Q’s Glen Urquhart Check Suit in The Living Daylights

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Q has a long tradition of wearing glen check suits, starting with Desmond Llewelyn’s first appearance as Q in From Russia with Love. Most of the time the suits have a button three jacket, and the suits are often three-piece suits. The suit Q wears in his lab in The Living Daylights is very similar to the suit he wears in From Russia with Love in that it’s a three-piece black-and-white glen check suit with a button-three jacket, cut in a very classic and very English style.

This suit is a black-and-white Glen Urquhart check with a light blue overcheck. The suit jacket has natural shoulders with slightly roped sleeve heads, and it is cut with a little drape in the chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket’s natural shoulders go against the trend in the late 1980s for large, extended, padded shoulders, yet Q has very large shoulders himself and more than a little padding would look completely unnatural on him. His natural shoulder line is almost horizontal! The jacket has slanted flap pockets with a ticket pocket, but Q wears the flaps tucked in. However, in a continuity error sometimes the left pocket flap is untucked. Like most classic English tailoring in the 1980s, the suit jacket has double vents. The jacket is detailed with four buttons on the cuffs, and the suit’s buttons are black plastic.

The suit’s waistcoat has six buttons, and Q follows tradition by leaving the bottom button open. The suit trousers are full-cut without pleats or turn-ups. Non-pleated trousers were not very popular in the late 1980s and make Q look outdated to those who followed fashion trends at the time. It’s quite the opposite of what most people think today about trouser pleats, however, the full cut of Q’s trousers through the thigh would still make him look old-fashioned today. Q’s trousers don’t necessarily look outdated so much as they look sloppy.

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With the suit, Q wears a light blue shirt with a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. His regimental tie is black with a double gold stripe. The tie has a motif of silver Prince of Wales’s feathers badges. The Prince of Wales’s feathers is a symbol of Wales that consists of three ostrich feathers emerging from a coronet. The tie also has a motif of red and green roses. The tie is for the Newport Rugby Football Club, for which Desmond Llewelyn played. Q also wears an identification tag pinned to his lapel.

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Q’s tobacco suede two-eyelet derbys are an interesting choice of footwear for a Glen Urquhart check suit worn in London. The English are known for wearing black shoes with their suits in town, so wearing light-coloured suede shoes with his suit is a dandyish, but stylish, choice. The contrast between the shoes and the suit is unfortunately accentuated by Q’s unstylish choice of black socks. Grey or coloured socks would be a better choice to link the shoes with the rest of the outfit. Q is not intended to be a fashionable or particularly stylish character, though he is well aware of the way he is dressed and there is always plenty of charm in his outfits.

28 COMMENTS

  1. The symbol on Q’s tie is the fleur de lis which is the symbol associated to the Prince of Wales. It’s commonly used in the UK for the granting of the Royal warrant on commercial goods such as Turnbull and Asser shirts. It’s also used as a symbol of The Prince’s Trust charity. So basically it’s the Prince’s official symbol, which is consistent with Llewelyn’s Welsh Gaurds background,

  2. Like always, I enjoyed your article. Am I wrong, or does he leave the last 2 buttons of his waistcoat open in the first shot? Is it a mistake, or just something else? Anyway, I like patterns like this: from distance just ”gray”, but when you come closer it becomes a bit more interesting. Thanks!

    • You’re right! It’s probably just a mistake since in all other shots he has only the bottom unbuttoned. Like with the pocket flap error, I don’t think anyone seems to care to make sure Q’s clothes look consistent.

  3. “The Living Daylights” was a very good Bond movie.
    Fresh air after the last period of Roger Moore.
    Dalton in this film is on the Connery footstep.
    I remember my enthusiasm for this “restoration”,at that time.
    Sadly, all was over with “Licence to kill”.

    • The same old stuff: Dalton’s period was “fresh air”. Well, perhaps, if you care for his po-faced, wholly unentertaining but supposed “authentic” portrayal of the character in keeping with the integrity of Fleming’s character, etc, etc, etc…If you care about sartorial elegance (THE REMIT OF THIS BLOG) then his (mercifully) brief tenure was the doldrums for the series. And no, I never saw shades of Connery in Dalton as many seem to maintain.

    • You have right, but at time the departure from boring Moore’s clothes,the more clean suits of Dalton,the ties,made me think to 60s.

    • I personally liked the colour pallette of Bond’s clothes in The Living Daylight – solid or minimally patterned suits and ties with white shirts to provide high contrast. As beautiful as Moore’s ensembles are, I like the idea of Bond’s clothes looking unremarkable – helps him blend in better.

