The Tan Safari Suit in Octopussy

19

Octopussy-Safari-Suit

None of Roger Moore’s infamous safari suits are identical. The safari suit in Octopussy is one of the most classic, being in a sandy tan, and it doesn’t have the flared 1970’s trousers to date it. It’s now 1983, and Moore has continued to wear safari suits. And why not? It’s a classic piece of English clothing, and most appropriate for the safari that Bond finds himself being hunted in.

Frank Foster made the shirt-jacket of a plain-weave worsted wool suiting. Wool in plain weave is very comfortable in warm weather. Being of worsted wool this doesn’t wrinkle as much as a more traditional cotton or linen woukd. Though cotton or linen would be more comfortable against the skin, wool is very durable and looks great on screen. The tan colour is excellent camouflage against the Monsoon Palace’s stone.

Octopussy-Safari-Suit-2

The shirt-jacket is tailored like a shirt, as a safari jacket should be. But the cut is more complex than a typical shirt. It has two front panels, two back panels and a western yoke across the shoulders with a point in the middle. The front panels have darts under the arms that extend forward to the middle of the hip pockets, and the side seams are pushed back and have deep vents. There are four buttons down the front, on a wide placket. The collar is a formal-shirt-type point collar, but larger and without a button. The front has four patch pockets with box pleats and pointed button-flaps. The sleeves end in shirt-style cuffs, fastening with a single button. Completing the safari shirt look are the essential shoulder straps.

The matching trousers are made by Roger Moore’s tailor for Octopussy Douglas Hayward and have a flat front and straight legs. Here in light brown are Moore’s usual—but inappropriate—slip-on shoes.

A close-up of the open-weave cloth and Seiko
A close-up of the open-weave cloth and Seiko G757 digital watch

19 COMMENTS

  1. As we all know, Moore’s safari suits have taken a lot of abuse over the years. Yet, as Matt points out, it’s a “classic piece of English clothing.” So why the tension? I believe that it results from the combination of Moore’s flamboyant take on 007 to a piece of clothing that appears very “costumey” to the modern eye. The result is, some of Moore’s safari rigs seem a bit contrived. But not this one. It’s being worn in an appropriate situation based on the climate and the surroundings, so in my opinion it works very well.

  2. This is probably my favourite of all Moore’s 007 safari suits and as you say perhaps the most timeless. It was this model which I chose as the template when I got mine made, tan too, although in 100% cotton and it didn’t wrinkle at all either. I wore mine with dark brown, soft leather moccasins and the whole outfit was very comfortable and brought nothing but compliments.
    In India the safari suit is not an uncommon sight (although not often so well finished as Moore’s version) and was, until as recently as a decade ago, considered acceptable even in business circles. Not surprising given the country’s colonial past and the climate.
    I can see what you mean from the close up and the suit’s appearance overall, however, I still find this idea of “worsted wool” slightly dubious and I wouldn’t always take everything Foster says as read.

  3. The wool tropic cloth is more comfortable for high temperature than linen or cotton. Maybe that is tropic.

    • You’re quite right. Several armies issued uniforms in tropical wool to their forces. They found that they breathed better and lasted longer then the cotton equivalents. As Matt said, the slip-on shoes are clearly inappropriate for running about in a jungle. Bond is a captive at this point, and Khan and Gobinda are past being caring hosts – they just want Bond dead ASAP. I did a little research on Ferragamos, which Bond seemed to favour. My female friends told me they are the Rolls-Royce of shoes, and that they would run into a burning house to save their Ferragamos. I have no reason to believe the male Ferragamos are built to a lower standard. The Seiko:- I’ll spare you my views on product placement deals, but is it so terrible that the ordinary man can afford a Bond watch?

      • Ferragamo makes very good shoes (depending on the line), but they are far from the best. If Connery actually wore shoes from John Lobb St. James’s those are the best. The John Lobb Paris shoes from Casino Royale are the best of the modern Bond shoes, with Crockett & Jones and Church’s on par with some Ferragamo shoes. The ones I usually see in department stores are not as good.

      • I like Ferragamo (surprise, surprise) shoes and I have a number of examples of their loafer styles. Cole Haan make a great, slightly less pricey, version too. Both are great shoes but “Rolls Royce” is always somewhat debatable. One man’s “Rolls Royce” in terms of suiting etc. might well be Tom Ford whereras mine would be a vintage Hayward.
        I would love to get my hands on some vintage Ferragamo luggage like he had when he arrived at his hotel in Udaipur earlier in the movie though!

      • Matt, you’re right. The “Rolls-Royce” line was OTT, too much influenced by female friends views on their SF shoes. On top of that, SF hawks out its brand to franchise holders on a huge scale. We all know what that practice did to great houses like Cardin and YSL. Still, the SF shoes Bond wore in the 70’s/80’s would have been very costly, exclusive items.

  4. Although I am usually not a fan of Moore’s safari clothing, I like this one a lot. The colour is much better than the olive or very pale grey of the others outfits, and there’s no flared leg. The watch though… a digital watch has really none of the elegance of a numeral watch I think, whatever the brand may be.
    There’s still something that puzzles me. If Moore was such a fan of safari outfits, why didn’t he wear at least once a classic, “full” safari jacket -I mean with a belted waist ? It has even more style than this outfit, and it’s a a classic look. I reminds me of Clark Gable in Mogambo…

    • Le Chiffre, he did wear examples of safari jackets of the type you are referring to in “The Saint”, “The Persuaders” and the movie “The Sea Wolves”

  5. I completely agree with FS and David. For once, the safari suit looks more timeless, and perfect for the setting. Though Roger and those shoes….

    • I guess that’s probably Moore’s habit of wearing slip-on shoes with almost every kind of outfit that made me dislike lots of them…

      • At least he never tried to wear sandals with a suit. Fleming’s Bond, on the other hand…

  6. Excellent timing on this thread, I too am in search of the grail of the Tan Safari suit. I had one in the 70’s and I miss it terribly. I see some posters have had them made- are there any sources out their in retro clothes world one may know?

      • If anyone is visiting London then probably a good port of call would be Frank Foster who made the originals for Moore. I would actually have had him make one for me along with an order for shirts only that I already have my own version and little occasion to wear that!

  7. In Live and let die which I saw yesterday Roger Moore tells M. that he is sorry that agent Paine was killed because they shared the same bootmaker. So has to be custom shoe maker I guess, defintely not Berluti most probably John Lobb.

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