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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.