Roger Moore is well known for his casual safari clothing. I’ll never understand why some people insist on comparing these clothes to leisure suits when they are rooted in traditional safari clothes. Moore’s sage green cotton and linen blend safari camp shirt in The Man with the Golden Gun is appropriate for the hot weather in Thailand. It has a four-button front with a camp collar, a belted back and long side vents. It has traditional safari jacket features such as epaulette straps and box-pleat patch pockets with flaps. The buttons are pearlescent green. Moore wears the sleeves rolled up to just below the elbow. This piece was made by Hong Kong tailor Jimmy Chen, per an auction listing at Prop Store.
The beige trousers have a flat front with a slightly flared leg. The material may be tropical wool, linen, silk, or some combination of the three. Bond’s ribbed socks match the trousers. His shoes are brown low-vamp, tassel slip-ons.
The safari shirt was auctioned at Prop Store on 16 October 2014 for £4,750.
I agree. It's really tiresome how Moore's Bond tenure has been reduced to a mockery of the "Safari Suit"; which, as you remarked, they seem to confuse with everything from leisure suits to Elvis jump-suits, and an assumption of polyester.
Even Moore himself seems to have acquiesced and engages in self-mockery. He probably needs some visual reminders that his Bond wardrobe was largely very good, and to hell with the critics who recycle ready-made opinions. All the Bonds had a mixture of good and some not-so-good clothes,
Nix the obnoxiously long collars, flared legs, and other trendy bits that were ham-fisted into his wardrobe in the '70s and I think Moore would get less criticism for it. Just my opinion of course.
I agree 100% with yourself and Roger’s comments.
I always liked Moore’s taste in these and as I said previously these items have a distinctly British heritage but the safari style became fashionable in the late 1960’s thanks to Yves Saint Laurent. This carried into the 1970’s and safari influenced clothing was very fashionable but Moore’s versions always – as with the rest of his clothing – veered towards classic rather than high fashion as some claim. In any event he wore similar shirt jackets to these a whole decade earlier in the black and white Saint episodes.
I got one of these shirt jackets made for a visit to India and they are as you say most appropriate for these climates. They’re also stylish (IMO) and practical.
Earlier in Man With The Golden Gun Bond wears another type of shirt jacket (also seen in The Saint) which looks like a half sleeve shirt but buttons like a bomber jacket at the waist. This could be construed as fashionable only because its collar is a lot longer than those on the other Frank Foster shirts Moore wore in the movie. I think he wears it with the same trousers as this olive safari shirt/jacket as they look a similar colour.
Incidentally, I wonder who made the safari shirt jackets for Moore. Foster? I can check this information out if you like.
Will you cover also the versions he wore in Moonraker and Octopussy which had standard rather than camp collars and were worn with matching trousers ( I think)?
I will cover the other safari jackets at a later date. I'd be interested to know if Foster made any of these.
I think the other reason he got a lot of shtick was because he was a little more fashionable than Connery's Bond, though frankly I think Lazenby's stuff was worse on the whole.
The other thing is that Bond was originally meant to blend into the crowd while still having good tastes in clothing, food, and drink — sort of like Don Draper if you will. Moore's Bond got flashier in his dress and tended to stick out a bit more as the movies got campier. In the '80s they went back to a more sober and, IMO, better approach.
So in conclusion, while Moore wasn't that bad for the '70s, his clothing was still out of character for Bond.
As I have repeatedly pointed out in responses to Matt’s postings on this topic, safari type clothing has a distinctly British lineage. James Bond used to be a distinctly British agent and Roger Moore’s interpretation particularly emphasised this. His fondness for traditional British Savile Row suiting, shirts and dapper blazers is evidence of this. Safari clothing too. I would refer Jovan and others to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari_jacket.
He wore these safari shirt jackets right throughout his tenure, from the early 1970’s until his penultimate film Octopussy, in 1983.
If anyone’s clothes are out of sync with the character it is the current incumbent but I did promise not to open up that particular tin of worms again!
