Le Chiffre’s Velvet Dinner Jacket

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Le-Chiffre-Velvet-Dinner-Jacket

Although there was an attempt to make Mads Mikklesen’s Le Chiffre in Casino Royale a less flamboyant villain, at the poker table he wears a flashy black velvet dinner jacket with a black shirt. Costume designer Lindy Hemming describes Le Chiffre and his dinner jacket in Casino Royale‘s production notes: “Le Chiffre is a menacing man who lives in a twilight world. He’s not flashy, he’s secretive. He isn’t a man who is much interested in clothes, but what he wears is expensive and luxurious. His Brioni evening suit is velvet, to emphasize richness.” The all-black outfit, nevertheless, is something that identifies him as a villain. The button two dinner jacket has black grosgrain silk facings on the peaked lapels, breast pocket welt, hip pocket jettings and buttons. The jacket has four buttons on the cuffs, and Le Chiffre leaves the last one open. Beyond the velvet cloth, the dinner jacket breaks from tradition with a second button on the front, pocket flaps and a single vent.

Le-Chiffre-Velvet-Dinner-Jacket-2The button four waistcoat matches the black velvet dinner jacket, with the back in a black silk lining. Though proper black tie waistcoats have either three or four buttons, the buttons should be spaced close together and not further apart as they would on a button five or button six daytime waistcoat. The buttons on Le Chiffre’s waistcoat are spaced apart like on a daytime waistcoat, and as one would on a daytime waistcoat Le Chiffre leaves the bottom button open. On the traditional low-cut black tie waistcoat all of the buttons should be fastened. Even though Le Chiffre’s waistcoat is poorly done, four buttons are better than the all-too-common five or six buttons that people often wear today.

Le-Chiffre-Velvet-Dinner-Jacket-3The wool trousers contrast the dinner jacket in texture, if not in colour as well. The trousers look dark grey in some shots and photos, but they are probably black. Velvet reflects far less light than other fabrics do, so comparing different black materials can be difficult. Le Chiffre wears the trousers with braces. The black dress shirt from Turnbull & Asser has a spread collar, double cuffs, a pleated front and a fly placket that hides the buttons. He wears a black bow tie and black calf derby shoes.

Le-Chiffre-Velvet-Dinner-Jacket-4Le Chiffre also has a black overcoat, but we only see him carrying it and not wearing it. He also has a grey scarf with crosswise stripes, and it’s most likely cashmere.

Le Chiffre’s black tie outfit sold for £20,000 at Christie’s in South Kensington at “50 Years of James Bond: The Auction”, which took place from 28 September 2012 to 8 October 2012.

23 COMMENTS

  1. On his yacht Le Chiffre wears clothes which are also quite luxurious. I remember a black suit made of dupioni silk if I am not mistaken (I don’t have the blue ray version but I think I saw the typical silk slubs). The twiligth thing is correct – just think of his yacht: The interior is very cool and smooth with black as dominant colour.

  2. I love this suit.

    Although it goes against pretty much everything about black tie, I feel it fits the character perfectly. The beautiful black silk encapsulates the wealth of LeChiffre, and the way he uncaringly drapes it over rusted chains in the ship is the perfect example of Hemming’s comment that he doesn’t care about it. So rich that such an item is expendable.
    Very good costuming.

  3. I like this outfit very much. Not as something I would wear, but as something Le Chiffre should wear. The only problem I have, is the open last button of the cuffs. This button isn’t tailord to be open like that of the waistcoat. And leaving it open just to show that it is a working button seems a bit immature.
    But anyway, I don’t have to understand fashion. I just have to watch, enjoy, talk about and sometimes be a little part of it.

