Article by Eisuke – Inspired by Bond.
..we had Angelo Petrucci, Brioni’s supervisor for Brosnan’s wardrobe in the film, cooperate with us to replicate this blazer. How cool is that?
The Last Bond Blazer
In Part 1, we discussed the emotional journey behind the acquisition of the blazer, the process of fabric selection, and the buttons. In Part 2, we discuss the completed product and the details of the blazer and the model, along with some contextual analysis of why this blazer is worn open. It’s a classic garment that I can’t get enough of, which I’m sure Raccoon wouldn’t be able to get enough of as well.
Having this made bespoke may sound a bit overzealous for some people as, frankly speaking, there’s nothing particularly flashy about this. No pink buttonholes, wacky adjusters, contrasting collars, or anything that isn’t already on the market. Just a very simple double breasted hopsack blazer. Some may argue a garment as simple as this does not have to cost a million dollars (it doesn’t) for it to be made specifically bespoke.
Learn more about the relationship between Brioni and James Bond in the book From Tailors With Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films, available on Amazon.
Angelo Petrucci returns
But the value isn’t there in this particular case. Just like the navy birdseye GoldenEye suit, the money goes to the millimetre-level precision fitting and getting something relatively basic done exactly as you want it. But most of all, it’s about the exclusive attention one gets in order to restore a significant historical piece from the past, with the best people making the best efforts to do so. Just like last time, we had Angelo Petrucci, Brioni’s supervisor for Brosnan’s wardrobe in the film, cooperate with us to replicate this Bond blazer. How cool is that?
Without the gimmicks
This is not to say that gimmicky details are bad in any way — I’m personally an advocate of the half Norfolk style jacket, which pretty much makes me a walking showcase of unorthodox detail. Come to think of it, Bond’s style goes in and out of the detail obsession. At the height of it, you have Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle styles where literally every part of the suit deviates from the norm.
On the other end, you have something like these Brioni styles that are all about the clean lines and lightweight tailoring. This blazer is an epitome of the latter. In a versatile cloth, a classic cut, and with simple details, this is a prime example of something that can be popped on for almost any occasion without telling the world you’re a James Bond fan. Whether that be a meeting, a weekend jaunt, or some casual infiltration on a random boat.
Double breasted, fancy that
We knew based on Brioni’s confirmation and Matt’s blog that this was a double-breasted jacket in their “Plinio” model, which was essentially the double-breasted version of the Augusto. Each single-breasted jacket model would have a double-breasted model equivalent, though the name would not necessarily be different. For example, some seasons would simply add on “Double” at the end (i.e. Brunico Double), while in this case, it had its double-breasted brother under the name “Plinio.”
A word from Brioni
So what sets the “Plinio” model apart from the other models? Compared to one of their current double-breasted models, “Parioli,” here is Brioni’s official answer,
The ‘Plinio’ is an early model with thick shoulder pads of approximately 1cm (The Parioli has much thinner shoulder pads at around 0.3cm). The button stance is higher. The gorge, armhole, and waist point is set much lower, with a longer jacket length.
Left: Parioli, Right: Plinio
The “Plinio” model, in comparison to the later models, is stronger, longer, and overall more top-heavy as we see Brosnan wear. As nit-picky as I should ever be, I found the “high button stance” part quite fascinating. Meaning while the model’s “waist point” or the shaping in the waist is placed lower in the body, the buttoning point is set higher.
The discrepancy between the buttoning point and the waist positioning isn’t uncommon, particularly in double-breasted styles. For example, the show 6, button 3 style worn by George Lazenby’s Bond is a primary example where the waist’s shape is clearly lower than the top button.
A clear-cut example of a garment where the button stance is lower than the waist positioning is the Bond blazer made by Hayward worn in For Your Eyes Only. Having a button stance even lower than where the waist is shaped inevitably brings the eyes down (regardless of the gorge), downplays the position of the waist by covering it up entirely, and makes your legs seem shorter than they need to be.