Can we get beyond the “out-of-character” argument, and just agree each to prefer our favourite Bond without making claims for his relative authenticity? The “out-of-character” argument presupposes that there is some secure basis for saying what is *in* character for Bond. If Fleming’s Bond is the benchmark, most of the material Matt has covered would have to be ruled out of court, since Bond’s tastes, so far as they can be reconstructed from the novels, are more idiosyncratically conservative than anything we've seen in the Eon Films.
In fact, it does not seem to me that claims for Fleming’s ultimate authority are the ones most often put forward in comments on this blog. Much more often, some kind of appeal is made to a nebulous notion of “Britishness” or “Englishness,” and to a notion of “proper” tailoring and taste. It might be worth bearing in mind that the lounge suit as a species of outfit is less than 150 years old, and as regular daywear for all classes above so-called blue-collar workers its pedigree is shorter still. Any talk about the “correct” width for lapels or shoulders, “correct” number of buttons on the cuff, “correct” rise for trousers, etc., or more generally for what constitutes “classic” tailoring does not refer to some dateless, platonic absolute, but to a set of conventions which has been in much more continuous flux than arbiters of taste like to admit in the short time that these conventions have been in play.
Is Connery’s Bond sartorially closest to Fleming’s? Yes. Is his tailoring the most conservative seen on screen, in terms of its reliance on the conventions of British tailoring? Again, yes – notwithstanding “concessions” to contemporary trends that tend to be overlooked more often than Moore’s, Lazenby’s or Craig’s. But this doesn’t make Connery the most in-character of the Bonds unless, again, Fleming is taken as the benchmark. Nor am I sure that the best defence of Moore’s “in-character-ness” is any supposed lineage his clothes may have in British domestic or colonial sartorial traditions (though I'll come back to this, apropos the specific topic of the original post). The best way to judge him, surely, is in terms of how the franchise worked during the 1970s. Seventies Bond is a post-Flint, post-Steed, post-Solo Bond – a figure dancing the line between the straight and the parodic. Moore has remarked on the absurdity of the fact that everyone seems to know who Bond is, even though he’s a secret agent. Given this baseline absurdity, why would Bond need to dress inconspicuously? And given the overtones of spoof, which begin in earnest with Diamonds Are Forever, we can expect the odd double-edged sartorial joke, partly at Bond’s expense, such as Connery’s ludicrously out-of-place white dinner jacket in the early casino scenes in DAF.
Screen Bond has always been exponentially more of a fantasy figure than Literary Bond—and that’s saying something—but the nature of the fantasy has altered over time. It has tended to change with lead actor, and has generally entailed some sartorial shift, whatever continuity there may be between performers. If there’s a Screen Bond who’s out of character with the other Screen Bonds in sartorial terms it’s surely Dalton, purely because of the abrupt move away from bespoke. But every Bond has worn clothing which can be dated in some way to the moment of production, and in my view the character's dress is none the worse for that.
Finally, one point about Moore’s “safari shirts” and jackets in particular. If we want to talk about being “in character,” then I think this kind of epauletted garment maintains an entirely reasonable aesthetic link with Bond’s military past.
Good points made all around. Moore is still not my favourite Bond in terms of clothing, but he certainly isn't the worst as I said before. Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby win by a landslide.
While I fully agree with your assessment of Dalton, I think Lazenby might just have been the most elegant Bond of all (with the exception of the kilt outfit, which was intended to be funny). There was clearly an attempt to make him more "fashionable" than Connery, but his suits fit him beautifully, emphasizing his slim, broad-shouldered frame. Drawing on his background as a model, he moved with elegance and grace without any touch foppishness (except, perhaps, for the sand-colored ascot he wears with the riding jacket at Draco's birthday party). I think both Lazenby and Moore suffered from the cardinal sin of not being Sean Connery, but I will take either man's clothes over Connery's any day.
I absolutely agree that Lazenby's dress is under-appreciated (quite apart from the fact that his performance, in my view also underrated, always strikes me as closest to the Bond of the books, with his earnestness, his directness, and his understated brutality). And I think you're right that his biggest crime was not being Connery.
