Roger Moore’s Tracksuit in A View to a Kill

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Château de Chantilly, France, Spring 1985

Film: A View to a Kill
Release Date: May 22, 1985
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Well, now I’ve really gone and done it. After writing about the goombahs’ tracksuits in Goodfellas and The Sopranos over the last few years, I finally decided that this 00-7th of the month called for me to scribe my ode to Old Man 007 dressing himself in Paulie Walnuts’ finest in my least favorite James Bond movie, A View to a Kill.

I don’t believe I’m alone in my dislike for Sir Roger’s swan song as 007, though I do respect its illustrious champions like Robbie Sims, who runs the delightfully entertaining Twitter @TheTchaikovsky and whose book, Quantum of Silliness, is a must-have for the bookshelf of any serious Bond fan with a sense of humor.

Of course, A View to a Kill shares that particular Bond movie quality where even my least favorite is still highly watchable. Even though I derided Moore’s tracksuit as “cringe-worthy” in a Primer article last month, it only felt right that my inaugural post about my 25th favorite official Bond movie focus on what I felt to be one of the agent’s more ridiculous—if also most comfortable—outfits… particularly as this post comes just one day after National Tracksuit Day, a “holiday” instituted by Adidas to be observed annually on November 6 to celebrate the athletic garb they pioneered.

What’d He Wear?

James Bond’s casual attire was rarely as friendly to Sir Roger as his elegantly tailored and fashionably appointed suits, though the fault also rests with the general trends of men’s casual-wear during the era in which Moore played 007. Given that, Moore and his costume teams always made the most with what they had to work from.

Bond has gone undercover as the sophisticated—if somewhat smug—socialite “James St. John Smythe” at the stables owned by the bleach-haired industrialist Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) in northern France. Contrasting from the stylish tweed jackets he wears by day, Bond sneaks into Zorin’s laboratory that evening with his friend and ally, Sir Godfrey Tibbett (Patrick Macnee), wearing a dark velour tracksuit that’s unlike anything we’d previously seen from Bond’s wardrobe.

True, he’s dressed in the Bond tradition of sporting all black for sneaking around at night, which dates back to Sean Connery’s black polos and trousers in Goldfinger and Thunderball, though he’s updated his fits to follow mid-1980s fashions. In his defense, the tracksuit could help Bond—or, uh, St. John Smythe—make the case that, should he be caught, he was merely out for a late night jog rather than collecting intel for his MI6 mission. In his excellent Bond Suits post analyzing the clothing of Bond’s St. John Smythe persona, Matt Spaiser additionally contextualizes that “the Fila tracksuit works for St. John Smythe, who wears it for its high-fashion status as well as for comfort… it also shows that St. John Smythe is a playboy who fancies looking young by showing off his hip fashion sense.” (Read more about the tracksuit in context from Bond Suits here.)

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Zorin can’t blame James St. John Smythe for taking a light evening jog in his tracksuit… though when he starts stapling his employees into shipping crates, Zorin has a little more reason to be suspicious.

The midnight blue velour tracksuit was made by Fila, an Italian sportswear label founded in 1911. With its history producing what may now be known as activewear or “athleisure” apparel, Fila was well-positioned to capitalize on the increasing demand for tracksuits at the height of their fashionability from the 1970s into the ’80s. Fila tracksuits would also be featured by the gangsters on The Sopranos, and the brand continues offering an array of sweatsuits and tracksuits today.

Moore’s screen-worn Fila tracksuit was auctioned by Christie’s in December 2001, described in the listing as:

A two-piece tracksuit of midnight blue velour, the top with slit pockets and zip fastening trimmed with white piping, labelled inside FILA, the corresponding jogging pants with elasticated waist and white tie fastening, similarly labelled.

The waist-length track jacket has a short, standing collar that tapers toward the front like the knit collar of a classic bomber jacket. White piping trims the collar, the shoulder seams around and through the center of each raglan sleeve, and along the top of the slanted hand pockets. The jacket has a black-finished zipper up the front, the dark silver-finished zip has a dangling square black zip pull that may be imprinted with the Fila logo.

Bond wears the jacket zipped up over a dark blue cotton crew-neck T-shirt, likely short-sleeved.

