As summer is approaching, this is the season of mohair. While many people turn to linen and cotton suits for warm weather, mohair is a much dressier alternative that is often forgotten.
Mohair is the fibre from the Angora goat, and it is known for its sheen, making it appropriate for more formal garments such as suits and dinner suits. It also works well for dressier odd trousers. Mohair’s sheen is elegant and subtle; it does not have a shiny or glossy finish.
Mohair has a sheen because it is a stiff fibre, which also makes it wrinkle-resistant, hard-wearing and cool-wearing. These properties make it an ideal suit for James Bond, who travels, needs something that can hold up to his rough lifestyle and is comfortable in the warm locales he travels to. It will not wrinkle in light weights, making it the ideal warm-weather suiting. Fabrics with mohair are ordinarily woven in a plain weave or a hopsack weave to maximise their breathability.
Because of its stiffness, mohair is usually mixed with wool to give it a better hand and make it less rigid. Sometimes it is mixed with cashmere and silk. Kid mohair, from young Angora goats, is softer than mohair from more mature goats but retains the desirable properties of regular mohair, though it is more expensive. There is no standard wool to mohair ratio. 10 to 35 percent mohair is common, though Dormeuil makes a 90% mohair cloth.
Unlike other cool-wearing suitings like linen and lightweight cotton, mohair need not be limited to warm weather. Year-round it is appropriate for dressier occasions, particularly in the evening.
Mohair blends differ from other luxury fabrics in that they have a rougher hand the typical wool fabric. People often prize high Super-number wools, cashmere and silk for their soft hands. Mohair, on the other hand, is not as appealing when handling a swatch or a suit on the rack. Instead of for its hand, mohair is worth the extra cost for its luxurious appearance and its superior performance.
Mohair is most associated with the 1960s when flashier suitings were trendy, particularly within Mod culture. Sean Connery’s James Bond started wearing mohair blends in Dr. No, both in his dinner jacket and in at least one suit that he wears in Jamaica. Mohair helps him feel more comfortable in a suit in Jamaica’s heat.
In Thunderball Bond visits the Bahamas, where mohair suits shine, both literally and figuratively. The sheen of Bond’s mohair is difficult to miss in both his midnight blue dinner suit and his grey semi-solid suit. Both come alive under the artificial lights in the evening, for a flashier nightlife style. The grey suit is typical of mohair suitings, which are woven with two different shades or colours to enhance the cloth’s sheen with an iridescent effect.
Roger Moore continued wearing mohair blends as Bond for both his dinner suits and his lounge suits for the evening. His marine blue suit in The Man with the Golden Gun is likely made of a wool and mohair blend. The combination of the vivid colour and sheen separate this suit from a daytime business suit.
The crisp sheen of Moore’s double-breasted dinner suits in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker suggest that these are made of mohair blends. He wears both in warm locations—midnight blue in Egypt in former and black in Rio de Janeiro in latter—where he takes advantage of mohair’s cool-wearing traits.
Pierce Brosnan wears dinner suits in wool and mohair blends in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough, in black and midnight blue, respectively. The cloths were provided by William Halstead, a weaver in Bradford, England, who specialises in mohair.
Daniel Craig maintains Bond’s mohair tradition in a few of his Bond films, first with suits in mohair and wool blends in Quantum of Solace. For the utmost in luxury, his midnight blue dinner suit in the film is made of a mohair and cashmere blend by Taylor & Lodge, a weaver in Huddersfield, England. Mohair blends return in Spectre, with two grey suits in wool, mohair and silk. His black evening trousers in the film are made of mohair and wool grain de poudre.