However, it seems to me from comments on some of Matt's posts for OHMSS that Lazenby's other cardinal sin was being "too fashionable," in a movie which carefully platforms all his changes of dress. As I've already implied, I don't find the rather tired dichotomy between "classic" style and "concession" to contemporary fashion particularly interesting. Stylishness can take many forms, and again the idea that Connery's wardrobe somehow struck a "moderate" ideal seems to me stuff and nonsense (which is not to say that I don't admire the Connery Bond's image, by the way). Casual or formal, Lazenby looked well throughout OHMSS (even in his disguise as Bray), and Dimi Major's tailoring was in my view some of the most subtly distinctive of the series. And as you say, Lazenby knew how to wear his clothes.
Not sure I agree about the foppishness, though. It seems to me that in one way or another Screen Bond is always a fop (Dalton aside), and while the contrast between his sartorial narcissism and his lethal professionalism never as marked as with John Steed, say, it is one of the pleasures of the series. Lazenby's Bond is in no doubt about his appeal, and dresses for splashy effect in pretty much every context except Q's office. I love his unabashed vanity.
I agree with most of this statement: "while the contrast between his (Bond's)sartorial narcissism and his lethal professionalism never as marked as with John Steed, say, it is one of the pleasures of the series. Lazenby's Bond is in no doubt about his appeal, and dresses for splashy effect in pretty much every context except Q's office. I love his unabashed vanity." This statement would apply even more to Moore's Bond, whose vanity is so over the top as to be comically endearing (how many times can the man straighten his tie?) I'm still not sure that Lazenby's Bond always dressed for "splashy effect", however. Aside from the kilt, his flashiest outfits are the cream suit at the beginning (in a vacation spot, however), and the riding jacket cum ascot at Draco's party (again, a "countrified" sort of affair). The man dressed for the occasion, and he wasn't understated (when you are that tall and good-looking it's hard to be understated anyway), but I still wouldn't call him a fop.
PDGB's observations are interesting and on the ball. Most of us can agree that the clothing chosen by the Literary Bond and the Cinematic character do vary quite significantly and referring back to Fleming as a source/inspiration for the silver screen 007 is relatively pointless. Some of Matt's previous posts illustrate this.
He's also correct in his assertion that we all should simply "prefer our favourite Bond without making claims for his relative authenticity" and, of course, most of us do have a particular favourite and, of course, the converse, one or two interpretations we absolutely cannot take to and this mostly comes back to who you grew up with.
I think it's fair to say though that the overall dress of the cinematic Bond harks back to some British classic style; whether this takes the form of Connery's Sinclair suits, Lazenby's blazers and equestrian apparel, Moore's safari clothing and Brosnan's Brioni suits (cut with an English bias). A lot of the Dalton criticism centred around his appearance and how his clothing deviated sharply (especially in his 2nd cinematic outing) from the previously well tailored (albeit in their own individual ways) interpretations, as PDGB points out.
Perhaps what's "well dressed" or not will always be subjective and alter according to ones generation, cultural and societal viewpoint etc. Yet, given that, we all have an idea in our minds of some Bond clothing which almost all of us will find to be an example of timeless elegance and style.
I agree with Dan re the "fop" definition, and although the word if taken as a kind of "dandy" could be indeed used to describe Bond on screen, there's other aspects of what one thinks of as a fop that aren't Bond. An effeminate demeanour is usually a aspect of such a man. Bond fans can think of Charles Gray's Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever for an onscreen fop.
There's dressing for the occasion and dressing for the occasion. In almost every context Lazenby's clothing draws the eye in a way that Connery's didn't. As well as the bucolic riding attire and that entirely splendid off-white suit, don't forget the very pronounced glen plaid of the suit he wears to visit Gumbold's office, the much reviled (but again, in my view, quite splendid) orange mock turtelneck that forms part of his golfing outfit, and the dress shirt with the jabot in the casino scene.
I suspect we differ in our definition of foppery more than anything else. I have absolutely no problem with dandyism, and if it weren't for the mashers of this world, men's clothing would have been duller still than it has been since the "great renunciation." Most objections to foppery in forums on "good dress" seem to be predicated on a mixture of residual puritanism and anxieties about threats to proper manliness, neither of which I have any patience with.