  4. Like the outfit but I always thought that you would sweat bullets in a velvet suit while playing high stakes. Haha

  5. Interesting post on the outfit Matt.

    I used to think the whole all black look to be very cool. I used to wear it to go to weddings and such.
    What I like about this look is how even though everything is black, there is still some subtle differences between the shades (the lapel facings and the shirt look different than the jacket). I know wearing a dinner jacket like this is very untraditional and I wouldn’t wear it nowadays but I think it matches the character quite well (well the scowl helps I guess).
    Another outfit of his I like is when he is visiting the warlord. I think he is wearing a charcoal suit with a maroon shirt. It’s a very dark outfit too but I like the pairing of charcoal with maroon.

    • Pointing out the differences between the black of the shirt and lapels and the black of the jacket is an important one. It’s not that it’s a different black but it’s a contrast of materials. Black silk and cotton still reflect a little light, whilst black velvet is a black hole from which no light escapes. Though I wouldn’t wear all black either——nor would I advise anyone else too—velvet makes the outfit work because it creates more contrast than a typical wool dinner jacket would.

      I agree that Le Chiffre’s clothes match the character. I often see people dressed like him in a maroon shirt, but they never pull it off.

  6. Velvet dinner jackets have become very popular in the last few years – was Le Chiffre’s look based on an emerging trend or a trailblazer?

    I can’t say I am a fan of the all black black tie look. It is pulled off here about as well as it can be.

    The jacket would be significantly improved, in my view, if it was a single buttoner and did not have silk facing on the breast pocket, which always looks a bit naff to me. I tend to prefer velvet jackets to have self faced lapels too. On the other hand, I own a black velvet evening jacket with silk lapels and two buttons which I have worn to a black tie event – so who am I to criticise?

  7. I think this is a great look for a Bond villain and very well-executed by Hemming/Mikklesen, which is not to say that it should be emulated (unless one is himself a nefarious schemer!) I’m glad that Bond’s black tie ensembles, with the notable exceptions of Licence to Kill and one of the examples from Diamonds are Forever, have always been kept to a classic and elegant style.

  8. If we’re recording Bondian black tie misfires here, I never cared for the ruffle shirt in OHMSS. Nor the highland formal garb either, but he might get to slide on that as he was ‘in character’, despite ‘Hillary Bray’ seeming to be more upper crust English than highland Scottish.

  9. That is probably one of the best suits I have seen in a movie. It could not be the best thing to wear in real but it suits his character really well. As I always think, a suit should reflect the person’s personality. So, the color and style of your clothing should be what you think is best for you not what’s trending or most people prefer.

  10. All black attire really speaks to the soul of this fiend. Even Mr. White and General Obanno reached their limits with Le Chiffre and tried to kill their colleague. I can’t think of another villain of Le Chiffre’s seniority facing such a scenario. Velvet being prone to creasing – is that why smoking jackets are made of it, but not dinner suits?

  11. Such a great look that Mikkelsen sported perfectly. Although it must have been quite hot to wear.
    Matt, do you know if the trousers are pleated or flat fronted ? And where did you see that he wore braces ? I am just curious, I must have seen this movie 8 times and never could make it out !

  12. Was his waistcoat also made of velvet? You perhaps imply that it does “The button four waistcoat matches the black velvet dinner jacket”, but I have not found any sufficiently clear or detailed reference photographs and even studying the blu-ray footage I can’t quite tell.

  13. Thank you for the link and for your article, Matt.
    That is interesting, I always thought the dinner jacket had no buttonhole in the lapel, judging by the pictures of the movie, but looking at the auction picture, it indeed has one !
    I have a question about the trousers : is there a moment in the movie, where you can see he is wearing braces ? Or is it just because the Christie’s description mentions it and they are not visible in the movie at all ?

    And may I also suggest Le Chiffre’s first outfit with the maroon shirt as something to cover for the future ? 🙂

  14. You may be interested to see this blog post about the Chiffre’s and other suits made by Chris and Eddie Kerr for Bond villains. According to them it is not Brioni at all.

    • They must be mistaken about this outfit. Christie’s sold this whole outfit and they said it is labelled “Brioni” and has the Brioni lining. I don’t doubt that they made the other suit.

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