Safari Suit in the Iguazu in Moonraker

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If there is one place appropriate to wear safari clothing it has to be the jungle. In Moonraker, Bond wears a putty-coloured cotton drill safari suit that’s quite traditional, at least above the knee. The safari shirt/jacket has a five-button front, including the collar button, and Bond buttons the bottom three. It has four patch pockets with flaps and box pleats, deep side vents, one-button cuffs and shoulder straps. A fitted cut is the biggest difference this safari jacket has from the traditional safari jacket, which has a straight cut and a belt instead. This safari jacket shows little of the 1970’s trends.

The matching trousers are full-cut with a slightly flared leg, the only concession in this outfit to the 1970s. They are worn with a tan, brown and white striped web belt with a D-ring buckle. The only thing really inappropriate with this outfit are the beige slip-on shoes. Waxed leather boots probably would have been a better choice.

33 COMMENTS

  1. The suit in question has always looked pale grey to me, which surely makes it more of a fashion choice. The safari clothing in TMWTGG and Octopussy are definitely khaki and the colour of this one looks quite distinct. The shoes are definitely pale grey and , as you say, completely inappropriate.
    I don’t agree that its not influenced by the fashions of the time. There are far more practical things that the character could have worn for what might be an extended stay in a harsh and dangerous environment.
    Moore has often stated that he viewed the character of Bond as a joke and didn’t take him seriously and in my opinion this is the outfit that confirms that.
    Thank goodness for Douglas Hayward and the eighties.
    Its impossible to imagine any of the other actors who’ve played Bond wearing safari suits in their films ,although Connery and Lazenby both wore them off screen during the 70s.
    The safari jacket was prevalent in the 70s and this is the only time that Bond wears them except for Octopussy in the early 80s. In Octopussy even I can’t argue against it since it is worn on safari..although Moore ruins the effect by once again wearing loafers.
    I’m sorry but Moore’s safari suits are viewed as a terrible demerit by a sizable proportion of the audience. Moore sometimes agrees with that. He may be joking but plenty of actors regret their fashion choices in earlier decades.
    Martin Shaw regrets his permed hair in The Professionals, Patrick Macnee regrets his long sideburns in the final Avengers series, Steven Pacey regrets his bouffant “do” in Blakes Seven and so on.

    • Surely you can see in the pictures here that this suit isn’t grey? The safari shirt in The Man with the Golden Gun is actually olive, and the colour in Octopussy is only a little more saturated than the colour here. Since Moore wore safari clothes in The Saint I can’t attribute the safari clothes in Bond to a 70’s affectation.

      • well there is certainly some confusion over the colour as earlier this morning you described the suit in reply to my comment on another subject:
        “The safari suit in Moonraker is actually khaki cotton drill. “. Shall we compromise and call it stone.
        Yes Moore wore safari clothing in The Saint..when was that 1968?
        Surely its more pertinent to point out that he doesn’t wear it now, wherever in the world he visits.
        Is that because its out of date or is it because its a look he no longer wishes to be associated with? I don’t know but its telling,
        My point remains that there are far more practical things Moore/Bond could have worn in that situation. My personal feeling is that it was Moore following the fashion of the day with scant regard for the context of the scene or the character. Although in Moonraker one can scarcely blame him for ignoring those things.

      • I did call it beige in this article. Khaki, by some definitions, is beige. But I can agree that stone is a fair term for this colour and it’s an appropriate colour for a safari suit. The Saint ran from 1962 to 1969. He was wearing safari jackets in some of the earlier episodes, 10 years before Bond. He also wore safari jackets in The Persuaders, but that was the early 70s. Moore does not have a reason to wear safari suits now. He pretty much only wears dark suits and blazers now and rarely dresses casually in public. When he does dress down it’s in a unicef t-shirt. A safari jacket would not be appropriate for his public appearances. If he could get a unicef-branded safari jacket he’d probably wear it. What do you think Moore should have worn instead in Moonraker? The Fleming outfit of blue shirt and trousers with sandals wouldn’t be appropriate in the jungle since earth tones are warranted. Heavy boots would have been better, but what isn’t practical about a safari suit?