I have to agree regarding the shirt with the jabot (I almost mentioned it in my previous post, actually) – it is over the top, as well as too tight. The glen plaid suit, however, was a classic – I had my tailor replicate it for me, and it is in no way overly flashy. I fully agree with your last paragraph – my definition of foppery includes a connotation of effeminacy and uselessness, neither of which applies to any of Bond's screen incarnations. I also agree with your assessment of the fear of appearing well put together, which is echoed in so many so-called "fashion blogs". It is indeed "predicated on a mixture of residual puritanism and anxieties about threats to proper manliness". BTW, I wish I had written that sentence!
I don't see why people make such a big fuss about Lazenby's highland dress. He was in disguise as Sir Hilary Bray. Bond didn't even use his own voice! The highland dress and the tweed suit are Sir Hilary's clothes, not Bond's. The highland dress was most appropriate considering the situation because that's what Sir Hilary Bray would have worn. At no other time in the series does Bond immerse himself so much in a disguise.
David and Dan:
First of all, "fop" is unquestionably a more loaded word even than "dandy," and I should probably have worked with the latter term. Having said that, I'm no more comfortable with the very idea of "effeminacy" than I am with objections to dandification – and the historical linking of the two seems to me to compound the problem. If we follow the argument to its logical conclusion, then being "less than manly" is a sign of moral turpitude, because attention to physical appearance is by rights a (morally deficient) attribute of women, and so on and so on … This doesn't lead anywhere good.
As specifically regards the glen plaid suit, I wasn't suggesting that it was flashy — but then I don't think of flashiness and dandification as being coextensive. Steed in The Avengers was a dandy, but (until the Cardin horrors of the 1967 series) not flashy. I don't suggest that that plaid suit is flashy — but it's certainly not staid, compared, say to some of "quiet" plaids that Connery wore.
As regards the ruffled shirt: well, it may be a bold statement, but I don't find it to be stylistically excessive (or too tight, come to that). Are the ruffles redundant (i.e. "useless")? For sure — but then, if you think about it, so are lapels and even outside breast pockets on the vast majority of suit and sports jackets. If we weren't all interested in what is decorative as well as what is comfortable and commodious, I don't think any of us would be taking time to post comments here! So again, in trying to establish acceptable versus unacceptable decoration, we're arguing over degrees on a scale. And that scale slides all the time. What's "old-fashioned" or "trad" in one historical moment can seem laughably *of* the moment a decade later. (Think about supposedly conservative eyewear from the late 80s.)
Your point about Bond's adopting highland dress as a disguise is well taken. However, I would submit that the context is important, and that the film's costume designer meant Lazenby to look good in both this formal attire and in Sir Hilary's tweeds, including the Inverness (which he wears with aplomb). Putting Bond in disguise at all was a risk in this film, given that Lazenby was an unknown quantity for audiences. That he's in disguise for quite a chunk of the movie obviously increases that risk. Of course, the Bray persona is risible, but at the same time Bond had to be plausibly “hot,” since the young women in the clinic are clearly enamoured of him, and the kilt actually becomes part of the machinery of seduction.
One final point: the Bond purist will recall that the character is an Anglo-Scot, who might well have a documented right to wear a kilt. So you could argue that what we're seeing here is not “purely” the Bray persona — especially given the life of the costume in publicity photographs (as opposed to simply in the story itself). Shorn of its narrative justification, the highland dress can be read as part of Bond's wardrobe in a way that is clearly *not* true for the Arab thawb worn by the Moore Bond in TSWLM.
A personal note: as someone with a hefty dose of aristocratic Scots blood on my mother's side, and all the family pride that goes with it, I personally adore highland dress. When you see it worn with attitude by a Scotsman it's nothing if not conventionally “manly." Besides, if you’re a costume designer working with legs like Lazenby’s, why not show ’em off?
I forwarded Frank Foster a copy of this blog post and he telephoned me today regarding it.
He confirmed that he produced the safari shirt and Moore’s other ones and described them as a shirt as opposed to a jacket due to their construction and styling. He said that it would’ve been 100% linen.
In further discussion, he mentioned that he made Connery’s shirts in Dr. No, then Lazenby’s for OHMSS and all of Roger Moore’s. He told me he’d made Moore’s shirts since he was a male model and made them along with “Saint” producer Robert S Baker’s in the 1960’s. He mentioned that he designed numerous variations of the cocktail cuff (some more rounded, some squarer in style and some with buttons etc.)
