt with a double-breasted suit can prevent the front from hanging straight. I’m a big fan of braces and wear them any time I know I won’t be taking off my jacket, so with evening wear, suits and even sports coats. Looks like I need to write an article on braces, so look for it some time next week.

      • I’d like to second Matt’s comment on the blue braces. I think they are excellent. A nice complement to the rest of the blue of the ensemble. The braces are from Ede & Ravenscroft.

  8. How is a 3-piece suit jacket properly worn: buttoned or unbuttoned? I know a 2-piece suit looks much better with the jacket buttoned, but I see most 3-piece suits worn with the jacket left open even when standing. Is this traditional? Is the suit tailored to be worn like this? or is it just done to show off the waist coat?

  9. Well spotted Matt, for shining a light on Mallory’s great suit. For my money Tanner also outclasses Bond in the suit field, but there you are. Craig looks like he’s about to split the seams on his too-tight suits! Just a note on braces. They were common when trousers sat at the waist, were full cut, and (usually) not topped with a waistband. Sometimes one or two buckle adjusters were fitted, but to take in fabric, rather than hold up the trousers. If the front buttons were well placed, the front pleat did not sway about when the wearer walked. Now all that has changed, so fitting braces is like welding an ashtray onto a motorcycle – pointless.

    • Braces still hold up the trousers better than a belt does. Mallory’s trousers have a high enough rise to make them work well. Tanner does better simply on fit, though I’m not as fond of his outfits in general. But he’s still well-dressed.

  10. When it was announced that “Skyfall” would feature Ralph Fiennes, my wife said to me that this was great and maybe Ralph Fiennes was going to be the new James Bond, as she always found him an attractive man and, like me, didn’t especially care for Craig’s 007. When I see his wardrobe here I just think; what a pity her theory didn’t come to pass…

    • While I am a fan of Craig’s interpretation of the character (if not that interpretation’s sartorial tastes), I will always feel that it was a great shame that we never got Fiennes as Bond. He is an excellent actor and a great fan of the Fleming novels. In this photo from The Constant Gardener, I always thought he looked like the living embodiment of an older, world weary On Her Majesty’s Secret Service/You Only Live Twice-era Bond:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MR-I1GuR6pU/Slj3CDuLS8I/AAAAAAAACh4/14C1h282Ayk/s400/3-+ralph.jpg

      He’s even wearing a navy blue suit with white shirt and black knitted silk tie as the literary Bond was so fond of wearing.

      • It’s also a shame that The Avengers was such a horrible movie! Ralph Fiennes as Steed seems like such a good idea. And yet…

  11. So Fiennes gets bespoke Saville Row tailoring and Bond does not? Don’t get it. I’ve read that the Bond films do not use Saville Row tailors b/c those tailors cannot meet the quantity of suits needed for a modern movie. So what gives with Fiennes– seems like they were able to accomodate him. Could it be for other, more commercial purposes that they use OTR suits?

    • Fiennes doesn’t really have action scenes and doesn’t have a stunt man, so the tailoring requirement for him is far less than Bond. Craig’s suits are not OTR, but a Savile Row tailor would need at least a year to make the suits and charge for it too.

  12. After carefully considering this suit and looking again at Craig’s, I have to generally agree with most of the comments. This is undeniably beautifully tailored – Craig would have looked good in this (as would just about anyone) and his better build would make him look more youthful than Fiennes (who I must say does not look stodgy). Make the lapels slightly narrower, and we may have a nice blend of 2012 with classic Saville Row.

  13. Interesting, how different observations can be.
    When I saw the movie I thought, that Bond’s suits may be too small but Mallory’s suits are realy old-fashioned (which is perfect for the charcter). Wearing one of those would say: “Please, bring back the old times.”

  14. What I go for is a style between the two. Traditionally minded, but with slightly narrower lapels and trouser legs. My recent custom suit is somewhat like Connery’s in that way, but with a clean chest and more waist suppression. Given the reactions it has gotten from friends, they don’t see it as particularly dated either.

  15. Needless to say really, I too find Fiennes suits superior to Craigs. I’m not too fond of the shoulders though, they follow that pagoda line and to me that looks a bit un-natural on the otherwise soft looking cut of this very english suit (plus to mee it seems to put focus on Fiennes’ slightly big waist) . If the shoulders looked more like the Cyril Castle or Douglas Hayward shoulders then it would be better. Matt, could you prehaps write about the double-breasted suit he wears in the last scene, I liked that one too.

  16. Good evening, Mr Spaiser.
    I was wondering if you could dedicate a post to the suit that Ralph Fiennes’ character, Mallory, wears during the inquiry proceedings in Skyfall?
    The suit appears to be the same navy blue, which the shirt is a very rich shade of blue, which I’m guessing could be French blue. He wears a lovely dark red tie with it.

    I find the outfit to be really really elegant and very much worth emulating. I look forward to you writing a post on it!

    Regards,
    Anuj

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