Mason & Sons have commissioned a 180-year-old West Yorkshire mill to recreate the brown Barleycorn tweed that was worn by Sean Connery in “Goldfinger”. Abraham Moon have been weaving cloth since 1837 – the year in which Queen Victoria ascended to the British throne. In addition to the tweed, the mill has also produced a Cavalry Twill fabric which pairs with the jacketing to complete the iconic outfit.
Bond in Barleycorn tweed
In 1964, the Barleycorn tweed hacking jacket with cavalry twill trousers was Bond’s “out of office” look, and the clothing in which he is seen driving his Aston Martin DB5 for the first time. The combination has consequently been one of the most popular tailoring requests presented to us - following closely behind the three-piece Prince of Wales check suit that featured in the same 007 movie.
The Hacking Jacket is a classic piece of traditional British tailoring. It was originally designed to be worn on a “hack” (a “leisurely” rather than “sporting” horse ride). A “hack” not only defines the pursuit, but also the type of horse that is ridden. The name is derived from Hackney – an area of East London that since the 17th Century had provided pastureland to carriage horses (hence the expression Hackney Carriage). In the early 20th Century, horse-drawn transport was replaced by motorised vehicles, but London taxis continue to be known as Hackney Carriages to this day.
King George V hacking with his sons (c1930)
The practical styling of the hacking jacket allows it to perform well on horseback and look good after dismount. Natural shoulder, roped sleevehead and high armholes allow maximum freedom of movement, the suppressed waist avoids unnecessary interference around the body, a flared skirt (with high centre vent) accommodates the saddle, and slanted outside pockets offer easier access when seated. These are the design elements that laid the foundations of the Conduit Cut.
Anthony Sinclair preparing the Bond look
The cavalry twill trousers cut by Anthony Sinclair to compliment Sean Connery’s hacking jacket followed the equestrian theme. This particular weave of cloth is very hardwearing, hence its common use for riding breeches, and the association with the British Cavalry. Unlike the high-waisted pleated trousers made by Sinclair for the majority of Connery’s Bond suits, this model has a slimmer line with plain fronts and “frogmouth” pockets (usually associated with jodhpurs) which are again more easily accessed when seated.
Cavalry Twill trousers with "frogmouth" pockets
This informal screen wardrobe clearly became a favourite of the actor. Following its debut in Goldfinger, the jacket and trousers reappeared the following year in the next James Bond film, Thunderball. Connery also wore the same pieces (together with a contrasting waistcoat) in the 1964 crime thriller “Woman of Straw” in which he starred with Gina Lollobrigida.
Sean Connery in Woman of Straw (1964)
In the Goldfinger scene, the outfit is matched with a brown knitted tie and ecru shirt with double cuffs. The finishing touch is a pair of rose gold cufflinks. Unfortunately, on close inspection, they appear to have been attached back to front (the detailed story can be found here). Whilst this minor blooper doesn’t detract from what is undeniably one of Connery’s most handsome Bond costumes, a replacement shirt with buttoning Cocktail Cuffs was used in Thunderball – therefore guaranteeing against further mishap.
Make no mistake, this is a handsome outfit