My From Tailors with Love co-host Peter Brooker interviewed Roger Moore’s former executive assistant and ghostwriter Gareth Owen on Moore’s style. Mr Owen has just released a new book about his time with Roger called Raising an Eyebrow: My Life with Sir Roger Moore, and it is available to purchase on Amazon. I was not able to join Peter on the interview, but I sent him some questions to ask Mr Owen.
I was interested to ask Mr Owen about some of the inconsistencies in Moore’s book Bond on Bond regarding his Bond clothiers, which were discussed on this blog at the time of the book’s release. Frank Foster was not given credit as his Bond shirtmaker, and Angelo Litrico was stated as Moore’s tailor for his late 1970s Bond films with no mention of Angelo Roma. The full interview will be available on the From Tailors with Love podcast this Wednesday, but here is a short excerpt from a much longer interview where Mr Owen discusses some of these omissions.
Peter Brooker: A question about some of the style that’s in “Bond on Style” in Bond on Bond. Matt, being the very particular person, has wanted to ask you on this just in case its an inconsistency. There is a line in the book that mentions that Roger had his shirts done at Washington Tremlett and Turnbull & Asser, but there was no mention of the tailor Frank Foster. Did Roger mention Frank Foster at all, or did he speak about him in any way?
Gareth Owen: I don’t know whether Frank Foster supplied his shirts in the Bond films. Correct me, I don’t know. But I know he certainly had some shirts with Frank Foster in later life. Maybe it was just an omission, maybe it was something he failed to put in. But I don’t know which films he made with Frank Foster shirts. Can you tell me? I don’t know.
PB: Well, I would say probably all of them. Matt will probably tell you a lot more. Frank Foster would say that he did a lot of the shirts for the early Connery films, all the way through. Turnbull & Asser would do some, but he would do some as well. And it feels like he didn’t get a mention for some reason, and not just by Roger. By the whole entire franchise. They’ve not really shined a light.
GO: Sometimes the providers, if you like, of costumes and shirts, some do massive marketing campaigns and shout loud about their involvement, whereas I don’t think Frank Foster ever did. Maybe he just wasn’t as vocal as some of the other tailors and the suppliers. I don’t know.
PB: And also, he [Matt] wants to know about, did Washington Tremlett do any other clothes for Bond other than the [yellow] dressing gown in Live and Let Die.
GO: I honestly don’t know, cause a lot of the time if I asked Roger about costumes, he would sort of just shrug and say, “I honestly don’t know”. Because he would turn up in the morning and they’d say, “right, here you go. Put this on, shoot the scene, there we go, off it goes again”. And he wouldn’t see it. Sometimes there was a mystery to it, simply because he didn’t know. The costume designer would come and say, “I’ve got this for you, would you try it on? Okay, that’s fine. We’ll use it tomorrow”. So there wasn’t always great planning. He didn’t sit down in meetings and discuss Bond style and what he should look like. And I think the director a lot of the time, too, would make a call and say, “I don’t think that’s right for the show” or “it doesn’t work with this set, where else can we go?” So it could have just been a thing that was lying about. Could have been a thing that they’d seen the day before. A lot of it wasn’t planned.
PB: And just lastly, and this will get us out of the weeds once this one’s done, but there’s also a sentence about Angelo Litrico being Roger’s personal tailor in Italy. Matt seems to think it was Angelo Roma and not Angelo Litrico. Does that ring any bells?
GO: Well, he did have two or three different tailors, and I know for one or two films, I think The Sicilian Cross, he was wheeled in there. So he did have a couple of tailors he called upon. And when he was in France in Paris and the South of France, Massimo Dutti also supplied some stuff. So it’s one of those things, sometimes if a film had a deal or had a friendly contact with a tailor, they’d use one of those. But there were certainly two or three that he was always friendly with, and would make a visit to them.
Many thanks to Gareth Owen for kindly putting up with these questions and clearing up why some names were mentioned in Moore’s Bond on Bond book and others weren’t. Much was forgotten in the decades since Moore was Bond.
After confirmation from Frank Foster as well as action listings of the shirts from Moore’s Bond films, we know that Frank Foster made almost all of Roger Moore’s shirts in his Bond films, as well as shirts for many other actors and other Bond actors. This was something Roger failed to tell Mr Owen, either because he forgot or because he didn’t want to mention them.
Mr Owen is correct that Frank Foster was not one to ask for attention by advertising that he worked on the Bond series. Frank Foster has frequently been overlooked in Bond clothing exhibits of the past decade.
Regarding Angelo Roma, Moore mentioned he was wearing suits by “Angelo of Rome” in his DVD commentary for The Man with the Golden Gun. Moore was mistaken, as Cyril Castle made the suits for that film (one was sold at auction), but Angelo would tailor Moore later in the 1970s before Douglas Hayward took over for the Bond suits in For Your Eyes Only.
Mr Owen suggests it is is possible that Moore wore suits by multiple Italian tailors in the late 1970s Bond films as he had multiple tailors. Angelo Roma is the only tailor there is currently physical evidence of, as he made the only suit from the late ’70s Bond films that has sold at auction. Angelo Litrico could also have possibly tailored some of Moore’s clothes for Bond, and his silhouette in the 1970s was not worlds apart from Angelo Roma’s. Massimo Dutti was founded in 1985, so they wouldn’t have provided clothes for any of Moore’s Bond films.
Naturally, most people would not have the clearest memory of what they wore forty years earlier, and Mr Owen only started with Moore in 2001, 16 years after Moore’s final Bond film.
You can listen to the full interview on the From Tailors with Love podcast on Wednesday on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify for many more stories from Gareth Owen about Roger Moore and his clothes. Thank you to Peter Brooker for conducting such a fantastic interview and for allowing me to publish an excerpt on The Suits of James Bond.