The Persuaders: A Suede Safari Jacket

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The 1970s television show The Persuaders features Roger Moore wearing unexpected twists on classic menswear items. One example of this is a classic tan safari jacket unusually made in suede instead of the traditional cotton drill. Suede precludes Roger Moore from wearing this on a proper safari in the jungle. But unlike the traditional safari jacket, this jacket can be worn in many places that a typical suede blouson can be worn. It would not be appropriate in London and other large cities, but a suede safari jacket can be worn anywhere there is nature present—in the forest or by the sea—and mild weather. However the jacket will be sure to make a statement anywhere it is worn. In The Persuaders, Moore wears it either in cities on the French Riviera or in the English countryside in the episodes “Overture”, “Angie, Angie”, “Chain of Events” and “To the Death, Baby”. Moore wears this jacket the most in “Chain of Events”, and the jacket and outfit he wears with it featured in this article are taken from that episode.

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This suede safari jacket has a mostly traditional look apart from the material. There are four buttons down the front, starting at the top of the chest just under the collar. The collar is made in a shirt style with two pieces, but the collar band is short and does not have a button. The collar band exists on this jacket only to help the collar stand up. The front of the jacket has four square, flapped patch pockets, each with box pleat in the centre. The pointed Western-shape of the button-down pocket flaps, especially when on a suede jacket, lends a bit of a cowboy look to the jacket. The front of the jacket, the collar and the pockets have pick stitching on the edges.

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Though there isn’t much shape tailored into the jacket, the shoulders have a little structure and the sleeveheards are roped. The jacket cinches at the waist with a matching suede belt. Though the jacket is likely made bespoke for Roger Moore, the belt has a wide range of adjustment with seven holes. The buckle is brass in a centre-post style. The back of the jacket has a pointed Western yoke that matches the shape of the pocket flaps and a deep single vent that extends up to the waist. The sleeves have decorative button-down straps at the wrists, and the shoulders have straps to give the jacket the full safari flavour.

For those opposed to safari jackets, you can take away the shoulder straps and the belt, tailor some shape into the waist, and you’re left with a fine and practical suede jacket. At the heart of this safari jacket is simply a fine jacket. It is possible that Roger Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle made this, but it is more likely that a specialised leather costumier made this jacket.

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With this safari jacket, Roger Moore wears beige wool gabardine trousers. Though there isn’t very much contrast between the colours of the jacket and the trousers, there is a great deal of contrast in the textures of suede and gabardine wool. This textural contrast is enough to make the pairing of this jacket and these trousers successful despite the similar colours. The trousers are the usual Cyril Castle model that Moore wears throughout The Persuaders, which were made by his trouser maker at the time, Richard W Paine. The suit trousers have a dart on each side of the front, and an offset jetted frogmouth pocket cuts through the dart. The trousers legs are straight from the knee down. Moore wears the trousers with a belt.

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At first Moore wears nothing under the jacket, meaning it is likely fully lined so it feels smooth against the skin. With nothing under the jacket, Moore only leaves the top button open. Later he wears a white cotton interlock long-sleeve polo neck under the jacket and leaves the top two buttons of the jacket open. The polo neck doesn’t have a very tall collar, and Moore does not roll it down all the way so it sits up higher on his neck.

With this outfit, Moore wears tall, dark brown zip boots with a strap and buckle at the top.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Very good, good twist on a classic. I could see it being re-tailored and turned in a regular jacket though, the four flapped patch pockets is a style often found on casual jackets these days. You often see cotton twill or drill jackets in black or navy with a shirt-jacket style just like a safari jacket with out a belt or shoulder straps as Matt as suggested.

  2. People other then Roger Moore still wore safari suits well into the 1980’s and as David Marlborough has pointed out they still do in India and other such places. Prince Charles wore a beige cotton drill short sleeved safari shirt and matching trouser on his trip with Lady Diana to Australia visiting Uluru in the very hot and humid Northern Territory in 1983. The hey day of safari fashions of the 1970’s was well over by then, even though Charles had probably seen Octopussy that year I’m sure. But Charles wore an appropriate outfit for the climate and setting.

  3. I have always liked Moore’s safari jackets/outfits. I think that if he had worn odd trousers with the jackets in Moonraker and Octopussy then people would likely not object as much. It works in TMWTGG where he wears the jacket like a shirt with rolled up sleeves. Since wearing casual jackets and trousers of the same fabric is so rare today, Moore’s safari jackets and his blue LALD ensemble and also Lazenby’s golfing outfit and Connery’s blue thunderball shirt/pants looks a bit odd. I have worn safari-esque shirt/jackets for many years and I truly don’t think that the problems people have with Moore’s jackets is the jackets themselfes but rather them being worn with matching trousers, something not seen today, and so people wrongfully associate it with the 70’s leisure suits. It’s a shame.

