We lost another great actor from the James Bond series on Thursday, Patrick Macnee. Macnee played Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View to a Kill, but he’s most well known for playing the secret agent John Steed in The Avengers. In the sixth series, Macnee’s wardrobe was updated with new suits in the style of his fourth series signature velvet-collar suits. In these new suits, designed by himself, a long single vent replaced the double vents and slanted or straight flap pockets replaced the slanted jetted pockets. Some of the new suits have breast pockets. In memory of Patrick Macnee let’s look at one of his grey three-piece suits from The Avengers‘ sixth series.
This mid-grey flannel three-piece suit made by Bailey and Weatherill of Regent Street first features in the second episode of the sixth series, “Game”. “Game” is the show’s first episode after Diana Rigg’s departure and the second episode with Linda Thorson, and it features new opening titles with Macnee wearing this same grey suit. The suit jacket has a traditional English equestrian cut, with strong straight shoulders, a clean chest, a closely fitted waist and a very flared skirt.
The suit jacket continues in the same style as the previous velvet-collar suit jackets with a single button on the front, a single button on each cuff and a dark taupe velvet collar. The skirt has a long single vent, which adds to the equestrian look of the suit. The jacket has no breast pocket and slanted hip pockets with flaps. The earlier suits in this style didn’t have flaps on the hip pockets. The pocket flaps make this jacket look bottom heavy due to the lack of a breast pocket.
The six-button waistcoat has a straight bottom and two welt pockets. The trousers have tapered legs, a flat front and likely slanted side pockets. The suit’s buttons are grey plastic.
With this suit in “Game”, Steed wears an ecru shirt with a spread collar, which looks better with Steed’s round face than the wider cutaway collars that he previously wore looked. The shirt has rounded two-button cuffs, and Steed only buttons the second button. The tie is woven with magenta in one direction and sky blue in another direction like a Solaro cloth, making parts of the tie look sky blue in parts and magenta in other parts, depending on the angle you look at it. The tie is tied in a windsor knot. We don’t see the shoes, but they are likely the grey-green short chelsea boots that he wears with this suit in other episodes.
In the opening titles, Steed wears periwinkle shirt with a spread collar and button cuffs. His tie is a printed pattern in pink, orange and white, and he ties it in a windsor knot. The tie is pinned about an inch below the knot with a deep red polished stone tie pin. He also adds a red carnation in his lapel.
WIth the suit, Steed wears his trademark bowler hat and carries an umbrella. This bowler is in grey with a grey ribbon to match the suit. The umbrella has a grey canopy, also to match suit, and a light whangee curved handle.
I understand he was a good friend of Christopher Lee. Interesting that they would both die within so many weeks.
I’ve never seen any of The Avengers but I’d be interested in doing so. Just the suits you’ve covered here have seen to that.
I really like this one, it seems like a good mix of current fashions, classic style, and personal style. The red silk dinner suit might have been a bit much for me, but I might happily wear this one myself, perhaps with a breast pocket though.
That said, I’m not big on pearlescent fabrics, but I can’t fault its uniqueness! All in all I think it’s a good suit.
Patrick and Sir Christopher became friends as classmates in primary school, first working together in the school version of macbeth, aged 8. Patrick played the title role.
Patrick’s passing is a great loss to his many fans. Thankfully we have his performances- including the iconic John Steed- to cherish.
I think I might have commented before that – for me – Steed’s signature style jackets have just a little too much going on, in terms of unusual features, to work as a normal suit jacket, for me. That said, Patrick Macnee’s sense of style and the overall impression left by his suits – a very clean, neatly cut and shapely 60s look – was one that I loved growing up in the 90s and was a massive contrast to the general double breasted generously cut look that was most common at the time. To be honest, I think I preferred the style of the suits and the look of the series to most of the episodes I watched. Patrick Macnee and his suits were a definite influence on me when younger and I’m sure his style will continue to live on.
Steed was the best dressed guy on TV in the 1960s. And he drove a 1920s Bentley – fantastic!
Even as a kid I realized he was super stylish, as was his on screen partner Emma Peel. What a pair!
Thanks for this excellent tribute to a one off gentleman, Matt!
RIP; Patrick McNee and John Steed; one of the most unique, quirky, entertaining, charming and unmistakably individual characters ever to grace the small screen. Like all the most likeable fictional characters the character seemed to be some sort of effortless extension of the actor’s own personality and, in this case, this is a testament to McNee as a man that Steed was so seamlessly charming and engaging. Not to mention so uniquely stylish! Unlike the Bond character (which has proven to be remarkably fluid), I cannot imagine ANY other actor playing the Steed role successfully as the individual panache of McNee defined Steed completely.
Btw; while this episode is the 2nd episode to be screened in this final Sixties series it was, actually, the 13th in order of production. The first seven filmed episodes of this series were tagged on to the final eight Diana Rigg episodes to constitute a stand alone series for screening in the US. I’m not saying this to be pedantic; rather the suits from these initial Thorson starring episodes are carryovers of the same Pierre Cardin designed ones from the Rigg final series. The suit here and all these McNee designed ones had their debut in the episode entitled “My Wildest Dream”. I agree completely that this suit, along with another dark blue one which he wore in this final series, was probably most flattering to his complexion. Others from this series included an olive green three piece which was only passable and a camel/light brown one which looked awful on McNee. For such an innately dapper man these choices were somewhat puzzling.
