For Your Eyes Only: Bond’s Sheepskin Jacket and New Lotus
Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Spring 1981
Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
Today’s post extends #CarWeek to close out this year’s 40th anniversary celebration of my favorite of Roger Moore’s Bond movies, For Your Eyes Only, with a wintry look apropos the 00-7th of December as Mr. Bond drives into the ski resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo behind the wheel of his latest Q-issued Lotus, dressed for warmth in shearling and cashmere.
Following a tip from the Italian secret service, Bond has arrived to interface with MI6’s “man in northern Italy”—Luigi Ferrara (John Moreno)—as he surveils Locque, the mysterious man he had observed paying off Hector Gonzales.
What’d He Wear?
Though we technically see him avant any skiing, James Bond’s wardrobe for his arrival in Cortina d’Ampezzo is an ideal après-ski look, incorporating classy yet casual sensibilities.
Bond’s outer layer is a waist-length blouson jacket in shearling sheepskin, a venerable fabric that has been renowned for millennia for its insulating warmth. As described simply by sartorial expert Sir Hardy Amies in his 1964 volume ABCs of Men’s Fashion, “sheepskin is the skin of the sheep with the wool left on, and dressed as a whole for garment making. A sheepskin coat, therefore, will present a suede outside and an attached wool lining inside.” You can read more about sheepskin outerwear—and find film-inspired examples for any budget—in a recent post from my friend at Iconic Alternatives.
Esquire‘s The Handbook of Style theorizes that “shearling predates fashion,” with its use as clothing reportedly innovated by Neanderthals… which would date it to more than 40,000 years ago. More recently, sheepskin found a renewed usage among high-flying pilots in the early days of aviation after the advent of the sheepskin Irvin flying jacket for the RAF in the 1920s, followed by the B-3 bomber jacket for U.S. aviators. Closer to the ground, sheepskin has been long established as a snowy season favorite as it stays warm when wet yet dries quickly, and—a particular asset for skiers and sportsmen—resists picking up body odors.
Bond’s sheepskin jacket presents a light brown suede-like outer shell, with the inside lined in a darker brown softly piled lambswool fur. The gilt-finished zipper would presumably zip up to close over the throat in a funnel-neck fashion, though Moore wears the top of the jacket unzipped to the chest, which presents the top of the fur lining resting flat over his shoulders like a broad collar. The sleeves are set-in and finished at the cuff with brown ribbed knitting, echoed by the ribbed-knit hem. There are also hand pockets on each side with a vertical welted opening.
A unique distinguishing characteristic of Moore’s screen-worn jacket is a sewn-on piece that extends over the shoulders to mid-chest and mid-back, where a seam extends down vertically the back to the hem. It’s possible that the jacket may not be fully fur-lined like a classic sheepskin coat, and that this sewn-in piece indicates the extent of the jacket’s fur lining. This would also explain why the cuffs and hem are knitted rather than showing pile as seen on traditional sheepskin coats.
Whether the jacket belonged to Roger Moore before the production or became a favorite after it was provided by costume designer Elizabeth Waller, the actor kept it in his rotation and was photographed wearing it during the re-opening of Pinewood Studios, four years later during the production of his final Bond adventure, A View to a Kill.
Under his jacket, 007 wears a turtleneck sweater likely made from soft cashmere, detailed with a ribbed roll-neck, cuffs, and hem. The sweater’s bronze color may be the only piece of this outfit where I’d have recommended a different direction for Mr. Bond—not because I find it dated, though some might—but rather to break up the monochromatism with his light brown jacket and trousers, perhaps by opting for a burgundy, navy, or forest-green jumper instead.
Always ready for action, Bond wears his Walther PPK semi-automatic pistol in its usual light brown leather shoulder holster, secured in place by a cream-colored nylon strap extending across his back and around his right shoulder. While shoulder holsters may not be practical for many who aren’t secret agents, the bulk of Bond’s sheepskin jacket would permit him to effectively wear one without “printing” (i.e., showing the outline of his concealed weapon through his clothing.)
Keeping the colors of his clothing consistent, Bond wears woolen twill trousers in a light, drab shade of brown similar to fallow. In his exploration of the outfit for Bond Suits, Matt Spaiser suggests that the trousers were likely made by Douglas Hayward, Moore’s usual tailor beginning at this time in the early 1980s. The hem of his untucked turtleneck covers the waistband even when he no longer wears his jacket, but these flat front trousers may be held up with a belt like the rest of his Hayward-tailored trousers in For Your Eyes Only.
The plain-hemmed trouser bottoms cover the tops of his dark brown leather cap-toe boots, which rise over his ankles and appear to be secured in place with an inside zipper. Likely made by Salvatore Ferragamo, given Moore’s personal devotion to wearing the brand on screen by the early ’80s, these boots are only fleetingly seen on screen but more prominently in a series of promotional photos featuring Moore with his new copper Lotus, having swapped out the sheepskin jacket for a far more conspicuous white nylon blouson jacket with the “007” logo printed in black over the right breast, matching the black collar, cuffs, waist hem, zipper, pocket zips, and sleeve striping. The name “Roger Moore” is printed above the logo, with “Q Labs” outlined in black on the opposing side of the jacket.
