For a while there, Sir Roger Moore — who died yesterday, aged 89, after a brief battle with cancer — was considered a kitsch figure in the canon of James Bond, the character he portrayed in seven films, and will forever be best remembered for.
Where his predecessor in the role, Sean Connery, played 007 as a prowling, predatory tiger, Moore’s Bond was something of a Pink Panther type — slinky, smirking, comical, self-deprecating, a tad effete. He thought that the only way to approach such an outlandish figure. “To me, the Bond situations are so ridiculous, so outrageous. I mean, this man is supposed to be a spy and yet, everybody knows he’s a spy,” Moore said. “Every bartender in the world offers him martinis that are shaken, not stirred. What kind of serious spy is recognised everywhere he goes? It’s outrageous. So you have to treat the humour outrageously as well.”
It wasn’t just Moore’s camp, rogueish, raised-eyebrow rendition of Bond that made him a figure of fun, but the of-the-moment wardrobe he wore during his turn as 007 in the 1970s and ’80s. While Connery’s slim, Anthony Sinclair-tailored suiting had an evergreen quality, Moore’s broad-lapelled, flared, flamboyant attire (cut by Cyril Castle, Angelo Roma and Douglas Hayward) quickly dated. In the past decade, however, the look has fallen back into favour — even the safari suits Moore frequently wore, to broad derision, are now chic once again, and the actor’s stylistic legacy has been positively reappraised.