Sporting the likes of Italian made-to-measure Brioni suits, 007’s slick attire is usually the focal point when discussing the fashion displays in James Bonds films. That, or the attention shifts to perfect wardrobe choices of Bond girls. But what about a little walk into the wardrobes of the dark side on Bond films? After all, a well-dressed hero needs a well-dressed villain to face off against.
In this article, we’re going to explore the fashion choices and potential reasons for those choices of the top ten Bond villains according to Screen Rant.
10. Max Zorin — A View to a Kill
Christopher Walken’s Max Zorin was rocking the bleach-blond look long before Skyfall’s Silva took to the screens. Still, the look proved to be simultaneously slick and strange, and a stark contrast to Bond’s then-darker locks.
Despite his madness, Zorin’s dress-sense certainly held together. 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 staying with suits as we look at Dr Kananga from Live and Let Die. 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.
Other than one purple-toned number, Kananga purposefully dresses in a subtly-sharp way. 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
In some ways, this villain out-dressed Bond! 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 men’s 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).
Sanchez doesn’t wear many accessories in his minimalistic style. Well, unless a large iguana constitutes an accessory…
7. Dr Julius No — Dr. No
The original Bond villain, Dr Julius No set the bar and the standard for all future ‘evil doctor’ looks. The unembellished, cream-coloured Nehru suit offers little other distraction, giving the doctor a sharp, efficient look befitting the 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 certainly interesting choices for a bad guy to wear. 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.
But the doctor’s rather ‘plain’ look is vanquished by those shiny, metal hands of his. With that death-grip of his, maybe buttons were out of the question when getting dressed on a morning…
6. Alec Trevelyan — GoldenEye
To some viewers, Alec Trevelyan shows what a Dark Bond would be. He 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.
One stand-out note of his outfits to differentiate himself from James is that Alec’s fashion choices tend to all be dark toned. 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
In the high-stakes world of Casino Royale, Le Chiffre’s style is all about wealth; his love for it, and his desire to attain it.
He does subscribe to the stereotypical ‘all black’ villain costume, but Le Chiffre isn’t simply painting himself for the audience to spot the bad guy. 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’re going to own a golden gun, you can’t really get away with a baggy tee-shirt and tracksuit bottoms.
Francisco Scaramanga stops shy of respecting Bond, rather, he has a fondness for him only in terms of seeing Bond as a challenge. 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
First impressions are important, and Raoul Silva certainly took that to heart when he picked out that loud, printed shirt. 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.
Like villains before him, Silva’s attire contrasts Bond’s own. 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.
Later scenes in the film show the two fighting on a much more even ground. Here, 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
If you’re a fan of gold, Auric Goldfinger might be the style icon for you. 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.
Are there any deeper meanings to Goldfinger’s golden wardrobe? 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
Bond’s nemesis, Blodfeld hasn’t got time to worry about following Bond’s high taste in fashion. No, Blofeld is a villain who is quite happy to be utterly different from 007, from manner to fashion.
The iconic Mao suit, in a rather dull shade, sees Ernst Stavro Blofeld nod to the similar listless Nehru jacket of Dr No. 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 other meanings can be gleaned from Blofeld’s Mao suit? 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.