When he slips off his chestnut brown leather three-point gloves, Bond’s stainless steel SEIKO H357-5040 Duo Display can be spied shining from his left wrist. This quartz-powered alarm chronograph is configured with a four-pinned square face consisting primarily of a black rectangular analog dial, partitioned at the top for a single-row digital LED display intended to function alternately as a calendar, digital clock, alarm, and stopwatch… as well as a messaging device, thanks to Q’s engineering. You can read more about Bond’s SEIKO H357-5040 at James Bond Lifestyle, which identified the exact screen-used model as #WHV005.
By The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore had firmly established his own characterization of 007, and with this character evolution came new brand partnerships. Just as the Rolexes favored by Sean Connery and George Lazenby would eventually be replaced by SEIKOs, the sleek Aston-Martins carried over from Ian Fleming’s source novels were swapped out for sporty Lotus coupes even more gadget-laden than Sir Sean’s DB5.
For Your Eyes Only boasts two different Lotuses. The first, a white Esprit Turbo echoing the submersible “Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me, was destroyed when Gonzales’ henchmen activated Bond’s explosive “anti-theft device”. Though this goes beyond the normal “wear and tear” expected in the field, Q then outfitted Bond with a replacement Lotus, a reddish bronze 1981 Lotus Esprit Turbo.
According to Bond lore, both of the For Your Eyes Only Esprits were originally white, but the production team noticed that the lack of contrast between the Cortina Lotus and its snowy surroundings, so this car—registered OPW 678W—was resprayed with “Copper Fire Metallic” paint.
Following its debut at the previous year’s Paris Motor Show, production of the Lotus Esprit began in the summer of 1976. The sporty mid-engined supercar had resulted from the collective work of Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman, motorsport engineer Tony Rudd, and designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who conceptualized the wedge-shaped “folded paper” appearance.
“The story goes that Donovan McLauchlan, public relations manager at Lotus, had been tipped off that [The Spy Who Loved Me] was gearing up for pre-production at Pinewood,” Roger Moore recalls of the Esprit’s entry into the world of Bond in his memoir, Bond on Bond. “It was early 1976, and he drove an Esprit to the studios and parked it right in the path of anyone trying to get in or out of the main admin building entrance. It wasn’t long before Cubby [Broccoli] saw the car and made a phone call—not to get it towed, but to ask all about it. Their gamble paid off.”
After two years in production, the Esprit was falling short on Lotus’ “performance through light weight” philosophy, despite a dramatic increase in sales due to its association with 007. A redesigned and slightly elongated “Series 2” was introduced for the 1978 model year, increasing the curb weight just over a hundred kilograms to weigh in over 1,000 kilograms for the first time. For 1980, Lotus officially addressed the performance issue with its first factory turbocharged Esprit, powered by a dry sump 2.2-liter engine offering 210 horsepower, launching the car from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds.
The Turbo Esprit offered with the Series 3 upgrade in mid-1981 was powered by a wet sump engine with the same displacement and power but increased performance, tightening the 0-60 to under six seconds and pushing the top speed well over 150 mph.
1981 Lotus Essex Turbo Esprit (Series 3)
Body Style: 2-door sports coupe
Layout: rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RMR)
Engine: 2.2 L (2174 cc) Lotus Type 910 turbocharged I4 with dual side-draft Dell’Orto carburetors
Power: 210 hp (157 kW; 213 PS) @ 6250 rpm
Torque: 200 lb·ft (271 N·m) @ 4500 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 96 inches (2438 mm)
Length: 168.5 inches (4280 mm)
Width: 73.3 inches (1861 mm)
Height: 43.7 inches (1111 mm)
According to Joe Breeze for Classic Driver magazine, “it was apparently quite popular with Roger Moore off camera; he merrily shuttled it around the resort between takes.”
In Bond on Bond, Moore himself recalls that one of his favorite scenes featuring the car—and his co-star John Moreno tampering with its gadgets—was “unfortunately cut due to time constraints.” His recollections of driving Esprits were otherwise less than pleasant, recalling that “their engines overheated and batteries ran down quickly,” not to forget that “their low driving position made elegant exits from the car an issue.”
You can read more about the various Lotus Esprits in the Bond franchise at James Bond Lifestyle.
How to Get the Look
James Bond’s clothing is arguably better suited to the snowy environs of Cortina d’Ampezzo than his sports car, as he arrives perfectly dressed for the après-ski scene in his waist-length sheepskin jacket, warmly fur-lined and layered with elegant simplicity over his tonally coordinated cashmere turtleneck and trousers.
- Light brown shearling sheepskin zip-up funnel-neck blouson jacket with brown piled fur lining, vertical welted hand pockets, brown ribbed-knit cuffs, and brown ribbed-knit waist hem
- Bronze cashmere turtleneck sweater
- Fallow-brown woolen twill flat front trousers with plain-hemmed bottoms
- Dark brown leather side-zip cap-toe boots
- Brown leather 3-point gloves
- Light brown leather shoulder holster with cream strap, for Walther PPK
- SEIKO H357-5040/WHV-005 duo-display alarm chronograph with black square face and stainless bracelet
Classic sheepskin can be very expensive—though often worth the investment—and it’s difficult to find varieties that resemble Moore’s jacket with its darker fur inside and the ribbed-knit cuffs and hem. A comfortable and affordable modern substitute could be this faux-suede GUESS bomber jacket (available via Amazon) as well as the recent finds from Iconic Alternatives.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie and read Ian Fleming’s first short story collection, also titled For Your Eyes Only, published in 1960.