The Spy Who Loved Me: Bond’s Blazer and Underwater Lotus
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 exciting: thrilling danger, a megalomaniac villain, an exotic location (in this case, the Cala Di Volpe in Porto Cervo), beautiful women, and—of course—beautifully tailored attire.
What’d He Wear?
James Bond dresses for his boat ride with Anya (Barbara Bach) and Naomi (Caroline Munro) in a navy blazer and white trousers, a 1970s-styled update of what Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man had emerged as “a dashing sports outfit for the wealthy American man of the 1920s… with blue and white as the imperatives of nautical dress.”
The prevalence of blue in Bond’s outfit nods to his cover as marine biologist Robert Sterling, anchored by the single-breasted blazer made from a dark navy summer-weight worsted wool. The blazer’s notch lapels are just wide enough to remind us of the mid-’70s production and setting without veering into disco territory.
Bond’s blazer has a welted breast pocket and rear-slanting flapped pockets on the hips, supplemented by the flapped and slanted ticket pocket on the right side, adding a taste of British tradition to this Italian-tailored garment. Apropos its lighter-wearing nature, the blazer’s silver-toned buttons are sew-through rather than shank-style, including both on the front and the four on each cuff. The jacket’s double vents are approximately a foot long, consistent with ’70s fashion trends.
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 outfit.
Bond unites the colors of maritime colors of his outfit with a cotton shirt with a unique blue-on-white stripe pattern with the candy-width stripes placed differing spaces apart without balance or consistent pattern. 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 shirt has a fashionably large point collar and a front placket. The shirt was almost certainly made by Moore’s usual shirtmaker, Frank Foster, who finished the ends of each sleeve with his signature single-button “Lapidus” tab cuffs.
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.
I’ve complimented the blazer for its relative timelessness, but unfortunately Bond’s white trousers may not fare as well. Of course, white trousers provide a tasteful bottom half for a classic navy blazer in warm, seaside locales, but the then-fashionably flared bottoms come too dangerously close to “bell bottoms” as they drape over his shoes. Flared bottoms aside, Bond’s lightweight wool gabardine flat front trousers are perfectly tailored with a fitted waistband devoid of belt, braces, or side adjusters, fastened only with a concealed hook closure on an extended tab. Assuming they are styled like his other civilian trousers in The Spy Who Loved Me, the only outer pockets would be a single jetted button-through back right pocket.
Moore wears his usual black horsebit leather moccasins with gold bit detailing and tall-heeled leather soles. They may be Ferragamo, an appropriate choice given the Italian setting and a more likely candidate than Gucci after having been admonished by his friend and neighbor—who happened to be Salvatore Ferragamo’s daughter-in-law—for prominently sporting Gucci in his first two James Bond movies. 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.
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.
How to Get the Look
James Bond’s fashionable seaside blazer and slacks for a voyage off the Sardinian coast in The Spy Who Loved Me blends fashion-forward aesthetics and classic maritime resort wear.
- Dark navy lightweight worsted single-breasted 2-button blazer with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets with slanted ticket pocket, sewn-through silver-toned metal buttons, 4-button cuffs, and long double vents
- White-and-blue irregularly candy-striped cotton shirt with large point collar, front placket, and “Lapidus” single-button tab cuffs
- Blue shantung silk tie
- White lightweight wool gabardine flat front trousers with fitted waistband, button-through back right pocket, and flared plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black Italian leather horsebit loafers with gold bit 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.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
You ever get the feeling that somebody doesn’t like you?