The Saint: A Two-Tone Shot Silk Dinner Jacket

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Happy birthday to Sir Roger Moore, on what would have been his 92nd birthday.

When The Saint started filming in colour for the fifth series in 1966, it couldn’t have been at a better time. Fashions were becoming more colourful, as were Roger Moore’s tastes. Moore’s clothes as Simon Templar started adopting elements of the waning New Edwardian trends, and he showed some interest in the flashiness of the Peacock Revolution, though he never fully embraced either trend. Roger Moore is best known for his forays into peacock fashion in The Persuaders, but his flashier fashions started in the later years of The Saint.

From “The Gadget Lovers” (1967)

Starting in 1967, Moore had supplemented his eveningwear wardrobe with a fancy shot silk dinner jacket. He already had a mohair-blend dinner suit and a white silk dinner jacket, but in light of the more adventurous fashion trends of the second half of the 1960s Simon Templar needed something that looked more hip for his black tie occasions. And now that the show was filming in colour he had a new way to experiment with his clothes. This new shot silk dinner jacket is a mix of black and copper, with each colour in each direction. Shot silk, also known as changeant or changeable silk, appears to be different colours from different angles and has an iridescent appearance. From some angles this dinner jacket looks black while from others it looks copper. And like copper, this silk has a metallic-like sheen.

This dinner jacket is featured in two episodes from the fifth series in 1967, “The Fast Women” and “The Gadget Lovers”, and one from the sixth series in 1968, “The Double Take”.

From “The Fast Women” (1967)

Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle made this dinner jacket in his usual cut with soft shoulders, a full chest and a suppressed waist. But unlike many of his other jackets, this one does not have roped sleeve heads. Because this jacket is silk, it can’t be shaped as much as wool can be.

Like a traditional dinner jacket, this jacket has one button on the front, peaked lapels and no vents at the skirt. The dinner jacket has details that are very much of its time, following certain New Edwardian trends. The peaked lapels are narrow and have black satin facings that don’t extend to the edge of the lapels, with about 3/8-inch of piping along the edge in the body’s shot silk. This detail has been in fashion for dinner jackets periodically and is reminiscent of the way facings were often done on Edwardian frock coats. It isn’t exactly traditional for a dinner jacket, but it is rooted in history. On this jacket, the way the facings stop short of the lapels’ edges makes the lapels look even narrower than they are.

From “The Gadget Lovers” (1967)

The jacket has rounded gauntlet cuffs (turnback cuffs) in the self shot silk of the jacket with a black silk braid edge. This detail is the opposite of how the lapels are faced, with the special detail on the edge instead of on the inside. The cuffs have three buttons, and the jacket’s buttons are covered black satin silk that matches the lapels. Following late 1960s trends the jacket has gently slanted hip pockets, jetted without flaps in the body’s shot silk.

Overall, this is a very busy dinner jacket that may have benefited from a little simplification. As this is already a shiny silk dinner jacket, the black satin facings are unnecessary. Following the same way of trimming the lapels and the gauntlet cuffs could have simplified things a little. This dinner jacket is a very interesting example of late 1960s English fashion and can provide inspiration for today’s popular unorthodox takes on the dinner jacket.

From “The Double Take” (1968)

The outfit has a waistcoat that matches the dinner jacket’s shot silk. It has rounded shawl lapels in black satin silk to match the jacket’s trimmings. The waistcoat is the traditional low-cut design with three buttons. A waistcoat in a silk such as this could be worn with a black dinner suit and does not need to be worn with the matching jacket. With a black dinner suit, this waistcoat could be a fun way to enliven a more traditional outfit.

From “The Gadget Lovers” (1967)

The trousers are black and have a crisp look that likely signifies a wool and mohair blend. They have a darted front, narrow “drainpipe” legs and slanted side pockets that could possibly be offset from the side seam. The trousers do not match the jacket and waistcoat, likely to tone down the flashiness of having so much shot silk and to have harder-wearing trousers. These may be the same trousers that Roger Moore wears with his ivory dinner jacket in the series.

From “The Fast Women” (1967)

In the two 1967 episodes Moore wears a classic white pleated-front shirt with this dinner jacket. The shirt has a spread collar and squared double cuffs, and it may have been made by Frank Foster. There are two lines of stitching closely spaced down the centre of the placket like how Frank Foster often sew their plackets, but many other shirtmakers have made their pleated shirts in this manner so the sides of the placket match the width of the pleats. In “The Double Take” in 1968 Moore gets a new frilly shirt with a ruffled front to follow the new peacock trends. This shirt made by Frank Foster has a higher spread collar with longer points to better balance Moore’s face and long neck. It has deeper double cuffs, also square, with the link holes closer to the fold. Both shirts have white buttons.

From “The Double Take” (1968)

As Moore’s shirts changed, so did his bow ties. He started off with a narrow “Slim Jim” batwing bow tie in black satin silk that complemented his moderately proportioned collar in the 1967 episodes. In 1968 he changed it to a wider butterfly bow tie in black velvet to balance his deeper collar points. The velvet bow tie also ties a much thicker knot to better fill up the collars higher stand. The size of a bow tie in both the height of the wings and in the thickness of the knot must balance the size of a collar. In “The Gadget Lovers” he accessorises his dinner jacket with a white linen pocket square stuffed in his breast pocket with the corners sticking up.

