Roger Moore as James Bond, suave British MI6 agent
Sardinia, Italy, Summer 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
This installment of BAMF Style’s Car Week takes us underwater as James Bond heads off to Atlantis to meet his new nemesis, Karl Stromberg, in The Spy Who Loved Me… although our lothario seems more concerned about which of the two exotic women on his boat ride is more interested in him.
Stromberg discloses to Bond that he’s investing in an underwater society so it’s fitting that Bond drives a car with aquatic abilities in this flick. Bond’s “submarine” Lotus Esprit has joined the Aston Martin DB5 as one of the most popular 007 vehicles of all time. Even within the Bond universe, the KGB seems to have taken a special interest in the car when Major Anya Amasova discloses that she’s not unfamiliar with MI6’s secret plans for the Lotus.
This sequence includes many of the elements that make a Bond adventure so unique: exciting danger, beautiful women, a megalomaniac villain, an exotic location (in this case, the Cala Di Volpe in Porto Cervo), and – of course – beautifully tailored attire.
What’d He Wear?
Bond arrives for his boat ride with Anya and Naomi in a lightweight worsted wool blazer colored a very dark shade of navy that almost appears black in some light. The single-breasted blazer has notch lapels with just enough extra width to be stylish in the late ’70s without surpassing the bounds of timeless style.
The features of Bond’s blazer keep it very distinctive. There is a welted breast pocket as well as flapped hip pockets that slant back, but there is also a flapped ticket pocket – also with a rear slant – above the right hip pocket. All of the blazer’s silver-toned buttons – the two on the front and the four on each cuff – are metal as one often finds on a blazer, but they are sewn-through unlike the usual shank buttons. The shoulders are roped, and the sides are split with two 12″ long double vents.
According to Matt Spaiser at The Suits of James Bond, this blazer was made by Angelo Roma. Matt’s post also has great insight into the fit and tailoring of this garment.
Bond’s boldly-striped cotton shirt with it’s single-button tab “Lapidus cuffs” was likely made by Moore’s usual shirtmaker Frank Foster. The shirt is white with alternately spaced blue candy stripes. The large collar has long points and the white buttons fasten down a front placket.
Turnbull & Asser offers its own white-and-blue men’s “candy stripe” shirt that, while different, should be worthy of consideration given the brand’s reputation for quality and storied relationship with the 007 franchise.
Bond’s blue silk tie reflects the boldness of the shirt while also providing a contrast to the dark, muted blazer. It’s made from shantung silk, a more comfortable alternative for warm climates.
Bond’s white flat front trousers, likely also by Angelo Roma, are one of his few true concessions to the era with their widely-flared bell bottoms. Ignoring this disco-friendly feature, Bond’s trousers are an appropriately naval choice given that we’re seeing Bond at sea and this is Moore’s “Commander Bond” flick (as You Only Live Twice was for Connery and Tomorrow Never Dies would be for Brosnan). They appear to be a lightweight wool gabardine. Moore keeps the blazer buttoned through most of the sequence, but behind-the-scenes photos indicate that the only closure for the trousers is a concealed hook under the extended waistband; there are no belt loops or adjustor tabs.
Moore wears his usual black horsebit leather moccasins with gold horsebit details and tall-heeled leather soles. They may be Ferragamo, an appropriate choice given the Italian setting. He also wears black socks, a surprising choice given the white trousers and the heat of a summer day in the Mediterranean but at least it works with the black shoes and dark blazer.
The Spy Who Loved Me marked the first film in Seiko’s product placement deal with the Bond franchise, which lasted through Roger Moore’s last appearance in A View to a Kill. In this outing, he wears a steel Seiko LC Quartz DK001 digital wristwatch, identified as model 0674-5009 by Dell Deaton on his blog, James Bond Watches. More information about this comparatively rare watch can also be found at James Bond Lifestyle.
Moore would again sport a navy blazer and light slacks in his next Bond outing, Moonraker, when first meeting Hugo Drax at his California estate.
How to Get the Look
James Bond’s fashionable seaside blazer and slacks comfortably blends both military-inspired aesthetics and classic resort wear.
- Dark navy lightweight worsted single-breasted 2-button blazer with notch lapels, welted breast pockets, slanted flapped hip pockets, ticket pocket, sewn-through silved-toned metal buttons, 4-button cuffs, and long double vents
- White lightweight wool gabardine flat front trousers with fitted waistband and plain-hemmed “bell bottoms”
- White-and-blue “candy stripe” cotton dress shirt with large long-pointed collar, front placket, and 1-button tab “Lapidus cuffs”
- Blue shantung silk tie
- Black leather slip-on moccasins with gold horsebit detail and tall-heeled leather soles
- Black socks
- Seiko LC 0674-5009 Quartz DK001 digital wristwatch
Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as the blazer, and many other 007 outfits.
What’s the perfect car for a British secret agent in Italy? The Italian-designed and British-made Lotus, of course! Q personally arrives in Sardinia to greet 007 and equip him with his latest piece of technology, a white 1976 Lotus Esprit.
The custom-built car/submarine was nicknamed “Wet Nellie” to pay homage to “Little Nellie”, the yellow autogyro flown by Sean Connery ten years earlier in You Only Live Twice. In total, six different Esprits were featured during the filming of The Spy Who Loved Me but only one – piloted by ex-U.S. Navy SEAL Don Griffin – was modified as a wet sub. “Wet Nellie” was built by Perry Oceanographic, Inc. for about $100,000 and featured four electric motors, all propelling the sub’s forward motion only. In September 2013, Elon Musk bought the submarine at auction for £650,000 and has since stated that he hopes to convert it to reflect the functionality as seen on screen.
The Esprit first went into production in June 1976, eight months after it was launched at the Paris Auto Show, and the first model years – 1976 through 1978 – are now known as Series 1 (S1) Esprits. The longitudinal Lotus 907 engine returned from the Jensen Healey, powering European models with 160 bhp and American models with 140 bhp, down-rated in the states for emissions purposes. The first Esprits were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro with redesigns in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s by Peter Stevens and Julian Thomson but it was Giugiaro’s original polygonal vision that gave the Esprit its distinctive look.
The handling of the lightweight car impressed Lotus test driver Roger Becker while filming The Spy Who Loved Me, and the S1 generation of Esprits is said to have had the best steering of any of the car’s three decades of production. The last Esprit was produced in 2004, bringing the total production amount to 10,675 cars.
1976 Lotus Esprit
Body Style: 2-door sports coupe
Layout: rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RMR)
Engine: 2.0 L (1973 cc) Lotus 907 I4 with dual side-draft Dell’Orto carburetors
Power: 160 bhp (119 kW; 162 PS) @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 140 lb·ft (190 N·m) @ 4900 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 96 inches (2438.4 mm)
Length: 165 inches (4191 mm)
Width: 73 inches (1854.2 mm)
Height: 44 inches (1117.6 mm)
Main unit production on The Spy Who Loved Me began in August 1976, two months after the first Esprit was produced, with Lotus test driver Roger Becker serving as the stunt driver while filming on Sardinia. Bond would again be seen behind the wheel of a Lotus Esprit four years later in For Your Eyes Only when he drives a white 1980 Turbo model and, after that car explodes, a red 1981 Turbo model.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
You ever get the feeling that somebody doesn’t like you?
I once dated a woman who looked very much like Naomi (Caroline Munro).