    The jacket here is much more like a jacket than the ones Moore wears as Bond, wich where more like shirts. I like it, but I feel the trousers should have been dark brown or olive instead. Especially in this case where the trousers and jacket are not the same exact colour or material. It would make the jacket stand out on it’s own a bit more, whereas here it looks quite mismatched and a bit boring.

  4. Thanks for this post, Matt. This has always been one of my favourite of Moore’s safari jackets because, aside from the material used, it’s a very classic version of the safari jacket. Ryan’s bang on when he says that numerous personalities wore these jackets outside of the 1970’s where, yes, safari influenced clothing reached it’s peak of popularity along with so called leisure suits (which likely wouldn’t have existed were it not for the safari wear which this fashion took its influence from).

    For example, Larry Hagman’s JR wore a safari jacket, with belt etc, right until the turn of the 1990’s when “Dallas” finished and George Peppard wore one in the early to mid-1980’s when he headed TV’s “A Team”.

    So, of course, Moore’s jacket was bang on, fashion forward for 1970 but he wore a belted version as Simon Templar 5 years earlier which Matt covered previously. Criticising these is akin to criticising trench coats for being an 1980’s fashion because, although their popularity peaked at that time, their heritage stretched back long before that.

  5. Hi Matt. I really enjoy your work. Have you ever considered writing about Tony Curtis’ suits from The Persuaders? To me some of them and his overall style seems rather interesting, even though it would be totally out of time nowadays. One of his suits I really like is the double breasted stripe suit in episode 23.
    Greetings from Sweden.

    • I’ve thought about it, but it’s generally so far from James Bond’s clothes that I haven’t. If I can figure out which suits Dimi Major tailored for him (if any for that series), I may write about those for the further Bond connection.

  6. Safari wear is rooted in clothing history, so if tastefully done; they never go out of fashion. Be good to see a few suits Dimi Major tailored for Curtis. I believe he did Tony’s suits and jackets as far back as the film Don’t Make Waves (1967), the style and cut is very similar to Major’s so I’d say he did them. I’d love to see more Persuaders posts in the future and from The Saint. The double breasted striped boating blazer Moore wears in season 6 would be good to see, Moore wore it with a turtleneck casually and more formally with a shirt and tie. a possibility Matt ?

  7. A jacket in green forest or dark brown would have been better..the tan color is very delicate and gets dirty easily.
    More,a dark color would have been more appropiate for the british country.

    • Carmelo,
      The jacket only appeared in 4 episodes and 3 of them were set on the French Riviera. Only this episode took place in England.

      Off topic, I have noticed from a lot of these Persuaders posts how bad Moore looks aside from the initial episodes filmed in Summer on the Med. In the rest, like this, he looks very pasty and washed out looking. No wonder Cubby and Co. told him to get his act together ahead of his Bond debut (which he did)!

    • I think he let himself go a little, he lost his usual tan that he always had in The Saint. He was drinking on set as they used real champagne and probably not swimming as much as he usually does, which always kept him fit on location when filming the Bonds. Moore was never a big gym goer but I have seen a lot of stills from the 1960’s with him working out on weight machines and using dumbbells. He said in interviews that he prefers to do exercise in the morning to start the day, sit-ups, push ups and jogging. Well that was probably more during the Bond Years.

    • The photo of Roger Moore on the link from Mike shows how fit he was in the 1960’s and most of the 70’s until high living started to catch up with Moore. I seen a lot of photos from his Saint days with him using Lat Pulldown machines, doing situps on a slant board, or using dumbbells. I think people unfairly say Moore wasn’t a strong man, just because he isn’t as virile looking as Sean Connery. Lee Marvin said he was accidentally punched by Roger making the film Shout With The Devil in 1976. Lee said he felt the punch for days and that Moore was made of granite. I think Lee underestimated him. What do you think David Marlborough ?

    • I would’ve thought Marvin’s legendary capacity for booze intake would have shielded him against anything. I did hear that, while they were making The Wild Geese, legendary hell raisers Richard Harris and Richard Burton were drank under the table on occasion by Moore who was able to appear a lot fresher the following morning. But, regarding his fitness overall, I’d say he had to keep fit for most of his roles within the parameters of the time which weren’t as excessive as nowadays. This is why his Persuaders period is so glaring. Still, there was no trace of it 2 years on and he must be at his trimmest while filming TMWTGG.

  8. I’Ve read that about Moore drinking Harris and Burton under the table and appeared not even to be hungover the next day. Moore probably fortified with a good dose of water and aspirin before bedtime. I’m sure he did something in secret. He lost the fittest and leanest in all the Bind in TMWTGG. But he looks noticeably thinner in AVTAK than Octopussy.

  9. To go slightly off topic for a moment, I’ve just seen this article on the BBC news website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37481440 – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touring a Canadian rain forest during the state visit, and the Duchess (Kate Middleton) is wearing a pretty traditional safari jacket.
    As she is something of a fashion leader, I wonder if this will lead to any sort of a revival of the garment, among ladies at least.

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