From “The Double Take” (1968)

In these three episodes Moore wears two different pairs of black calf shoes with this dinner jacket. One pair are venetian loafers with a square and narrow apron toe. The other pair are side-gusset slip-ons with a more gently squared toe.

From “The Gadget Lovers” (1967)

16 COMMENTS

  1. Nice post Matt! I really like Moore’s appreciation of fine tailoring with this Swinging 60s twist!
    Could the ruffle shirt be from Turnbull & Asser and not from Frank Foster. The placket resembles T&As and they are more familiar with placing the link cuffs close to the edge than FF is (at least they do it more regularly).

    I think I remember the ruffle shirt from the promo still for LALD was also from Turnbull & Asser, and is very much the same. Not sure that the shirtmaker from the one in the 1st ‘Persuaders’ episode was clearly identified.

    • Frank Foster used to sometimes do a different placket, and they always place the holes close to the fold on their double cuff. The Persuaders ruffled shirt is certainly from Frank.

  2. I definitely agree that he could have benefited from toning his jacket down somewhat, especially since it is already a silk jacket and in a weave that distinguishes it pretty clearly from even a silk lounge suit’s jacket. While the shot silk’s color combination of black and copper is a nicely understated way to tailor a unique dinner jacket, since it is easily distinguished from the trousers it would have been better to do the entire jacket in a single cloth, rather than have the contrasting half-facings on the lapels and piping on the cuffs.

    On a side note, there’s some interesting forced perspective going on in the one shot from “The Double Take.” Between the short depth of field in the shot and the fact that it’s static and not moving, Roger’s position relative to the other man and the armoire in the background makes him look about 8 feet tall.

  3. Great details. I have been looking for a ruffled shirt like this for a while. I agree it is a bit busy and I am not a fan of the placement of the facings on the lapels.

  4. A similiar colored (in red if i well remember) was dress by Patrick Mcnee’s John Steed in “Avengers in color”.

      • And it may show a deliberate and not coincidental use of the possibilities of colour TV at the time. Steed’s and Templar’s outfits make it worth turning to colour in 1967!

      • I was going to suggest Simon Templar could take a lesson from John Steed’s outfit in my earlier comment, but upon re-reading it, I had forgotten he has watered silk facings and a velvet collar, which is at least as many extra features as Simon’s jacket, though it’s still much more subtle than Simon’s.

        The two examples fall on either side of what Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch calls “too many bumper stickers” with regard to sports uniforms. If it’s too plain it doesn’t distinguish itself, but as you add purely decorative elements you start having to ask yourself whether what you’re adding is (1) necessary or purely decorative; and (2) if it’s decorative where is the line between distinctive and busy?

        Steed’s dinner suit is certainly bold and distinctive, and it has a lot extra elements that take it well beyond what’s needed to distinguish it from a flashy lounge suit, but it’s all harmonious and it’s subtle enough to look uncluttered even as a lot is going on when you look closely.

        Templar’s jacket/waistcoat combo, by using an unusual material and color for the main fabric, and contrasting color and texture between the main fabric and the facings, and using only half-facings and piping on the cuffs, and reversing the fabric priority from the facings to the cuffs crosses the line between flashy and messy.

  5. Sir Roger was gone way too soon. The good ones usually are
    I would have loved to have a porterhouse and bourbon with him so he can tell me what it’s really about.

    • Roger Moore was probably the classiest celebrity I ever saw interact with the public. When he was in his mid-80s he wrote a coffee table book about his James Bond experiences. For the book signing in NYC, he let them organize it in a basement textbook shop that was totally off the beat and path and normally didn’t sell anything but school stuff. A clever idea for an actor playing secret agents but a very dirty, unglamorous, possibly uncomfortable location for an octogenarian! Nonetheless he arrived early for the autograph session, which was packed with fans, and stayed late until every single person who wanted a signature and a photo got one. I was quite in awe.

  6. I got the Saint on DVD over the summer and have been watching it.

    I noticed a huge change in Moore’s wardrobe when the series switched to colour. When the series was in black and white he dressed very in an understated, almost Bondian way. All his suits are simple, two-piece and single-breasted. In the first episode in colour he wears a dandyish three-piece suit for the first time.

    I’ve very much enjoyed the series and think the role suited Moore even better than James Bond.

    • Indeed. This always struck me too. There was a subtle, gradual evolution from the more minimalist look of 1962 to a pre-Persuaders semi-peacock wardrobe in the final Saint series. This was in line with general trends in men’s clothing that decade though. Much more flamboyant post-1966.

  7. To be honest, in this case, the ruffled front shirt actually lifts the outfit because both are a touch dandified. The plain, pleated front shirt brings the outfit down whereas the ruffled shirt livens it up, if that makes sense….

    The dinner suit wasn’t the only carry over of outfits from the 5th to 6th (final) Saint series. The light blue 3 piece suit which only appeared in a couple of the 5th series episodes, got another outing in The Double Take. There may have been a couple of grey 2 piece suits which crossed over too, in particular in the early 6th series episodes…what do you think, Matt?

  8. I’d love to see a write up on the Light Blue three piece suit that David mentions from the 5th series of The Saint. It is a very fashionable color for suits at the moment. I do agree with David that the ruffled front shirt works well with this dandified dinner jacket.

  9. Thank you so much for doing another Saint article! TV shows that were on the air from the early to late 1960s are great ways of seeing the radical evolution of men’s clothes and hairstyles during that decade. The fact that TV went from black and white to color at about the same time as the peacock revolution took place really magnify the changes.

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