While British tailors in general are known to make clothes in this low button, high waisted style, the extent Hayward takes it here is an extreme outlier and has not stood the test of time as well as his other clothes.
Even Hayward’s example, while worshipped for the master craftsman he is, is somewhat controversial for these extreme proportions. Would it have worked on Brosnan though? Well, in Season 3 of Remington Steele, we see Brosnan wear this style — high waist, low button. And here is the outcome.
A Decade Later
While Brosnan’s Steele examples have more padded shoulders than Moore’s, the buttoning points of both Moore’s and Brosnan’s jackets bunch up, creating a little belly-like curve and looking a little messy from the front. This visibly lowers Brosnan’s waist, and does not flatter him as well as his other clothes despite the rest of the suit fitting very well.
Ten years later, when he became Bond and was put in the hands of Brioni, Angelo Petrucci, chief master tailor of Brioni discovers Brosnan’s “longer torso and comparatively short legs, needing an extra seven-centimetre rise on his trousers and four centimetres on his jacket waistlines to offset the disparity.” The Plinio’s “high button stance” feature does just that, sacrificing the fashionable 80s look in lieu of the somewhat 40s look it brings to Brosnan otherwise.
Following the lines
The Plinio’s waist is very gently nipped, appearing almost sack-like in comparison to the more prominent styles of Anthony Sinclair and Tom Ford, known for their hourglass-shape jackets today. The heightened button stance creates an almost barrel-like silhouette, subtly following, not fighting, against the lines of the body.
In the open
So why, after all I discussed above, does Brosnan wear his Bond Blazer (along with most of his other jackets) open? Above all, I believe it is for the ease of access to his Galco EX204 holster and Walther PPK that he wears underneath. Since I’m not an expert in firearms worn with tailoring, I reached out to Caleb Daniels of Commando Bond, a specialist in this field, to confirm whether this testament is true.
If it’s lower in cut it’s manageable to access. Naturally it’s preferable for the jacket to be open. But provided the cut is more natural and less skin tight.
He also added,
A button[ed] jacket is incredibly constraining. When Bond draws and then goes to shoot the PPK with both arms extended, a buttoned jacket fights back, preventing a solid firing stance. If you push both arms out in a buttoned jacket to make an isosceles triangle you’ll see what I mean!
Ready for action
These points imply that a buttoned jacket/top layer does not make functional sense, and it would be most inefficient for Bond to engage combat in. In reality, Brosnan always starts with the top layer (jacket, coat) open for his action suits in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, and quickly unbuttons his jackets as he anticipates any action in The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day.
(The one exception is with his dinner jacket in Die Another Day when he is ambushed from behind, but he quickly unbuttons his jacket as soon as he shakes off his villain).
Case and jacket closed
As far fetched as his sense of dressing in general may be, he takes an extremely rational approach in this matter. We can conclude at this point that a closed double-breasted jacket with a relatively high cut (as seen on Brosnan & Raccoon’s examples above) would not only be difficult but irrational for Bond, having to deal with more “pressing” matters than what he’s thrown into.
Daniels further adds,
Like anything else, Bond would need to do dry fire, that is, drills without ammunition (as he does in OHMSS) to ensure he has rapid access and muscle memory with his draw. Especially when adding new items such as a double breasted jacket to his wardrobe.
The last time Bond wore anything double breasted was in The Living Daylights 8 years previous to GoldenEye, with firearms in A View to a Kill a decade before, both as evening wear.
With that much of a blank, and a new tailor in Italy, with a completely different cut, Bond would definitely have gone through this dry fire process. From all these points above, he probably figured keeping it open was the most practical way of wearing this jacket.
