Bless Sir Roger Moore, Bond’s snappiest dresser, utterer of the glibbest lines in cinema history, delivered in that posh, lockjawed basso profundo that echoed all the way back to the Home Counties. But, man, those flares…
All right, you cannot blame Rog for the ’70s. It was hardly his fault that his 12-year tenure with the Bond franchise (1973–85) coincided with the decade that style forgot (or so sieve-minded fashion people like to think). And yet I’ve begun to wonder if that heady time was not, in fact, menswear’s golden age — or one of them, anyway — and Sir Roger its tailor-made onscreen champion.
Moore’s style as Bond was a relatively conservative take on the prevailing style of the early ’70s, reflecting as it did 007
’s character and his establishment background. But it was certainly Moore’s own style, too, created and curated by him in conjunction with his bespoke tailor: the late, great Dougie Hayward on Mayfair’s Mount Street. Hayward alumni include Michael Caine, Richard Burton, and John le Carré (who immortalised Hayward in The Tailor of Panama). The chesty, full-skirted blazers and roped shoulders were in the proper Savile Row tradition, but they had a bit of an edge that gave Hayward his reputation and his following. So they were also entirely appropriate for a peripatetic military man in civvies such as Bond. Flared safari suits were less expected.
Yet Moore’s moment came in easier times than Connery’s — his predecessor’s ’60s world was a harder, grimmer, grittier Britain still living with the aftermath of World War II. The ’70s, by contrast — if you don’t count Vietnam, Baader-Meinhof, and the oil crisis — were fun. Moore still had his fair share of megalomaniacs, plutocratic nutters, and crime lords to deal with, but unlike Connery and his roughhouse tactics, his Bond could dispatch them all with a karate chop and a raised eyebrow.
And vital to that debonair image (a forgotten quality) were clothes that, though extreme to us now, were always immaculate and worn with panache.