Sure, James Bond is dressed to kill and stands as a fashion icon for men the world over. But he’s not the only dapper dresser to grace the screens during a 007 flick.
When it comes to making evil look good, there are few who can pull it off quite as well as a Bond villain. And there’s no need to feel bad about stealing a few fashion tips for their well-dressed selves…well, for most of them, anyway. Join us as we rifle through everything from choice men’s shirts to the stylish accessories of Bond’s best villains.
10. Max Zorin (A View to A Kill)
Though Skyfall’s Silva recently went for the bleach-blond look, he wasn’t the first Bond villain to reach for the bleach: Max Zorin was rocking this look long ago. Still, the look proved to be simultaneously slick and strange, and a stark contrast to Bond’s then-darker locks.
Despite his strange choice of hairdo, his style was definitely on point. Although he sports a black double-breasted dinner suit in direct contrast to Bond’s white single-breasted dinner suit in a rather obvious show of opposites, Zorin’s general style is quite subdued and, dare we say it, normal.
Was this a warning sign? It almost seems like the man is trying just a little too hard to look unsuspicious. You could, perhaps, draw the same feeling from Zorin’s accessories during the Royal Ascot scene, where the villain has a white carnation tucked in his suit lapel. White carnations are said to represent faithfulness and innocence, which certainly cannot be attributed to a man like Zorin, who is barely loyal to his own men!
9. Dr Kananga (Live and Let Die)
We’re sticking with suits as we explore Dr Kananga’s outfits. The drug lord continues the Bond villain trend of being just as well-dressed as Bond, but with a few key notes that are just enough for the viewer to feel uneasy.
The subtle-sharp dress sense of Dr Kananga, like Zorin, masks the madness within. He reserves his crazier attire choices when under the guise of “Mr Big”. Mr Big, a front for Dr Kananga, spends the movie serving the purpose of distracting Bond from Dr Kananga, despite being Dr Kananga himself. From his bright red jacket choices to his later red-shirt and white-jacket combo, everything about Mr Big is a bright, loud distraction.
8. Franz Sanchez (Licence to Kill)
There are some who reckon the villain dressed better than the double-oh in Licence to Kill. With Dalton’s Bond sporting some looser-fitting styles, Franz Sanchez also opts for the more casual tone, but with a decidedly more fitted air about him. He wears a number of outfits throughout the film, ranging from a blue suit jacket and white shirt combo, to a tan jacket and blue shirt choice.
Interestingly, blue suits and grey suits are noted by some to be a good choice to send out a message of loyalty and dependability, highlighting Sanchez’s own value in those traits (and his paranoia of disloyalty in his men).
Sure, he’s lacking on the accessories, but then again, who needs them when you have a massive iguana sitting on your shoulder?
7. Dr Julius No (Dr. No)
Ever wondered were the ‘evil doctor’ look came from? It was the unembellished, cream-coloured Nehru suit of Dr Julius No, offering little other distraction while giving the doctor a sharp, efficient look befitting a villain. The Nehru jacket was notably once worn by those who had a high social stature, which is perhaps a sad reflection on Dr No’s own backstory as being an ‘unwanted child’. He has built himself into his own semblance of high status, despite his own perceived rejections.
Cream and ivory are, perhaps, odd choices for a bad guy. He’s the villain of course, but he’s wearing a colour linked to calmness and relaxation. Or, more interestingly, perhaps it echoes the idea of being in an ivory tower; that is, that Dr No’s choice of garments shows how he feels he was rejected by the world.
Then again, the shiny metal hand does add a certain pizzazz. With that death-grip of his, maybe buttons were out of the question when getting dressed on a morning…
6. Alec Trevelyan (GoldenEye)
Sean Bean’ Alec Trevelyan is a pretty clear portrayal of the Anti-Bond. It can be seen as a sort of answer to the ‘what if’ wondering of the potential for Bond to go rogue. Because of this, Trevelyan has a similar fashion sense as bond, with a penchant for black suits and combat fatigues. He’s meant to match Bond in every way, both in intellect and in skill, having been trained the same way as Bond. Unlike other villains, this one’s obviously armed, and he knows all the tricks Bond knows.
Most of Trevelyan’s wardrobe leans towards darker tones, with black and grey shades. Bond usually has something to contrast within his clothes (usually his choice of white shirt). His mournful colour scheme could very well be a hint towards one of the former Double-Oh agent’s goals; to avenge the death of his parents.