      • If you’ve seen Goldeneye- and I assume you have- then consider the outfit Brosnan wears at the end. A military style waistcoat, shirt, heavy combat trousers and Timberland boots tucked into his trouser legs. Far more practical, believable and within the context of the story.
        Moore’s outfit offers little protection against the elements, is too pale to blend in with his surroundings should the need arise and the slip on shoes- and Moore’s demeanour suggest he’s out for a stroll.

      • Sean didn’t wear safari suits since he didn’t venture into the jungle. When he travelled to Jamaica and the Bahamas the casual clothing was appropriate beachwear. Safari clothes don’t really seem appropriate in Japan either.

        Fair point about preferring combat gear. The safari clothing would have made more sense if it were the 1940s. Your argument would also extend to arms, since all Bond had was a dart gun on his wrist and an weak explosive concealed in his watch. No rifle, and not even a PPK.

  2. Matt, from my recollection, I think he wears some kind of beige suede type shoes (desert boots?) when we first see the full outfit out of doors, when he lands the hang glider in the jungle. From what I can see, the studio filmed part here features a different shoe, like you say, a slip on. I agree that a boot, even the suede ones, might be a better choice.

  3. Perhaps the naysayers might be interested in this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari_jacket. Note the observation, that these were popular since the 1950’s.

    Their heritage prior to that was with British explorers and adventurers visiting the bush or jungle. The safari suit dates back to the colonial era – even to the 19th century, according to The Dictionary of Fashion History. It was, the dictionary says, “clothing created for cross-country expeditions”: a dun-coloured pair of trousers, with a half-sleeved shirt cut of the same cloth, sporting so many pockets that it resembles a jacket. However, I don’t expect that facts will sway ingrained prejudices.

    I got one made in beige/tan cotton for a trip to India in 2010 and got only positive comment from a lot people both native and visitor. I didn’t encounter anyone who viewed it with “derision” but, frankly, I no longer care about these type of opinions. It was very comfortable, practical (on account of the pockets for small items) and, in my opinion, classically stylish. Arguments as to whether George Lazenby or Sean Connery would or wouldn’t have worn them had they continued in the role in the 1970’s are a dead end as they didn’t although Connery wore a sports shirt at the start of Diamonds Are Forever which had patch pockets and a flavour of this type of garment.

    • David,
      my question is not whether Sean, George or Timothy would have worn safari clothing if they had played Bond in the 70s. They might well have as that type of garment was extremely common throughout the decade. As you say speculation is pointless.
      My question is why Sean didn’t wear them in the 60s and they haven’t been worn since Roger left the role.
      The answer I feel is that the fashion for safari clothing ended in the early Eighties and , whatever others might feel, they were aggressively unpopular in the Eighties.
      I am aware of the history of this type of garment. It doesn’t alter the fact that they were ubiquitous fashion items in the 1970s and have been largely unpopular since. An attempt to reintroduce them as a fashion item a few years failed completely.
      However you still miss my point. The outfit, especially with pastel loafers is spectacularly inappropriate for a man infiltrating the territory of an unknown enemy in one of the most dangerous environs on Earth.
      Bond has often been influenced by fashion to the detriment of the series. The safari suits are no better and no worse than Lazenby’s frilly evening shirts.

    • David,

      The reflexive prejudice against safari jackets reminds me of the title of a book that presumed to give men fashion advice: “Paisley Goes with Nothing”. How do these biases get started, I wonder?

  4. I too cannot fully understand the critisism of this outfit, apart from the flared legs of course.
    David, I am very interested in the safari suit you are speaking of. If it’s not too much of an inconvenience, would you mind sharing a picture of the fit with us and information where you had it made?

