Timothy Dalton’s Suit for a Living Daylights Press Conference

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Shortly after filming on The Living Daylights began, Timothy Dalton was introduced to the public as James Bond at a press conference in Austria on 5 October 1986. The press event included Timothy Dalton and Maryam d’Abo in an appearance with an Aston Martin V8 Volante that belonged to Aston Martin Lagonda chairman Victor Gauntlett, and this car would be one of the cars used in the film. For the event, Dalton wore clothes that he does not wear as James Bond in the film.

Photo sourced from Thunderballs.org

Dalton’s suit is air force blue—a mid blue-grey—linen twill, and it has a steep twill weave reminiscent of gabardine. It is made up of a darker blue and a lighter blue, which blend together in a subtle plaid to look like air force blue. The section of the plaid with the darker blue in the warp and the lighter blue in the weft, which highlights the twill wales, stands out the most.

An approximation of the suit’s weave and pattern

Considering this is Vienna in October, a linen suit is an odd choice the location and for a press conference. The weather in Vienna in autumn would not demand linen, and linen does not look formal enough for the occasion. This suit has linen’s telltale wrinkles, which are particularly noticeable in the sleeves and the crotch area. The rumples mirror Dalton’s casual nature, and he appears to be less self-conscious in a rumpled suit. However, this sort of occasion would usually call for a more formal suit, particularly in the 1980s.

Dalton’s suit tastefully demonstrates some fashions of the 1980s, but it’s a well-cut and well-fitted suit. Unlike most of Dalton’s suits, which look ready-to-wear, this suit looks like it could be tailor-made. The maker of this suit is unknown, and the cut differs from the clothes he wears by Leeds clothier Benjamin Simon in the film. Nonetheless, the suit has an English look.

Photo sourced from Thunderballs.org

The button-two suit jacket is tailored with a full but neat cut and straight shoulders with roped sleeve heads. A steep medium-low gorge, a low button stance and a non-vented rear give this suit a 1980s look without exaggeration. An open-patch breast pocket and open-patch hip pockets contribute to the suit’s more casual style and are perfect for a linen suit. The jacket is detailed with three cuff buttons.

The suit trousers have a mid rise with double forward pleats. The medium-wide legs have a straight cut with plain hems. The trousers are worn with a narrow black belt.

Photo sourced from Thunderballs.org

Dalton’s shirt is white with a point collar—to mirror the steep line of the gorge—and button cuffs. His tie has a mid-blue ground with a classic ancient madder print in dark red and yellow. It is is a classically British choice, and while it’s not a Bondian choice, it doesn’t have to be if he’s not in character. His shoes are black apron-toe slip-on shoes.

Overall, this is one of the most elegant looks that Timothy Dalton has worn, even though the suit is not location-appropriate. In this outfit, he looked prepared to take on the role of Bond. The suit could have been a nice alternative to the tan suit he wears in Tangier in The Living Daylights, though that is not to say that the suit in the film should have been replaced.

Photo sourced from Thunderballs.org

22 COMMENTS

  1. I really like this suit on Dalton, check suits in this color are very trendy at the moment. I think the suit could have some silk content as there is some shine, it doesn’t look like a pure linen. Could even be linen, silk with a touch of wool. a great color and style on Dalton, a head about most of his LDL and LTK suits/jackets.

  2. Can’t say I’m a fan of this, it looks pretty sloppy to me. Those trousers look far too big on him. At least Maryam looks nice.

    • The trousers are hardly wide compared to some of the extreme fashions of the ’80s. But look at how they fall on the leg in the second picture. Considering they’re linen, and full cut, and full break, they look pretty damn good to me. Full break hasn’t been fashionable for a while, but it looks better than the highwaters that are now in vogue again…

  3. I was expecting such an (great) article for a long time !
    Dalton looks just stunning here.
    And while the material really doesn’t seem particularly appropriate I think it’s a successfully original choice, showing you can also look elegant in a suit without wearing the usual dark grey or navy smooth worsted cloths Bond (and many people) usually wears.
    I recently rewatched TLD about 3 times recently, and I really like the moderate 80s vibe to the clothing that Bond and Karla wore. Dalton seems comfortable in clothes that don’t stand out, and the tastefully strong shoulders work well on him, while the LTK atrocities overpower him and makes him look like he’s drowning in his big brother’s suit.

    Back to that suit, I think it could have been a great alternative to The LTK part in Crab Key… or even other parts, like the finale. Since Bond spent many time in hot locations where his smooth city worsted suits look a bit out of place (also they miss a nice tie like here).

    I think it’s a tie any Bond could wear easily, it works here with the blue linen suit but would also work well with a dark grey flannel suit, a medium grey sharkskin or a navy serge (etc…).

  4. The lack of care for clothing of Dalton/Bond is a real pity.
    The idea to back to the Connery approach after mora a decade of Roger Moore was right and brilliant ,but the Dalton/Bond wardrobe was sloppy.
    It wouldn’t take much: classic two buttons suits in British classic style from a not particularly expensive tailor firm or from a solid company as Chester Barrie, grenadine or silk knitted solid ties,,all very simple things,but capables of bring back James Bond to the basic and classic style of the early 007 movies.

  5. Since you persist in calling a 2 button suit where only one button is meant to be buttoned a “button 2” what would you call a DB suit with 6 buttons of which 2 button

  6. That suits screams 1980s. I find it fascinating that if the story u
    I heard is true, this was Dalton’s only suit.

    Yet his Bond wore very traditional clothes in The Living Daylights. (The tailoring of his suits is another matter).

    This suit shows the difference between Moore and Dalton. Sir Roger had a wardrobe that fit his personal style.

    Dalton, on the other hand, appears to have clothed in “costumes” clothes that fit the character, not the actor. Both Brosnan and Craig also had a personal touch with their wardrobes.

    Craig’s tight suits reflect the times and Craig’s taste. Dalton seems to go the actors route and let character define wardrobe.

    Or I could be wrong.

    • I’d say you’re right on that. Half the Bond actors had established personal styles which they brought to the table (Moore, Brosnan, Craig) where the other half let the production crew and the character dictate the costume (Connery, Lazenby, Dalton).

      Both sides have pros and cons, the natty dressers could sometimes overshadow the simple Bond aesthetic and make the character too much of themselves. The hands-off actors are completely at the mercy of others to make a statement.

      There are exceptions of course, Connery wore his favoured windsor tie knot in a few films, and lets not forget Dalton’s now famous veto of a collection of pastel suits.

    • Tight suits are ridiculous on a man in his fifties, even more so on one who supposedly wears a shoulder holster and whose life depends on being able to draw it quickly

  7. Dalton looks great here. It’s an 80s look but he isn’t in character.
    I much prefer this look to the technicolor suits of TSWLM ( which Moore wears while supposedly playing Bond) and the Buster Bloodvessel look of the last few films.

  8. I adore this review! I think Dalton looks great in this suit. I wish he would have wore this suit sometime in one of his films. Dalton looks prepared/happy to play such an iconic role.

  9. I completely agree with the positive comments above. Dalton looks great, handsome, and happy, which is a welcome throwback away from the last 15 years. The suit is very nice, brings some color- another welcome change from the navy and grey monochrome rut of recent years, and if I have to choose, I will gladly take the late 1980s over the skinny suits of the 2010s every time.

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