The jacket’s details are very much like a typical suit jacket with metal buttons: a medium-wide lapel, straight flapped pockets, double vents, shanked buttons, and typical pick stitching along the edges. As usual with Raccoon, the focus is more about replicating the original, giving it a modern update, so this is a true restoration of Brioni tailoring in the ‘90s. Let’s look at it in detail.
Most notably, the wide, extended, thick Roman shoulder is present. The shoulder blade ends beyond the shoulder, plus there is a 1cm pad that thickens with wadding on the end. The extra wadding supports the sleeve cap’s structure, resulting in a subtle roped shoulder that accentuates these shoulders even further. This means the overall effect on Raccoon is extremely strong, as his shoulders are less sloped than Brosnan’s.
The lapels are at 9.5cm, which is relatively wide but results in a medium width in conjunction with the shoulders. Especially with the peaked lapels that create breadth across the body, it has an imposing look while still being classic and understated. The original seems a hint wider, but this is in comparison to his overextended shoulders — the ratio is perfect here. Naturally, both lapels have buttonholes as per tradition.
The vent length is 25.5cm, which is long in comparison to the jacket’s total length at 72.5cm. This corresponds to the jacket length which is considerably longer than standard.
Rule of thumb
There is a common perception for jacket length, where it is ideally meant to meet the knuckle of your thumb in a relaxed pose. This should be taken with a grain of salt, since people have varying arm lengths and could look totally off for some people. Given the jacket’s added length, these long double vents do the job of defining the small of the back and the waist at a higher position, while still keeping within the Plinio’s generous cut.
The sleeve length was adjusted to Brosnan’s, which on one end corresponds to the length of the jacket, but on the other contributes to the oversized impression of the original. But after all, this is more about excavating relics from the past than achieving perfection in tailoring.
The jacket’s buttons are shanked and described in detail in Part 1, but they are the exact buttons used for Brosnan’s version in 1995. Should one want to make this blazer today, it’s still available. The weight of the buttons can best be seen at the state of them facing downwards – they are proper, hefty metal buttons.
The functional cuffs are sewn on in the “waterfall” fashion, meaning they are spaced close to each other to appear as if they cascade over one another. Bond’s cuffs, apart from some exceptions (like Dalton’s morning suit in Licence to Kill) have always been functional cuffs. However, this blazer marks the first time we see Bond’s sleeve cuff buttons with this type of cuff.
This gives off an air of Italian style, but Brioni does not do this by default. Brioni gives the customer an option of how much you want your buttons to overlap, to even more drastic levels or completely separate from one another. This was a conscious decision we took, based on numerous screen-grabs that proved this detail on Brosnan’s copy.
As we end this lengthy post on this Bond blazer, let me finish with Raccoon’s comments on his GoldenEye endeavour:
On December 1, 2020, the Arecibo telescope met its end. Almost as if it were waiting for the end of the 25 year anniversary of GoldenEye. The Tale of the Heike (an old Japanese war chronicle) says, ‘All things that have shape will break someday.’ This implies that anything in existence will one day lose shape and be forgotten. That is unless somebody makes an effort to preserve it. As we can see with Sean Connery’s Bond clothes, despite him being at the zenith of fame and popularity in the ‘60s, the fabric sources used for his suits are now forever lost in history.
So a thought came to mind. Last year was all about making the tank chase birdseye suit, but that was out of pure interest and aspiration. But this time my motive was different. Unless someone takes the plunge, someone takes the effort to contact the tailor, I thought these clothes will become information lost in history, just like Connery’s clothes.
Raccoon will return
This may be me overthinking, but that made me very sad. But at the same time, I felt obliged to dig out these clothes from the past and bring them back to the present. To leave a resource of information for the later generation. With No Time to Die postponed once again, it makes us think about what we can do as we wait. Here are some words from the film Ready Player One to conclude this post.
‘Why can’t we go backwards… for once?’
I hope you enjoyed this Bond Blazer article. Watch out for more to come. – Regards, Raccoon007
Angelo Petrucci quote from an article on The Age.