  5. Whilst flipping through some old pattern books I came across one for a safari jacket, in fact very much like the one posted in that it has no belt and a more fitted silhouette. I’ve been really tempted to make it up and wear it this summer. I’m just not sure about the epaulettes, but it probably wouldn’t be a safari jacket without them.

    I so do not care what people think their opinion is of safari suits, since they tend to follow the perpetuation of three-decade old criticisms of Moore as Bond. I don’t remember anyone saying he looked terrible at the time.

  6. I don’t have a problem with this really, I like it when Bond’s clothes suit the occasion. Sturdier shoes would make this a lot more believable, but the jacket is very functional for his surroundings.

  7. The last line of Roger’s comment sums it up. Hindsight is no arbiter of taste.

    Mr. Please, I will be happy to forward photos of the safari suit to Matt’s e mail when I get a chance. They are on an old computer which I will need to retrieve them from but that’s only a matter of time. My wife has a dressmaker who trained in men’s tailoring. She made it from viewing Moore’s “Octopussy” version.

  8. I really don’t have a problem with this one either. Some of the details are a touch 1979, but, after all, it was 1979. The shoes are bad, and continue Moore’s stubborn preference for slip-ons, no matter what the context. It appears from the photo that there is a sharp crease in the pants – if there is, then that is also typical 1970’s Moore and to the outfit’s detriment. The color is a bit bland, or washed out, but it fits the movie’s entire color scheme, and I prefer it the rather unattractive hue in Golden Gun. But these are minor quibbles. And as for the realism argument put forth above, we are talking Moonraker – the most outrageous, beautiful, and unrealistic of all the Bonds (and I mean that as high praise). If this were For Your Eyes Only, OHMSS, or From Russia With Love, Licence to Kill, or Craig’s duo, then I would be more critical as it is pretty lightweight combat gear. But it fits the movie, the setting, and the scene. And, as I have learned from others on this blog, the character’s British heritage. I think Moore looks pretty cool and comfortable in the first photo.

    However, safari suits/jackets/shirts are inexorably tied to the 1970s. Even the article David M. links to, talks about the safari suit as part of a new trend to 1970s fashion. Just sort of the way it is.

  9. Yes, I’ve also heard that safari suits, though always used for their functional purposes, became fashionable clothing after being made popular by Yves Saint Laurent in the early 1970’s. I don’t know if this is true or not as I am by no means an expert in fashion history, but that seems to be the prevailing myth.

  10. Kyle, the Yves Saint Laurent connection is genuine, alright. Here is one link to verify this;

    http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1984.598.96a-c

    I don’t get this argument about realism in the context of Bond movies and that somehow the character’s clothing must fit some notion of “appropriateness”. “Moonraker” was out of this world Bond, literally. Many criticise Moore for not taking the role seriously enough but, honestly, how could you? Suddenly, after him having him free fall without a parachute, grappling atop a cable car, visiting an opulent French palace in the Mojave desert and stopping a centrifuge simulation machine with an armour piercing dart we are supposed to criticise him for wearing “inappropriate” clothing for a trip up the Amazon. Come on, at least the man was entertaining and his portrayal of an absurd character was FUN!

    There have been numerous examples of Bond sporting questionable clothing for his circumstances; Connery wore a dinner suit to scale the side of a Las Vegas hotel and a three piece pinstripe suit to his denouement on an oil rig with Blofeld in “Diamonds are Forever”, Moore went hang gliding in an immaculate beige suit in “Live and Let Die” and an ivory dinner jacket while being pursued on the dusty streets of Udaipur in India in “Octopussy”. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s entertaining. If you don’t like over the top, entertaining spectacle then don’t go to a Bond film, look at gardening documentaries!

    As for the juxtaposition with this safari suit and Brosnan’s combat outfit worn 16 years later, well, that’s it. It was 16 years later. Prior to the 1990’s this type of clothing wasn’t so often seen. No previous actor wore it and who knows, in years to come maybe it’ll also be criticised by obsessives like us for being “distasteful”.

