Bond Style – Cream Linen Suit in Vegas (Diamonds are Forever)
Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent
Las Vegas, Spring 1971
Film: Diamonds are Forever
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Master: Ray Beck
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
Apologies for the blog’s inactivity lately; between a friend’s wedding and spring being a very busy event season at work, it’s been difficult to find time for a fun—albeit time-consuming—sideline like BAMF Style. You didn’t expect me to miss the 00-7th of May, though?
And what’s a better way to celebrate the approaching Hallmark holiday of Mother’s Day without exploring a look from one of the most sexist films of the franchise?! (Hey, at least he wears some pink here.)
Towards the end of Diamonds are Forever‘s rambling waste of a plot, Bond finds himself tracking down reclusive billionaire casino owner
Howard Hughes Willard Whyte via a 1970s version of a Talkboy. Armed with this knowledge (and only this knowledge), he sets off for the billionaire’s desert home where Whyte is being held captive by… a locked door and two bikini-clad women named after- you know what, let’s forget about describing the scene here.
What’d He Wear?
If anything should be learned from this post, it’s the importance of properly pairing all parts of an outfit. Although Diamonds are Forever is known for being more lighthearted and “comedic” than its predecessors, James Bond managed to keep his style relatively on point, remaining fashionable for 1971 without too much excess. He wisely dons a sharp cream linen suit for this final act in the desert… then ruins it with that damn pink tie.
There’s nothing wrong with a pink tie if worn properly. The color is admittedly not very Bond-like, but still even a muted version or a maroon would have been better than the bright pink number we see in the film. Hell, even one that fit properly without falling short and fat on Connery’s midsection would have been better than the garbage that showed up on screen. Ugh. Let’s talk about the suit before I really start to get angry.
The cream linen suit itself is pretty sharp, though this is no surprise, as it was tailored by the legendary Anthony Sinclair of Conduit Street. Sinclair provided most of Connery’s suits from Dr. No through Diamonds are Forever. It speaks volumes for Mr. Sinclair that he didn’t give up tailoring after seeing how poorly his suit was paired with the pink tie-
Okay, back to sanity. Cream linen is a wise choice for a hot day in the Las Vegas desert, nicely blending fashion and function. When the suit was auctioned at Christie’s in February 2001, it was described as:
A two-piece suit of cream linen, the single-breasted jacket lined in bronze art silk, the jacket labelled inside Anthony Sinclair Ltd. 29 Conduit Street, W.1. Mayfair 6682/3621, with typescript details March, 1971. Sean Conery Esq., 662 T.2302 L.B.D., the cotton lining of the back trouser pocket inscribed in an unknown hand in blue ballpoint pen 454 M — made for Sean Connery as James Bond in the 1971 Eon film Diamonds Are Forever.
Auction houses often get information wrong, but there’s no reason to doubt any of the details listed here, especially coming from a reputable house like Christie’s. The eventual sale price of the suit was £2,115 ($3,073 in real money), in the lower end of the £2,000 – £3,000 estimate.
The suit jacket fits nicely on Connery’s torso with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and long double rear vents that flap around in the dry Nevada wind, revealing the “bronze art silk” lining. The jacket is single-breasted with reasonable notch lapels rolling down to a two-button front. Each sleeve has four matching buttons at the cuff. Both the breast pocket and the hip pockets are patches.
When Connery first arrives at Willard Whyte’s home, he has both buttons fastened. This is far from the only sartorial misstep in this scene, since he ruins the look with a pink t- not going there. Yet.
Bond’s trousers have front darts, allowing for a higher rise, and three-button “Daks top” side adjuster tabs, a feature that Anthony Sinclair had been placing on Connery’s trousers since Dr. No nine years earlier to provide a clean, belt-less look. The waistband fastens with a hidden clasp under the squared extended front tab.
The trousers also have on-seam side pockets and a jetted right rear pocket that closes with a brown plastic button that matches those on the side adjusters. The slightly flared bottoms are plain-hemmed with a short break.
Bond wears the same brown leather monk strap ankle boots—with brass strap buckles—that he wore in some earlier scenes with his gray worsted suit. His socks are a much darker brown (I thought black until I did some color correction to see for myself.) I would opt for a pair of lighter-colored socks both to match the trouser leg and to keep my feet cooler in such a warm climate, but—again—this is far from the worst part of the outfit.
Connery retains the Bond tradition of a Turnbull & Asser shirt with the distinctive two-button turnback cuffs, also known as “cocktail cuffs”, although he only has one button on each cuff fastened, either out of laziness or to keep his wrists and hands freer for stunts. For Connery’s sake, let’s assume the latter.
The light ivory shirt gets plenty of screen time since Connery keeps his jacket off, evidently not ashamed to show off that tie in all of its glory. The large collar has a wide spread, and the shirt buttons down a front placket. Most of his action scenes in this sequence are performed jacket-less, showing the shirt’s double rear darts at the shoulder.