5. Le Chiffre (Casino Royale)
It’s all about a love of money in Le Chiffre’s wardrobe. Although he dons the trademark ‘all black’ colour scheme of villains, the quality of his suit tells us something more. According to costume designer Linda Hemming, Le Chiffre’s choice of outfit is all about showing off without being noticed. He’s a man who wants to succeed without being seen, who wants his genius applauded, but not too loudly. These two desires would usually be at odds, but they make for a sleek suit of all black to hide away, but lavish velvet to show his wealth.
4. Francisco Scaramanga (The Man With The Golden Gun)
If you have a golden gun, you’re going to need to dress sharp, right? Francisco Scaramanga has an unnerving sense of fondness for Bond, and more than a drop of rivalry and desire to prove himself the better killer. These things reflect in his clothes. His outfits seem determined to state, ‘anything you can do, I can do better’, from his shiny choice of firearm to his slick white suit. Interestingly, Scaramanga meets his demise in China, where white can be seen as the colour of death and funerals; coincidence, or foreshadowing?
3. Raoul Silva (Skyfall)
Perhaps Silva’s loud shirt and cream jacket combo doesn’t initially scream ‘style’. Coupled with the bleached blond hair harkening back to previous Bond villain Zorin, you’d be forgiven for calling this a
fashion disaster at first glance. But, worn on Silva, it sends us all a message. Something along the lines of: I am the villain. I’m not quite stable on any level. I thought this shirt was a great choice this morning.
Once again, the villain in this Bond outing is design to contrast Bond himself. Yes, he’s wearing a suit as Bond does, but it’s not by any means well put-together in a traditional sense. The colours contrast Bond’s usual go-to darker shades, the addition of prints is very anti-Bond, and it almost seems like Silva is mocking Bond on every level. That’s certainly the message the rogue former agent is going for, as his entire scene wearing this suit is played out as a mockery of Bond. At this stage in the film, Silva does not think Bond is his equal in any way, and he’s letting him know it. Not only does Silva feel confident that he has outsmarted Bond, he thinks he was a better agent, a smarter man, and a better shot.
Silva does have a few notable costume changes too. In later scenes, when the two men finally fight on equal ground, we see Silva switch to darker shades and combat gear more akin to Bond’s own look, as he finally starts to admit Bond’s given him a run for his money and forced him to step out from behind his henchmen and get his hands dirty.
2. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
You might like gold, but Auric Goldfinger likes it more for sure. Dressed in silk suits or woollen golfing attire, you can be sure there’s going to be a shade of gold or close-enough-to-gold brown somewhere on this villain’s garment choices. Color Meanings says wearing too much gold can give off a sense of ‘being miserly, unkind, lacking generosity and kindness or being over-ambitious’. Check, check, and check.
As for any deeper meaning, well, there might not be one. The man’s called Goldfinger. He killed a woman by dipping her in gold. Sometimes, a man wears gold because a man likes gold.
1. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, For Your Eyes Only, Never Say Never Again, and Spectre)
Blofeld, as Bond’s reoccurring nemesis, doesn’t have time to worry about trying to outdo Bond on a fashion level. No, Blofeld is a villain who is quite happy to be utterly different from 007, from manner to fashion.
Like Dr Julius No before him, Ernst Stavro Blofeld made the Mao suit an iconic look for the B ond franchise. In a boring shade, echoing the rather listless shaded Nehru jacket worn by Dr No before him no less. In fact, Blofeld’s most recent incarnation, portrayed by Christoph Waltz, would go on to sport a Nehru jacket of his own. Apparently, the new Blofeld’s simple outfit was to ensure all the spotlight for his menace were firmly on his mind, not his physical look. Here is a villain who isn’t going to beat Bond with guns or fists, so he doesn’t need to frighten or intimidate with his look. He isn’t required to engage Bond in a battle-of-the-suits, and more importantly, he doesn’t care to.
What else can we glean from his wardrobe? There’s been many commentaries on the Bond villain’s choice of clothing, with many people quick to point out the link between Mao suits and Communism. BondSuits.com keenly points out, however, that Blofeld wears a decidedly western white cuff shirt under his Mao jacket, showing his ties to the East aren’t wholly strong.