  11. I too cannot fully understand the critisism of this outfit, apart from the flared legs of course.
    David, I am very interested in the safari suit you are speaking of. If it’s not too much of an inconvenience, would you mind sharing a picture of the fit with us and information where you had it made?
    http://www.celebritysuits.com

  12. DavidJack, thanks.

    Matt should be able to forward you pictures of the safari suit as I e mailed him some in response to “Mr. Please’s” previous request above. As I mention in my previous reply, the item was made by lady dressmaker (who trained with mens tailoring) whom my wife uses in Germany. The safari suit is hanging in a wardrobe over there at present so close ups of just the jacket itself would be a problem until I am back in Germany in late August. She made it having viewed Moore’s “Octopussy” model and she has produced many classic pieces of female tailoring for my wife based on movie images.

  13. Just thought I’d add that Frank Foster told me that he made this — and the one in MWTGG – so it comes from a shirtmaker rather than a tailor.

  14. @ David Marlborough,
    A great thanks to Matt for sharing the photographs of this great outfit.
    If your lady dressmaker is available, would you consider sharing he contact details ? Many thanks in advance. Stan
    (stan@wisnicz.com)

  15. i dont think safari suits has anything to do with YSL. In India it has been worn long before that and is still worn and has never gone out of fashion. now it is worn as a wedding, festive or office attire. i have got a safari suit for myself and have only got extreme praises for it. i also would like to see pictures of safari suit of David Marlborough. my safari suit i made is fully lined with shoulder pads. My question is are the safari suits of Roger Moore lined with shoulder pads – they dont look like? i need to make a new safari suit for summer without lining but i dont know if i should go for what you call half lining and how you go about it – sleeves fully lined shoulder pads, front with some lining and no back lining? should the front be fused? my safari suit has front fusing and even the sleeves is fused so that it doesnt wrinkle. but i have a strong feeling i should go for without linning and no shoulder pads. one more thing is the cut. mostly i have seen here in India the cut it like a shirt. i want it to be like a Blazer cut the sleeves and armhole like a blazer, i dont know what it is called but that gives a great look.

    • This is more like a shirt than a jacket. They have no structure, and thus they probably don’t have a lining. That’s what makes them so good for warm weather. I have a safari jacket that is made from a rather heavy, but breathable, cotton broadcloth. That’s what I would recommend. Roger Moore wears a more structured jacket in The Man With The Golden Gun, and he wears it more like a sports coat. But that jacket looks more dated than his other safari jackets. David’s safari jacket is the shirt type.

  16. hi Matt you said they have no structure and so no lining. then you said – Roger Moore wears a more structured jacket in The Man With The Golden Gun. and what about the above jacket in Moonraker? what do you mean by structured in case of safai? i have checked safaris are made with one piece sleeves and front and back panels like shirt and only a mid seam at back. there are side seams like a shirt. i have no idea of the armhole in the safari. you said Roger Moore’s is a structured one in golden gun then how come it has side slits? if i am wrong please correct me because i have a notion that structure means Blazer like cut – 2 piece sleeves, front, side and back panels. the one i want to stitch i need it to be like Roger Moore’s. i would like to see David’s suit too. i am just watching golden gun now to check the suits – what about the one in which he is sitting in a cycle rikshaw goes to see the bullet maker.

    • The jacket when he visits the bullet maker is the structured one, with a rather 1970’s look to it. Structure means canvassing (or fusing in cheaper garments). The one later in the film is a bush shirt (unstructured) with a single-piece back. The jacket in Moonraker is unstructured as well. The one in Octopussy has two pieces for the back but is still unstructured. That one is made of wool, and it may be partially lined.

