Michael Caine as Chester King, aka “Arthur”, secret agency chief
London, Spring 2014
Film: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Release Date: January 29, 2015
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Tailor: Martin Nicholls
WARNING! Possible spoilers ahead!
This week’s second consecutive post featuring style from Kingsman: The Secret Service celebrates the 85th birthday of Sir Michael Caine, CBE, the iconic star who established himself in fashionable ’60s fare like Alfie, The Italian Job, and The Ipcress File. In the latter film, a grounded response to the spectacle-laden James Bond franchise, Caine’s bespectacled spy Harry Palmer would provide a template for the distinctive look to be adopted by the agents of Kingsman five decades hence.
Caine’s role in Kingsman: The Secret Service can be likened to the wizened “M” of the 007 franchise, though his role in the agents’ training process shares similarities to one of the real life influences for M: early MI6 chief Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming. Cumming was known for his idiosyncratic behavior during interviews with potential agents, often gauging their shock when stabbing his artificial leg with a knife.
When Eggsy approaches Arthur for his final review in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Arthur has an equally unorthodox – but decidedly more tragic – request designed to test Eggsy’s mettle.
What’d He Wear?
Michael Caine’s Arthur wears two suits over the course of Kingsman: The Secret Service, both gray with a windowpane overcheck. Unlike many of the items worn by Galahad or Eggsy, this lighter gray flannel twill suit with its tan-and-rust windowpane didn’t make it into MR PORTER’s “costume collection” offered in collaboration with the film.
The suit jacket’s gray plastic buttons are arranged in a six-on-two rectangular layout with the two vestigal top buttons on the same vertical axis as the rest of the buttons, more consistent with classic naval uniform jackets as well as the mod ’60s style associated with Caine’s early career. The jacket has peak lapels, as one would expect with a double-breasted jacket, that extend wide across Caine’s chest with a buttonhole through each.
Arthur’s jacket has padded shoulders and heavily roped sleeveheads and is almost definitely cut with the same long double vents as his other suit jacket as well as the double-breasted jackets of his agents. The jacket has a welted breast pocket for his navy pocket square, straight flapped hip pockets, and functioning four-button “surgeon’s cuffs” on the ends of his sleeves, though he foregoes unbuttoning one of the cuff buttons like Harry does.
Arthur likely wears a pair of flat front trousers with the same extended hook-and-eye waist front tab and slide-buckle adjuster side tabs as appear on other Kingsman suit trousers. The trousers have side pockets and are finished on the bottoms with turn-ups (cuffs) in contrast to the plain-hemmed bottoms of his younger agents.
Naturally, Arthur follows the “oxfords, not brogues” edict that refers both to Kingsman agents’ clever passcode and their Cleverley shoes. London bespoke shoemaker George Cleverley contributed many pairs of black leather five-eyelet cap-toe oxfords to the production and, like many other items of sartorial interest from the Kingsman universe, are still available in the MR PORTER collection for $950.
Arthur further differentiates his style from his fellow Kingsman agents by wearing exclusively pink shirts and ties throughout the film.
Likely made by London legacy shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser, Arthur’s pale pink cotton twill shirt has a cutaway spread collar and double (French) cuffs that he fastens with a set of rose gold-plated cuff links embossed with the Kingsman crest on both sides of each link.
Arthur’s tie maintains the navy, burgundy, and pink color scheme of the standard Kingsman tie, but with sets of two thin burgundy stripes bisected by a thin navy stripe to create the effect of bold, single stripes – in the classic British “uphill” direction – on a pink twill ground. A half-silk, half-cotton faille version of the tie is available from the MR PORTER collection for $140.
Drake’s also contributed pocket squares to the film, and Arthur wears one in navy silk, folded to display the white rolled edges. Like the tie, a similar version of the pocket square can be purchased from the MR PORTER collection for $65.
When overseeing the training of an ultimately disappointing Kingsman cadet, Arthur covers his suit with a charcoal wool single-breasted Chesterfield coat with wide peak lapels, a high-fastening fly front, long single vent, and slanted flapped hip pockets with a ticket pocket. Like his suit jacket beneath it, the overcoat has roped sleeveheads. Arthur’s outerwear also includes a gray cashmere wool scarf and black leather gloves.
One could argue that Michael Caine is the reason the Kingsman agents wear their distinctive square-framed glasses, chosen as a homage to the Curry & Paxton specs worn by Michael Caine as Harry Palmer in the espionage classic The Ipcress File (1965).
Cutler & Gross contributed the eyewear for Kingsman: The Secret Service, outfitting each agent with a pair of tortoiseshell acetate glasses.
Arthur wears his gold signet pinky ring, debossed with the Kingsman crest, on his right pinky.
Arthur also wears the standard Bremont luxury watch featured in Kingsman: The Secret Service, a modified version of Bremont’s World Timer (ALT1-WT) chronograph in 18-karat rose gold with an internally rotating bi-directional bezel with global time zones, a white metal-finished dial with three sub-dials and date window, and an embossed brown calfskin strap with a rose gold single-pin buckle.
Bremont created the “Kingsman” range of three luxury watches that would be worn by characters in the film, and Bremont co-founder Nick English actually makes a brief cameo in the film as a Kingsman agent.
How to Get the Look
Arthur may be considerably older than the rest of his agents, but his colorful style is decidedly less conservative, a wink to Michael Caine’s history as a symbol of mod fashion… as well as proof that there’s nothing boring about “dressing like an old man!”
- Gray flannel worsted (with tan-on-rust windowpane) tailored suit:
- Double-breasted 6-on-2 button jacket with wide peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, functional 4-button cuffs, and double vents
- Flat front suit trousers with extended hidden hook-and-eye closure squared waist tab, buckle-strap side adjuster tabs, straight/on-seam side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Pale pink cotton twill Turnbull & Asser shirt with cutaway spread collar and double/French cuffs
- Pink silk twill tie with burgundy-navy-burgundy “uphill” stripes
- Navy silk pocket square with rolled white edges
- Black calf leather George Cleverley five-eyelet cap-toe oxford shoes
- Black cotton lisle socks
- Gold signet pinky ring
- Bremont Kingsman Special Edition Rose Gold automatic chronometer with 18-karat rose gold 43mm case, white dial (with 3 sub-dials and 3:00 date window), and brown embossed calfskin leather strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
At least the girl’s got balls.