He made shirts for many of the principals of the Bond films and mentioned making asbestos shirts for one particular film which featured a river boat chase with explosions and that he thought this was filmed in America, (Live and Let Die or Moonraker??)
He was a good friend of Doug Hayward and worked with him in the years before Hayward became established and was operating just as a trouser cutter.
He’s friendly and happy to talk about his career and I’m sure would be likewise forthcoming with you if you contacted him directly.
Hope this is of use to you.
While I'll agree that both this and the jacket Bond wears when visiting Lazar are both safari wear, I'd still call the denim outfit from LALD a leisure suit, if for no other reason than its material and color.
I am late to this discussion due to technical difficulties, but I do have a few comments I would like to offer. This is quite an impressive discussion.
First, to take up the banner of the purists, Bond is the son of a Scottish father, and a Swiss mother. I don't believe that makes him an "Anglo-Scot."
Second, I disagree with the dismissal of the "out of character" argument. I think that any screen portrayal of James Bond (or any literary character) owes some respect to the literary character created by Ian Fleming. And I say this as a fan of the cinematic Bond in most of his incarnations (Brosnan and 1970s Guy Hamilton-directed Connery and Moore excepted). But we can't have Bond dressing like "Austin Powers" and say it's ok within the context of whatever film. It would be simply out of character. Of course, what is "in character" and "out of character" is open to wide debate. Bond is a bit of chameleon, as past posts involving David and myself (especially regarding the incumbent Bond actor) illustrate.
I think certain elements of the character should remain faithful; the trick is to update them to a contemporary audience. The literary Bond's wardrobe was generally very bland, with his navy serge suits and knit ties predominating. He blended into the environment, and left the aristocratic pretensions to the villains (see The Man With The Golden Gun, and Bond's refusal to accept a knighthood as he is always "a Scottish peasant", or his attitude to the pretensions of Hugo Drax). Bond's dress is quite low-key, and not at all like other 1960s-era British screen characters. Fleming himself in his guidelines for the aborted Bond TV series (I think i it was to be called "Commander Jamaica") wanted Bond to avoid "British conventions" such as bowler hats and the like. Fleming's desire is reflected, for example, in the differences between Fleming's Bond's club hopping in Harlem in 1953's Live and Let Die, compared to and Moore's fish-out-of-water portrayal in the 1973 film's Harlem scenes. 1960s Connery with Young’s help succeeded immensely in bringing these elements to the screen. But almost as successful are most of the other actors, even Moore for the most part (at least after 1980), as they are dressed, usually, in a sophisticated style that doesn't draw attention within the context of the time of filming. So in analyzing the clothes chronicled on this wonderful blog, I approach it in both evaluating the clothes within the context of their time and how well they reflect the well-established cinematic Bond persona, whose roots are in the literary Bond. Within this framework, I actually find (and this will be controversial) Craig's dress to be fantastic, blending suits and casual ware with ease and aplomb.
I do find Moore to be a bit foppish, especially in Live and Let Die, but perhaps more accurately, parody. However characterized, I find all distasteful in the screen character. I find Brosnan's Bond to suffer in this regard to the greatest extent of all the Bonds.
All of that said, and going back to the safari shirt, I like it and I think it a great look for the character, though the color reflects what I consider to be the unattractive color scheme of its film. What I don't like, or at least my 21st century eyes don't like, are the sharply creased trousers and tasseled loafers. It once again falls into the casual but also formal muddle that I really don't like. I would prefer more casual pants, and perhaps some boots would be better, but since it was 1974, a lot of men apparently dressed this way.
Thank you for your assessment Christian. Whilst Bond would probably avoid the old-fashioned things like bowler hats, he is public-school educated and served in the Royal Navy. That's quite an English influence on his life and I'm sure has influenced the way he dresses. That would explain creased trousers. To me it doesn't look formal, it just looks neat. They look casual enough for me. Tassel slip-ons are also casual, unless you're American. I think Roger Moore stopped wearing boots by the time he was Bond. Then it was always slip-ons. I usually think of them as a 60s thing.