There’s no avoiding it now, so let’s talk about that tie. In general, there’s nothing wrong with a carnation pink repp tie. I wouldn’t wear one for business (nor am I sure I’d wear one at all), but they can have their time and place. Unfortunately for Sean Connery, this is about as wrong as the time or place can get.
First off, the tie is far too short—likely due to the Windsor knot—with the already too wide blade not even making it past the lowest visible button on his shirt. He wisely loosens it when he gets to Whyte’s, giving it a little more length, but the damage is already done. It’s hard to imagine that this look was ever fashionable despite the wide and short tie fad that emerged in the ’70s. This is just too short and too wide in all the wrong places.
While no tie that length would look good, at least a different color tie might help? The pink against the cream suit and ivory shirt all washes together. With no contrast except his much darker footwear, the outfit threatens to become bland, monochromatic in the worst way. A nicer look may have been a dark tie—perhaps navy, maroon, or brown—or no tie at all. The only possible justification I can imagine for the costumers putting this tie on him is thinking, “Hey, Vegas is full of neon! Let’s throw some bright, obnoxious color on Bond too!”
Bond fared better when he very briefly wore this suit in the pre-credits sequence in Japan (or wherever he is before going to Ca-Ca-Cairo) when he sported a brown tie. He also accessorized differently in the pre-credits scene, wearing a pair of brown three-eyelet derbies and tan socks that nicely carried the leg into the shoe.
With only six items—jacket, trousers, shirt, tie, shoes, and socks—this is one of the simplest suits featured in the Bond series. He doesn’t even wear a watch, and his dive into the pool reveals no undershirt either. It’s likely that he’s wearing undershorts, but with Sean Connery, you never know.
(Admittedly, a glimpse of metal is seen under his wrist when he gets out of the car outside the Whyte house and in some production photos. However, the watch looks like it’s gone for the rest of the sequence. According to Dell Deaton’s comprehensive JamesBondWatches.com, this is the Gruen Precision 510 dress watch worn by Connery when he didn’t need a Rolex.)
Matt Spaiser nicely covered this outfit on his blog, The Suits of James Bond, and he managed to do so without getting as vehemently angry as I do about this tie. Kudos to Matt for his self-control and dignity.
Go Big or Go Home
007 isn’t wearing any sort of holster, nor does he carry his trusty Walther PPK for this scene. He takes a Colt Detective Special from Leiter (the same one he carries in the photo at the top of this post), but stuffs it in the jacket pocket without a second thought… especially since he has his jacket off for the remainder of the sequence. Apparently, Bond’s overconfidence is at a peak here as he swaggers into Whyte’s home, ostensibly unarmed, and casually faces off against his two henchwomen with his jacket slung over his shoulder. One assumes his plan all along was to drunk the two women under the water to get information, but it sure took him plenty of beating to get there.
For a more accurate look at how James Bond might approach a potential desert combat situation against an unknown number of assailants, check out the climatic battle scene in Quantum of Solace when he wears a dark blue zip jacket and jeans and carries another agent’s SIG-Sauer P226.
How to Get the Look
Without the tie, it’s a classy and casual look for warm weather. With the tie, you look like a fucking clown who shouldn’t be trusted with a firearm… or a closet. No wonder Bambi and Thumper wanted to kick his ass.
- Cream linen suit, tailored by Anthony Sinclair, consisting of:
- Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 2-button front, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and long double rear vents
- Darted front trousers with “Daks top” 3-button tab side adjusters, on-seam side pockets, button-through jetted right rear pocket, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Light ivory poplin Turnbull & Asser dress shirt with large spread collar, front placket, and 2-button turnback/”cocktail” cuffs
- Brown leather monk strap ankle boots
- Dark brown thin dress socks
If you’re going to wear a pink tie with this suit, at least make sure it’s an appropriate length. You may just be able to pull it off.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
I couldn’t find any information about a costume designer for the film, other than Sinclair’s tailoring, of course. However, IMDb did list an uncredited wardrobe master named Ray Beck. Interestingly, this is the only film on Mr. Beck’s IMDb page where he worked uncredited. One would think working on a Bond film would be the pinnacle of a career in the film industry… but then again, not all Bond films feature stupid pink neckties.
Q dressed better than Bond… great observation and so true. Made me laugh.
You might be too young to remember 1971 first hand, but it think the pink tie was to make Bond look a little more “hip”. Multi colored clothes were in for young people in the late sixties while the oldies wore grey, brown and black. This tie might be a poor attempt to make Bond look a bit more “with it”.
That a Windsor knot was used on the tie is curious – I’m sure I recall Bond thinking somewhat scathingly of anyone who used such a fussy knot – would it have been the villain in “From Russia With Love” who did so?
I’m sorry, how do feel about the tie?
The suit actually looks pretty good. Matched with the brown shoes and a brown tie, it might look quite elegant.
Connery just looks sloppy fat- almost a caricature of himself and James Bond.
Wasn’t ” Diamonds are Forever” originally cast with George Lazenby? I haven’t watched it in awhile, but I remember it as a mess of a movie.
Thanks for the post.