      As a sidenote, in Roger Moore’s excellent book Bond on Bond, he not only makes it a point to praise his successors, but also to abstain from unwarranted criticism of people he doesn’t like. Some of his fans might do well to follow his example.

    • For myself, I must say that when I saw TLD one of the (many) things that pleased me immensely was that Bond dressed like “Bond” again. Greys, navy blues, and blacks (with light beige for warm weather), no double breasted jackets making access to a shoulder holster difficult, more subdued and utilitarian clothes. While not dressed exactly like Fleming’s Bond (that may have been too unfashionable – imagine Dalton in short sleeve dress shirts!) it was a great nod to the source.

    • I don’t like the Moore’s clothes in 80s Bond films.
      In my opinion Moore’s clothes were great only in two movies:
      “Live and le die” and above all “The man with the golden gun”.
      The Angelo period is too much “Italy late 70s”,and clothes of 80s are at the best anonymous.
      The wardrobe od Dalton is far to be perfect,but some suits and coats are reminiscent of 60s,at least for the sober cleanliness .
      At time made a great impression on me…and the Aston Martin,the strong acting,the cold war thematic…
      i remember I thought “Bond is back”!
      The delusion with “Licenze to kill” was great.

    • Dent, to be fair, I don’t dislike Dalton, only his portrayal of Bond which was in marked departure sartorially from his predecessors. Leaving Moore aside I don’t think any of Dalton’s suits in The Living Daylights come close to Connery’s Sinclair suits or Lazenby’s Major ones so I do think the criticism of Dalton’s suits is actually warranted. (I don’t care for his over earnest portrayal either but that’s another matter and I can appreciate that others feel different but placing his ad hoc suits over Hayward’s peerless tailoring, seems, to me, bizarre, to be frank)

    • Suit n-1 have a too low button stance,in my opinion.
      Suit n2 and n3 are beautifull,but Bond is not only a good suit cut in English style.
      Dalton suits are far to be perfect,but the ensenble is much more close to Bond that the Roger Moore’s wardrobe.
      Moore is often a bit fancy in ties and shirt,i don’t think that understand the character’s style.
      Moore is ever himself not Bond.
      Bond wear occasionally three pieces,but his signature is a clean two buttons with a white or pale blue shirt and a grenadine or silk knitted navy or black tie.
      Moore in these pictures is well dressed,but seems a middle age banker,not 007.
      Dalton have passable ready to wear suits,but seems 007.

    • David, I agree with you wholeheartedly that Dalton’s suits were nowhere near the same level as Connery’s, Lazenby’s or Moore’s – since their suits were bespoke and his were off the peg, there is no comparison (although his suits in The Living Daylights are quite nice for mid-late ’80s ready to wear). However, as beautiful as Moore’s suits were, I prefer the colour schemes of Dalton’s because they are more appropriate for the context of the character.

      The film makers often use how Bond dresses himself to signify the plot and his mood – if his tie is loosened, it’s because the situation is desperate (Goldfinger), harrowing (The World is Not Enough), or that he’s relieved (Casino Royale); if his jacket is off, it can indicate that he is vulnerable (The Man with the Golden Gun and GoldenEye); and if he’s not wearing a suit, it can mean he’s in the middle of reconnaissance (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) or combat (The Living Daylights). The filmmakers make these decisions for a reason.

      Just as how he wears his clothes is important to the story, the colour palettes that he chooses are also indicative of the character. Connery, Moore, Dalton (in his first film) and Brosnan all have very simple ensembles with dark solid ties (or in Brosnan’s case, flashy ties to help his cover as a banker) and high contrast shirts, which establish Bond as no-nonsense and clear-headed – at least when not at a casino. In the case of the former three, the colour palette also helps to establish an anonymity that works for his profession as a secret agent.

      As a result, I feel that Dalton’s clothing is not totally without merit, as Dalton and the filmmakers send visual cues about the character (even in Licence to Kill, where that awful dinner suit is clearly meant to help ingratiate him into a tasteless villainous empire). Whilst Moore is exceptionally tailored and has a very clear understanding of how to use colour to flatter his complexion, he dressed Bond as he dressed himself – therefore, whilst his clothes are beautiful, they don’t send the same strong visual cues about the character, other than emphasising his gentleman adventurer nature. The main exception is his excellent choice of white dinner jacket in A View to a Kill, which is wonderful and contrasts him with Max Zorin.

      I am certainly a fan of Moore’s films and his interpretation of the character was both consistent and – after Connery’s portrayal across six films – refreshing. However, as David Mason says, “things must change,” and if Dalton had attempted to replicate Moore’s tone and performance his films wouldn’t have been as memorable or as divisive. Personally, his films are amongst my favourites (in my opinion Licence to Kill is one of the best films in the series, up there with The Spy Who Loved Me), but I understand why some people dislike his interpretation of the character and his films – he portrayed the character the way he wanted to and didn’t play it safe.