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

The matching track pants are also midnight-blue velour, though there’s no visible white piping or detail aside from the “white tie fastening” informed by the Christie’s auction listing but not significantly seen on screen. There are slanted pockets on each side, and the bottoms are left plain unlike the elasticized “jogger”-style hems that prevent the trouser bottoms from getting in the way of a runner’s feet.

Bond’s all-black sneakers are consistent with the tracksuit’s athletic-oriented origins and purpose, reinforcing his potentially needing to explain to Zorin’s guards that he was just out for some evening exercise. The black leather uppers have six eyelet sets for the flat black laces, and the heels appear to be a more softly napped leather, like suede. The flat rubber outsoles are also black, and Bond wears black ribbed socks.

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Beginning with The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore’s Bond exclusively wore SEIKO watches, increasing his collection up to the three timepieces that he wears on screen in A View to a Kill. The black dive watch and steel quartz sports watch are reserved for Bond’s regular life, but he even adopts a SEIKO while undercover as St. John Smythe.

The “St. John Smythe” watch is a stainless steel SEIKO 6923-8080 Quartz SPD094 with a gold dial and worn on a two-toned bracelet, a three-piece link band similar to the famous Rolex “Presidential”. SEIKO had tipped off the quartz revolution with the development of the innovative Astron at the end of 1969 and the introduction of quartz chronographs over the following decade. You can read more about this particular watch at James Bond Lifestyle, which also explains that some of the St. John Smythe scenes may feature Roger Moore’s own personal Rolex Datejust in a similar metal configuration.

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Luckily, St. John Smythe’s SEIKO survives the brawl.

The next day, Zorin uses a camera concealed in his mirror to scan Bond’s face, reporting back a real-time identification that the blazer-clad man before him is not the refined horse buyer James St. John Smythe but, instead, James Bond, a British agent with a license to kill. He’s presented with a pixilated image of Bond that, despite its poor resolution, appears to show him wearing this outfit when the MI6 file photo had been taken.

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

SUBJECT IS………. JAMES BOND

Moore evidently appreciated the comfort of Fila’s sportswear, as a behind-the-scenes photo from an earlier scene of Bond and Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) depicts his white dinner jacket swapped out for a more conspicuously branded Fila track jacket. Also made from a dark velour, this jacket has a lighter-colored collar, cuffs, and hem, with zippers down each shoulder seam and a white zipper up the front. The red, white, and blue embroidered “F” over the left breast represents the Fila logo.

Roger Moore and Tanya Roberts during production of A View to a Kill (1985)

This idea may be a few days late for this year’s revelers, but Leisure Bond could make for a comfortably classy Halloween costume!

How to Get the Look

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985). Photo sourced from thunderballs.org.

Trendy casual-wear tends to grow quickly dated, though the cyclical attention paid to tracksuits thanks to shows like The Sopranos and Squid Game suggest that there will always be an enduring—if somewhat surprising—cultural relevance to Sir Roger Moore slipping into a comfortable midnight-hued velour Fila tracksuit and black sneakers for a late-night investigation in his final 007 movie, A View to a Kill.

  • Midnight-blue velour zip-up track jacket with white-piped short collar, raglan sleeves, and slanted hand pockets
  • Midnight-blue velour elastic-waisted track pants with slanted pockets and plain-finished bottoms
  • Dark-blue cotton crew-neck short-sleeve T-shirt
  • Black leather-upper 6-eyelet sneakers with black rubber soles
  • SEIKO 6923-8080 Quartz SPD094 stainless steel watch with round gold dial on two-tone link bracelet

Orlebar Brown paid homage to the track jacket for the first release of its 007 Heritage Collection, marketing the “A View to a Kill Jacket” but updating the fabric to a navy terry toweling cotton more consistent with the brand’s specialty.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie… perhaps following Matt Singer’s positive reassessment, published in 2012 for Indiewire.

The Quote

Quite a letdown.

2 comments

  1. RM

    I’ve always preferred Sir Roge’s wackier, less critically acclaimed films; Moonraker, The Man with the Golden Gun and yes View to a Kill. They played to Moore’s strengths and diffentiated him from Sir Sean’s interpretation.
    PS Am I going stir or does the velour track jacket over a bow tie and dress shirt kinda work? Seems like some Ralph Lauren would do.

Leave a Reply