David, very little (if any) of the Cardin clothes made it to any of the Thorson episdoes. There was a dark olive green three-piece suit in both colour series, and although it had covered buttons and no vent, it followed Macnee’s velvet-collared suits in every other way. The velvet-collared evening wear also carried over from the fifth series to the sixth series, and that was also likely Macnee’s design rather than Cardin’s. The last thing that carried over was a navy chalkstripe topcoat. Overall, almost all of the clothes for the Thorson (and final Rigg) episodes were made for that series.
Matt, I hadn’t seen these episodes for a long time until recently so they’re reasonably fresh in my mind (although as always I would, genuinely, acknowledge your attention to detail in this area is ahead of mine) but please let me try to clarify; the first tranche of episodes from the Thorson series, from the first filmed, entitled “Invasion of the Earthmen”, to “Look stop me if you’ve heard this one…But there were these two fellers” have a completely different collection of suits overall to those that followed for the rest of the Thorson series. Some of these suits such as one seen in the early episode “Get Away” and another in “Look Stop me…” were only featured in these episodes alone and one or two McNee designed suits which featured in the subsequent episodes may have been introduced around the time of “Look Stop Me…” and the episode which followed entitled “My Wildest Dream” so there was some crossover. After that it was exclusively McNee’s designs though and the end credits of these remaining episodes have the comment “Patrick McNee’s suits designed by himself” so that’s clear. (I’m not sure if these earlier Thorson episodes had “Patrick Mc Nee’s suits designed by Pierre Cardin” on the final credits as the final Rigg episodes had but they may have). I would agree that the evening wear was all McNee’s work irrespective of series.
The olive suit I am thinking of appeared in the Thorson episodes “Requiem” and “They Keep Killing Steed” and some others which I cannot recall just now. I’m not sure if this is the suit you have in mind and it sure could have been a carryover from some of McNees’s earlier series like your example here https://www.bondsuits.com/the-avengers-steeds-signature-suit/ there were quite a few that he obviously liked and reappeared in subsequent series’ but, as you say here, the look here was uniformly McNee and it matched the other suits from mid-1968-1969.
I only mention the olive suit because – although it was a beautiful suit – I felt it didn’t work all that well for his complexion (though the brown one was worse) and the mustard colour shirt which he often wore with it didn’t enhance the look! Although McNee had a great flair for suit design his awareness of the colour choice wasn’t always ideal. Greys and blues were his most flattering.
I recall the chalkstripe overcoat which you mention but that wasn’t the only coat carried over either; for example, the Thorson series episode “You’ll catch your death” featured, briefly, a navy double breasted overcoat alongside the McNee designed suits which (I believe) was carried over from the colour Rigg series and the episode “Killer” had featured a very interesting beige overcoat which hadn’t been seen since the black and white Rigg episodes.
I like very much “The Avengers” and John Steed character,i love the Steed’s syle,also if for the most i more a costume that a real suit.
You can dress as Bond,but also without bowler a Steed suit is too more eccentric,at least in Italy.
In spite of this the Steed’s wardrobe is elegant and very flattering.
I don’t think that is particularly 60s; yes,incorporates some features of 60s,as the very slender trousers and sharp lapels,but the ties are wider with a luxurious texture,the coat have almost always one button..i think that more that 60s is a evolution in Mac Neee particular taste of the new Edwardian suit of late 40s-early 50s.
look for exemple at these chaps of 50s:
The style of 70s “New Avengers” Steed was not very different to the 1960s Steed,because was a personal,individual style.
In this sense Steed is the opposite of The Saint/Bond of his good friend Roger Moore: “I’ don’t really care about the current fashion (“Patrick Mac Nee to the costume designer of “The new Avengers”).
UK residents can see series 6 of The Avengers with Macnee and Thorson on the freeview channel True Entertainment (channel 61) week nights at 8pm.
Dan, yes, indeed. This is why the topic is fresh for me. Last time i recall them airing in these parts was on Channel 4 in the mid to late 1990’s. The Thorson series had some great stories although she’s a poor substitute for the beautiful and feisty Rigg. True Entertainment seem to be running the 4th,5th and 6th series on a loop but, inexplicably, on the last run of the Thorson series stopped several episodes short of the finish; roughly half way through the series. Here’s hoping this time they go the distance!
The finale to Bizarre is quite, er, final, so it may confuse audiences watching the series on a loop…
I like Tara, it would have been a mistake to recast Emma Peel or clone her character. Tara is different but still appealing.
Is it me or do these Avengers screenings sound slightly speeded up? I have heard of American TV stations speeding up programmes and films to make them fit into a time slot before, but I didn’t know this was common practice in the UK. The audio seems slightly higher pitched and there’s occasional digital pops, a side effect of adjusting pitch. It could just be my ears of course.
Dan, yes, indeed, “Bizarre” was, for me, an extremely weak episode for the series to bow out with but, yes, pretty final! Although the Mother character did, from memory, comment that they’d “be back”. Still, none of it excuses finishing the run of a series with 14 episodes left to go!
Fair point re: Thorson. I guess Diana Rigg/Emma Peel was just so damn sexy that most actresses would have a hard time following her!
I can’t say I noticed anything untoward with the sound of the episodes, to be honest, but that is intriguing.