Kronsteen’s Mod-Inspired Tonik Suit

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SPECTRE agent Number 5 Kronsteen, played by Polish actor Vladek Sheybal in From Russia with Love, is a natty dresser who is very comfortable in his own sense of style. When he is first seen at a chess tournament, he is wearing a Mod-inpsired dark blue Tonik suit. Tonik is a two-tone cloth in a lightweight blend of mohair and wool that has a vibrant sheen, and it is most famously made by Dormeuil, who owns the name Tonik. This cloth was very popular with Mods. The tone-tone look of Kronsteen’s suit is likely from a blend of medium blue and black yarns. Though his suit resembles what many younger people were wearing in 1963, the suit does not look inappropriate on 40-year-old Kronsteen. This is because the suit has a mainstream look overall with a few Mod inspirations.

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The suit jacket has three covered buttons—a popular Mod detail—down the front, and Kronsteen buttons the top two. The shoulders are padded and follow the natural shoulder line, and the jacket is cut with narrow lapels, a lean chest and very little waist suppression. The hip pockets are jetted and there is a single covered button on each cuff. The rear is not clearly seen, but the jacket likely has a short single vent or possibly no vents. The suit trousers have pleats, tapered legs and plain hems.

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Kronsteen’s cream shirt is likely silk and has a plain front without a placket. The shirt’s short point collar and double cuffs are stitched on the edge. Though black bow ties are best worn only with black tie, Kronsteen wears one as his signature look. It’s a narrow batwing diamond shape, possibly in a barathea weave. Kronsteen wears a black silk handkerchief in his breast pocket that is folded with the corners up and then rolled over. His shoes are black lace-ups.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt!

    Kronsteen is indeed one of the better dressed villains. At first I thought that it’s a silk suit he is wearing (like his jacket later in the film) but since I do not have the bluray version I trust your observation.

    I am pretty sure that the shirt is made of silk since there are so many other silk shirt in FRWL: Bond is wearing one at the end of the film and Blofeld’s shirts also seem to be made of silk. Sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish silk from fine cotton but there’s always that characteristic slight sheen it has plus a very special kind of fluid drape. With regard to the shirts FRWL is very close to the literary bond (in the novels you find quite a lot of characters wearing silk shirts – Bond included). IMO silk shirts (and silk suits as well) merit a comeback – not that flashy shiny silks one sometimes sees today but only those with a duller finish (dupioni f.i.).

    Since we are approaching summer time: Wouldn’t an article summarising all of Bond’s silk suits be interesting?

  2. I don’t think that this is generally true. Sure – linen, tropical wool, mohair etc. are more “typical” summer cloths in our time. But it all depends on the weave – if you have silk suit woven in hopsack I think it can serve very well the purpose of a fine summer suit. And of course there are blends of silk and linen / silk and wool etc. which are performing perhaps even better in terms of breathability.

    “In our time” – in 1960s / 1970s pure silk suits were in fact considered being ideal summer suits and therefore it comes as no surprise that we find plenty of them in the Bond films when a setting is located in summer resort etc.

    • Bond wears silk suits where it is warm and sunny, but not hot and humid. I have a silk and linen hopsack jacket that, despite being half-lined, doesn’t breathe well in the summer compared to my pure linen jackets. They have a summery look, but only are comfortable if your summers are warm and not hot.

  3. All right – I can agree to that. Warm and sunny instead of hot and humid. It was only that I couldn’t share the opinion that silk suits are not at all wearable during summer (which is claimed by many prominent authors but IMO not correct).

  4. I suspect that this suit was from of the real life wardrobe of Mr Sheybal.
    Many actors in those days played with their own suits,at most added some feature (in this case the black bow tie).
    This seems the fashionable suit that in 1962-63 a actor as Vladek Sheybal could dress: Sheybal had ever a great fashion trend sense (see his clothes in 70s).

  5. Looking forward to that!
    BTW: Could you post perhaps how the rest of your FF shirts actually turned out?

    Thanks,
    Renard

  6. I have a similar two button suit with a tonik blue/black weave. It is definitely mod inspired, there is a current trend in British suits to go back to a modish look of the mid-sixties currently.

  7. Now that’s more like it! This is a true, mod inspired suit, and a very nice one at that.

    One could argue that it was the Skinhead and Suedehead who made the tonik cloth a real mainstream item during the late 1960’s and early 70’s. But the Mods indeed wore them, though not to that degree.

    Nice post.

  8. The suit doesn’t look inappropriate on 40-year-old Kronsteen because he is slim. A sharp suit is a good incentive to keep in shape….

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