Gun club jackets were popular in the 1980s, and both Sean Connery and Roger Moore wore them in their personal life at the time. James Bond wears his only gun club check jacket when played by Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights, but he’s not the only character in the film to wear one. John Rhys-Davies wears a beautiful example as General Leonid Pushkin of the KGB in The Living Daylights.
While I don’t know how a KGB general is supposed to dress in civilian clothes, Pushkin looks like a British gentleman in his outfit and sets a wonderful example of how to wear a gun club check jacket. This outfit was curated by either Costume Designer Emma Porteous or Costume Supervisor Tiny Nicholls.
While gun club checks are usually found in heavier cloths like tweed and worsted faux-tweed, Pushkin’s jacket is made of a lightweight plain-weave worsted so it wears cool in Tangier, Morocco. The check has at least five colours, with mid grey being the dominent thread throughout. Stripes of orange, green, navy and light grey pass over each other to creative an attractive grid pattern, and all the colours come together to form a rich but neutral mid-toned cloth that pairs well with many other garments.
The jacket may have been made bespoke for John Rhys-Davies since he is a difficult man to fit, and the jacket looks very well made and has a clean drape over his body, albeit not a perfect fit. The jacket is tailored with wide, straight shoulders with roped sleeve heads to balance his large waist. The jacket has wide lapels of about 4 inches with a high but steep gorge. Because Rhys-Davies is a very large man, the lapels are a flattering and balanced medium width on him. There are two buttons at the front, and the button stance is low for a long, slimming lapel line.
The jacket has three open patch pockets—one breast pocket and two hip pockets—and they demonstrate superb pattern matching because the pockets practically disappear into the pattern. Double vents and three cuff buttons also detail the jacket. The buttons are mid-brown horn with a recessed centre.
The trousers are mid-grey wool gabardine and are likely the same as his grey suit trousers that he wears in scenes visiting Brad Whitaker’s compound. There is only a little contrast between the colour of the jacket and the trousers, with the trousers only slightly darker than the perceived overall colour of the jacket. The contrast is more apparent close up and more subtle from a distance. However, the low-contrast look is slimming on Rhys-Davies because it doesn’t break up the body. The trousers have double forward pleats, a mid rise and take a belt. The wide straight legs balance Rhys-Davies’ large waist and give him a balanced and elegant appearance.
The blue end-on-end shirt looks like a classic English ready-to-wear shirt, with a semi-spread collar, double cuffs and a front placket. The collar points look rather short, approximately 2 1/2 inches long, which is too short for Rhys-Davies’ face, body and lapel width. While the short height of the collar is right for him, he needs a little more point length to balance the rest of him.
The tie is black with a grid of small silver-grey paisley shapes that alternate direction. It’s neutral and subtle, so it lets the jacket take centre stage. The dark ground adds contrast to the outfit to balance Rhys-Davies’ dark complexion. However, the scale of the pattern is too similar to the scale of the jacket’s check, so there’s a bit of competition between the jacket and the tie. Anything larger or smaller would have worked better.
Pushkin wears the same tie in his first scene that takes place in Bratislava as well as in the photo of him that M provides Bond when asking for his assassination.
The belt is dark brown, but the shoes look black. For an otherwise well-dressed man, this mismatch must have been a mistake.
Overall, the look gives Pushkin a honourable appearance. The light colours come across as friendly and familiar. Theclothes are well-fitted and, for the most part, well coordinated, which makes him look competent. Even though he is KGB, his British style makes him look like he’s on James Bond’s side. Compared to the dandy way General Koskov dresses, Pushkin’s more conservative attire shows that he’s the man that Bond should trust and respect.