OSS 117’s Light Grey Suit

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The French film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is one of the past decade’s best spy spoofs. Though set in 1955, the film takes inspiration from Sean Connery’s 1960s Bond films, both in the filmmaking style and in the clothing style. Jean Dujardin stars as the fashionable Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117, and he wears a Connery-inspired lightweight grey suit. This blog previously covered the alpaca dinner suit from this film.

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The suits for OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies were beautifully made for Jean Dujardin by Parisian tailor Joseph Kergoat. This light grey semi-solid suit is made from a very lightweight wool or wool and mohair blend. Connery’s Bond is known for his lightweight suits, and this is certainly inspired by Connery’s many examples. Lightweight, open-weave suits are necessary in the hot desert of Cairo, so Bonisseur de La Bath is well-prepared. Light colours such as light grey reflect the sun’s heat rather than absorbs it, but light grey has a more professional look than cream or beige. Light grey is also flattering to Dujardin’s very cool complexion.

The suit jacket has a button three front and narrow lapels that give the suit more of a late 1950s look than when the film was set in 1955. Bonisseur de La Bath fastens either the top two buttons or just the middle button, and the suit is cut in a way that it looks good fastened in both manners. The jacket is cut with soft shoulders, gently roped sleeve heads, a lean chest and little waist suppression. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three buttons on each cuff and a slightly short single vent. The jacket’s buttons are grey plastic to match the suit. The cut of the suit jacket is considerably different from what Connery wore, with three buttons instead of two and less shape through the body. The shoulders, on the other hand, are similar to Connery’s.

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This suit resembles Connery’s Bond suits from the rear

The suit trousers have a darted front, a medium rise and tapered legs with plain hems. By contrast, Sean Connery’s Bond trousers are much different with forward pleats, a longer rise and turn-ups. Though these trousers failed to copy Connery’s trouser style, they also failed to copy what was popular in the mid 1950s, which would have been in line with what Connery wears in his Bond films. Bonisseur de La Bath also wears a belt with his suit trousers, whilst Connery’s trousers always had “Daks tops” button-tab side-adjusters.

Bonisseur de La Bath’s white cotton shirt is made in an entirely classic style, with a spread collar that has a generous half-inch of tie space, double cuffs and a front placket. Such a shirt could easily belong to any decade of the past 70 years. His narrow tie is an elegant brown and white check tied in a windsor knot, though the tie is quite un-Bond-like and looks dated now. But like Connery in his early Bond films, Bonisseur de La Bath wears a folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket.

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The black sunglasses are a modern pair from Dior Homme. I am no eyewear expert, and I do not know if Christian Dior himself designed glasses in this style in the 1950s. At least the sunglasses are from a designer brand that was around in the 1950s.

The black shoes are the Crockett & Jones “Selborne” model, which is a a semi-brogue oxford. Semi-brogue oxfords are ornate shoes with closed lacing, a toe cap and heel counter. Every seam is double-stitched with perforations, and the toe cap has a medallion. The bottoms of the soles were dyed black.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. To be honest, I don’t see much here to admire at all. Ok, they nailed it with the colour but that’s about it. Smacks of producers who said “how can we channel the Connery, early Bond look” then couldn’t be bothered to even do proper research! The result is a mundane suit (the lapel doesn’t look good to my eye at all) in a 3 button style which Connery never actually wore and accompanied by a chain sore shirt and very un Bondian tie (well, Brosnan’s were superficially similar but that wasn’t their intention, I’m sure).

  2. In a more wise world this should have been the silhouette of the years 2000s-2010s, not that ugly skinny & short parody of the 60s.

  3. I like it. I have always liked 3-button suits and light grey suits and Dujardin’s suits in this film are a fine example of good French tailoring. I also recommend the Lazenby dinner shirt reference in the sequel (whereas the suits reference Paul Newman’s Harper in that film).
    As a (French) fan of the film, I may add that the director stated it was intended as a film set in 1955 and filmed in 1965, hence the voluntary anachronicisms (ie the Facel convertible car issued only in the 1960s and the fashions).

    The shot from the rear is surprising, it could be Connery in Anthony Sinclair circa 1962 !

  4. The suit cut is very similar to suits that Don Draper wore in Mad Men. He often wore three button suits in the early seasons. Also he often wore light grey suits during the summer months. His suits in the early season had a less suppressed waist.

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