      And yes, I think Dalton’s clothing in The Living Daylights were a solid reflection of his characterisation – even if the tailoring wasn’t at the same standard as Moore’s.

    • “Dalton have passable ready to wear suits,but seems 007.” I think Carmelo hit the nail on the head. In TLD, Dalton comes very close to the literary Bond, in his coloring, his physique, his dour, disenchanted demeanor, and, yes, in his understated wardrobe. Everybody concedes that Moore’s clothes were much better tailored than Dalton’s, but beyond that, comparing the two interpretations of Bond is like comparing apples and oranges. Moore was a blond, tanned, gentleman/adventurer/bon vivant who saved the world without breaking a sweat (except, perhaps, in YOLT) and without wrinkling his flamboyant-yet-traditional wardrobe. For my money, Moore was a lot more FUN.

  4. The shoulder fit looks a bit off. Probably because, as pointed out, Llewelyn had squarish shoulders. It’s too bad they couldn’t find a better fit there, but it may be his own clothing (like in in his first appearance) or they just found something off the rack last minute.

    • I agree on the shoulder fit and I don’t think that Desmond’s shoulders are as broad as Matt thinks. However, they are very square. Many English men in the past wore jackets too big for their shoulders with the result that they drop off the arm at the widest part of the natural shoulders thereby creating an artificial drape.

  5. I want to enthusiastically embrace Carmelo’s contention that Dalton and “The Living Daylights” breathed new life into the franchise, after the last few Roger Moore outings. TLD was — absolutely — one of the better films, though the follow-up, “License to Kill,” was a bit of a bleak disappointment. Forgive me, all, for commenting on the films, rather than the clothes. (I think the clothes always look great.) But, let’s face it, with rare exception, the films devolve into unholy, unwatchable dreck by the last half hour. “Skyfall” was better than most, but it fell into the same trap, and was far from the best of the pack. So, I offer one fan’s opinion about the only decent/competent/watchable James Bond movies, in rough order of their merits: “From Russia with Love,” “Dr. No,” “The Spy Who Loved Me,” “The Living Daylights,” “Goldfinger,” “Goldeneye,” “For Your Eyese Only” and just maybe “Skyfall.” (Of course, the cinematographer of this last movie should have been canned, along with the costume designer, on account of the blackened color palette.) I’m not too choosy, really. Give me a competent, not-embarrassing outing — say, “For Your Eyes Only,” and I’ll be happy. Two last points, I don’t remember OHMSS well enough, so I will take my fellow fans’ words that’s its a meritorious offering. And “Thunderball” is surprisingly watchable, if you fast-forward past every, single frame that takes place underwater!

    • Did you honestly just complain about the work of Roger Deakins, cinematographer for Skyfall? The man is a genius! Skyfall probably has by far and away the best camera and lighting work of the series!

  6. Next time you watch this scene, listen to the technicians in the background when Bond says “A keyring finder… surprise me.” They’ve clearly seen a demonstration of this thing before…

  7. I like the light-colored suede shoes and other quirks in his outfit. I think Q’s eccentricity makes him more relatable.

  8. Mark,

    Did you mean “inadequate lighting work?” If this Deakins person is responsible for emulating a vampire movie while making a James Bond flick, then, yes, I hope they banish him. Jesus, you think EON Productions must have a reasonable budget. They needn’t turn Bond into a latter-day “Blade Runner.” May we enjoy and actually SEE some exotic locations, for Chrissakes?

    Walter

    • This is far afield from the topic of this blog, but I must disagree with your assessment of the cinematography in Skyfall. It is, to my eye, the best in the series, with amazing camera-setup after amazing camera-setup, striking visual after striking visual. This gives the film a cinematic, visual beauty rare in this genre.

      Deakins is highly regarded within the industry for his work, and Skyfall was rewarded with multiple nominations for his work from the various film critic organizations and guilds (a better gauge of quality than the Academy). IMO, only Renoir’s work on The Spy Who Loved Me is in the same ballpark as Deakins’ work for Skyfall (Tournier’s work in Moonraker was also excellent if brightly (or overly) lit as was typical of the time period; Hume’s work in the 1980s was beautiful if not particularly striking). The color pallette is darker, suiting the story, and calling to mind the mood of the later Fleming novels such as You Only Live Twice-a literary reference the film explicitly calls upon.

      While I too like the bright location work of earlier Bond films, they were often a bit sloppy, including the camera work from my favorite Bond director, Terence Young. From a technical point of view, I do not think anything in the series surpasses Skyfall.

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