General Georgi Koskov’s larger than life personality, brought to the screen by Jeroen Krabbé, is matched by a slightly flamboyant outfit when he debriefs MI6 at the Blayden Safe House in The Living Daylights. His sports coat and day cravat tell a lot about the character and his circumstances.
Colour is frequently used by costume designers to give a character a specific identity, and the colours that Koskov wears say something about who he is. Throughout the film, Koskov always dresses in earth tones reminiscent of his olive drab Soviet military uniform. He’s introduced in a brown multi-stripe three-piece suit and later wears a tan suit.
At the safe house, Koskov wears a jacket in a Prince of Wales check in mid blue and mid brown on cream, and he wear the jacket with fawn trousers, a cream shirt and a brown day cravat to stick to his usual earth-tone colour scheme. His clothes are entirely appropriate for wearing in the English countryside, but it’s also possible that the earth tones he wears were chosen by costume designer Emma Porteous to show that he hasn’t actually left the Soviets behind. The blue in the jacket might represent his break from the Soviets, but the earth tones are still a significant part of this outfit and may represent that he’s still the same dishonest man he always was.
James Bond also wears earth tones in this scene, so perhaps Koskov’s earth tones don’t mean much because he’s dressed similarly to how an Englishman might dress. The colours Bond wears only contrast with Koskov’s by being darker shades. If Koskov dressed in blues and greys like M and the Minister of Defence do, it wouldn’t be true to the character’s feigned defection. Koskov’s colour scheme was trendy in the 1980s, so he could just be wearing what was popular rather than trying to say something about his character. The whole outfit is very much of its time, while also being a traditional look rather than a fashion-forward look.
This outfit is brand new to Koskov, since he did not defect to the west with a suitcase of clothes. The clothes he’s wearing would realistically be ready to wear since the character wouldn’t have had time to get bespoke clothes. Someone working for MI6 probably went shopping for him and bought the clothes he asked for. This outfit might define his idea of Western extravagance or his concept of what to wear in the English countryside. The day cravat makes him look like a playboy rather than a serious KGB general, which works for the character. He may not have dressed like this in the USSR, but he’s living it up on behalf of the British and knows it. Had he worn a necktie instead like everyone else in the scene, Bond might have taken him more seriously.
Koskov’s sports coat is made of a heavy woollen, but it looks softer than tweed. It could be lambswool. Appropriately for the context of the story, it looks like a British ready-to-wear piece of good quality. The style and fit do not look bespoke. Being characteristic of the 1980s, it has straight, wide shoulders with a lot of padding with roped sleeve heads. The jacket has a full cut with some shape in the chest and waist. There are two buttons on the front in a medium stance, which was slightly high for the period. It is detailed with patch hip pockets, a patch breast pocket, double vents and two buttons on each cuff.
The fawn trousers complement the warm colours in the jacket. They’re made of medium-weight wool, likely of gabardine because they look flat in both texture and colour. They have a flat front, medium-width straight legs and are worn with a mid brown belt.
Koskov’s cream shirt picks up the cream in the jacket and coordinates with the warm tones throughout the outfit. It has a semi-spread collar, button cuffs, a front placket and a chest pocket, which probably gives it away as being a ready-to-wear shirt. He wears the collar open to wear a day cravat around his neck and tucked inside the shirt.
In a continuity error, he wears two different cravats with this outfit. The first is a paisley in dark brown, green and blue. The second is mid brown with a pattern of squares in multiple colours, possibly green, navy and burgundy. Both perfectly pull together colours from the outfit while using the brown theme of Koskov’s character.
His mid brown tassel loafers, where he hides a piece of paper with important (mis)information, are the perfect complement to the relaxed outfit. The loafers have a moccasin toe and thin leather soles.
This outfit is a superb example of colour coordination, even if the colours are very much of their time. The combination of blue, brown and cream is one that Pierce Brosnan wears on multiple occasions in his first two Bond films, but Koskov wears them differently and in a fun and inspiring way.