And Then There Were None: Lombard’s Tuxedo
Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard, adventurer and ex-mercenary
Devon, England, August 1939
Series Title: And Then There Were None
Air Date: December 26-28, 2015
Director: Craig Viveiros
Costume Designer: Lindsay Pugh
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As we get closer to St. Patrick’s Day, BAMF Style is focusing on another Irishman, Aidan Turner, the Dublin-born actor who many are suggesting as a possibility for taking over the James Bond mantle as the prospects of Daniel Craig’s return seem dwindling.
Of course, an important aspect of the 007 role is how well an actor sports a dinner suit, so we’re checking out the period black tie ensemble that Turner wore as Philip Lombard in the BBC’s 2015 miniseries And Then There Were None.
Published in 1939, And Then There Were None is widely considered to be Agatha Christie’s masterpiece and—with more than 100 million copies sold around the world—tops the charts as the world’s best-selling mystery novel and the sixth best-selling book of all time. It had been adapted for the screen several times, most faithfully in 1945 (albeit with a more positive ending), until the three-part miniseries that aired after Christmas 2015 set the gold standard for adapting Christie’s work.
Turner joined an all-star cast including Charles Dance, Sam Neill, Maeve Dermody, Miranda Richardson, and Toby Stephens in the classic story of ten strangers summoned to an island mansion for a summer weekend retreat. They range from a retired judge and a judgmental spinster to an alcoholic doctor and a rakish socialite, Anthony Marston (Douglas Booth), the only one that calls out the peculiarity of their situation:
I had a letter inviting me to a house party. Pretty young things, you know? Champagne, music… and apart from Lombard, who looks like he could cut up a bit lively, the rest of you don’t really look like fun-loving house party types. No offense.
The first evening, all are dressed for dinner when they discover that none of them have ever met their supposed host, U.N. Owen (Christie’s characters weren’t above puns), and find their deepest secrets revealed as a mysterious recording accuses them each of murder. Every character refutes his or her respective charges…except the cheeky Lombard who sees no reason to deny his past:
Philip Lombard, that you did murder 21 men, members of an East African tribe…
Lombard isn’t alone in his non-denial. The reckless Marston recollects “those two kids” that he killed in a drunk driving incident that led to the “terrific nuisance” of a six-month suspended license. The guests are disgusted by Marston, but their revulsion soon turns to horror as the swaggering young socialite chokes to death before their eyes. Something is amiss…
What’d He Wear?
The seven English gentlemen invited to dinner on Soldier Island all dress for dinner the first night, sporting black tie that would have been appropriate and fashionable for a summer evening in 1939. Philip Lombard’s classic single-breasted dinner jacket with its sweeping peak lapels and his wing collar shirt would have been the epitome of fashionable English formalwear in the immediately pre-war era. Double-breasted dinner jackets had been catching on throughout the decade as a fashionable but ultimately less formal – and thus, more American – alternative.
It’s worth noting that, in the 1945 film, Louis Hayward’s Lombard wears a double-breasted dinner jacket with a turndown collar, perhaps a reflection of the character’s casual nature and the more staid context during the latter years of World War II.
Surprisingly, given the character’s general irreverence, Aidan Turner wears a very formal dinner suit in the 2015 adaptation. His black wool single-breasted dinner jacket has full-bellied peak lapels, faced in black grosgrain. The wide lapels have long gorges with edges that even rise above the concave shoulder line, and the width is so exaggerated that the lapels even roll over the single link-button closure in the front, which he wears open anyway.
The concave shoulders with roped sleeveheads and the width of the lapels at the peaks work with the ventless back and suppressed waist to deliver an hourglass silhouette that emphasizes Lombard’s sleek, athletic physique, no doubt contributing to Marston’s conclusion that he “could cut up a bit lively.” The dinner jacket has a welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, and three black plastic buttons on the end of each cuff.
A traditionally British element of Lombard’s black tie ensemble is the wing collar on his starched white formal shirt. By the late 1930s, the turndown collar had usurped the classic wing collar in popularity – particularly in the United States – but the wing collar remained the most formal option. Lombard wears his on a starched white boiled shirt with two studs visible on the front bib. The shirt’s single cuffs are worn with a set of silver-trimmed black square cuff links, essentially larger versions of the shirt studs.
Lombard wears a black grosgrain silk self-tied bow tie in a large butterfly/thistle shape.
Lombard’s black wool formal waistcoat has luxurious shawl lapels and a low, V-shaped opening. It is single-breasted with four black plastic sew-through buttons all worn fastened and a notched bottom.
Lombard’s black high-rise trousers have period-correct pleats and the standard silk side stripe – grosgrain here to match the lapel facings and bow tie. The bottoms are finished with plain hems, as they should be on a dinner suit.
Lombard wears black patent leather oxford shoes and black dress socks.
Barely seen under Lombard’s shirt sleeve is his tank watch, a simple square-cased wristwatch on a russet brown leather strap. A pocket watch would have been the most traditional option, particularly with a classic formal look like Lombard’s, but a sportsman like him would probably prefer to keep his daily timepiece without sacrificing function for form.
How to Get the Look
Despite his irreverent nature and bold suits and casual attire, Philip Lombard sports very traditional and classically British evening wear when dressing for dinner with the other doomed guests on Soldier Island.
- Black wool single-breasted 1-button dinner jacket with wide grosgrain-faced lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Black wool single-breasted 4-button formal waistcoat with shawl lapels and notched bottom
- Black wool single-pleated high-rise formal trousers with satin side stripe, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- White formal shirt with starched front bib and single cuffs
- Detachable wing collar
- Silver-trimmed black square studs
- Silver-trimmed black square cufflinks
- Black grosgrain butterfly-shaped self-tied bow tie
- Black patent leather oxfords/balmorals
- Black dress socks
- Steel tank watch with square tan dial on russet brown leather strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the series and Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel, one of my favorites and certainly deserving of its best-selling status.
It’s amazing how people get an attack of conscience when they’re safely tucked away in their beds.
Turner is effective in the role, but it’s hard to imagine his Lombard—or any Lombard played by a modern actor—deliver the restrained insult “my good blockhead” that always stood out to me from Christie’s novel.