  17. thanks Matt. so this Moonraker, beige cotton drill safari suit shown above, you say is unstructured. i didnt realize. yes i say folds going from armhole towards the shoulder so no fusing. but when i look at the way the armhole is cut and sleeves stitched it is exactly the same as a blazer and even the sleeves falls from the top of the shoulder as in a traditional blazer sleeves. the sleeves seem to be 2 piece as in blazer and the front panels too seem to be 2 piece as in a blazer, but then again if it is having side slits how can you have 2 front panels as the front size panel goes right upto the back and it is in this seam that 2 back vents lie. what i feel is that it is having exactly the same cut as a blazer but without lining and shoulder pads. the sleeves are folded and you can see no lining in sleeves. but i still doubt if a small shoulder pad or fusing is used on the shoulder to give that drape or fall to the sleeves – that is the thing which i have not seen in safari suits here. in India this has never gone out of style, i see them wearing at weddings or festivals.

    • Safari shirts are typically made with two piece sleeves. The shoulders and sleeves are cut perfectly for Moore, which is why they look so good. The sleeves are cut a bit larger than the armhole and eased in, which gives it the look you want. Frank Foster made the safari shirts for Moore and I don’t believe he uses fusing. He doesn’t fuse anything in his regular shirts. The cotton drill is rather stiff to being with.

      Here’s a link to a safari shirt pattern. Moore’s only has one front dart.

  18. ok 2 piece sleeves is this exactly cut the same way as blazer sleeves? the front panel is it cut in once piece and back too then is it cut same as blazer at armhole to fit the sleeves. the lime green in golden gun and the one above of Moonraker have the same cut – only golden gun is notch collar 4 buttons and Moonraker is shirt collar 5 buttons. the 2 slits are at the side seams and they are not back vents – please if you can confirm this. i want the same look at the armhole and the cut and drape of sleeves – how do i get this like a blazer cut? can i get this if the full front panel is cut in one piece and no side panel as in coat or blazer? should i send you picture of my dads safari which is without lining but i dont want it that way and my safari which is fully lined and cut is same as a blazer but now i want same kind of fit and cut but without lining can this be possible?

    • I’m not a cutter so I can’t tell you all the technical things, but here’s what I can:

      The green shirt in The Man With the Golden Gun has a one piece back (no yoke), two front panels, no darts and one-piece sleeves that are eased in. There are vents at the side seam. The collar is a camp collar. There is a belt at the back.

      The structured linen jacket in The Man With the Golden Gun has a two piece back (no yoke), two front panels, front darts that extend to the bottom and a dart under the sleeve. It has two piece sleeves and a rear centre vent. It has notch lapels with a downward-pointed collar (more of a 70s leisure-suit-type collar).

      The shirt in Moonraker has a two-piece back with a yoke, two font panels with a front dart that extends to the bottom and a dart under the arm, two piece sleeves. It has vents at the side seams but they don’t have the overlap like a lounge coat’s vents would have. It has a regular shirt collar but with no button.

      The shirt in Octopussy has a two-piece back with a western yoke, two front panels with a dart under the sleeve that entends to the middle of the pocket, single-piece sleeves. It has vents at the side seams. It has a regular shirt collar but with no button.

      Lounge coats don’t always have a side body, and it’s not always necessary for a good fit. That’s why Moore’s have darts on the sides.

  19. Yes. My safari shirt jacket is modelled on the Octopussy version as I provided the dressmaker who made it with a video of the movie and she worked from that. The main obvious difference between mine and Moore’s is that the collar is not so large. It’s in Germay, in my wife’s family home, and I won’t be there again until mid May but I will definitely make some detailed photos of it then. Sadly, I haven’t been on the kind of holiday where I could wear it since my trip to India in 2010.

  20. Perhaps you had to grow up in part of the British Commonwealth to get this, but Bond is showing his contempt for Drax & co by strolling into the jungle site in this suit. A safari suit is a symbol of British military/imperialist prestige, and Sir Roger does it proud. If the film was made earlier, he would be wearing baggy shorts, a pith helmet, and be poking people in the chest with a fly whisk! I’d love a suit like this, minus the flares. As other posters have pointed out, as well fitted safari suit is still thought the height of elegance in certain parts of the world.

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