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Recreating a Masterpiece (Part 005) The Cut

Posted on November 13 2015

Former Sinclair apprentice Richard W Paine was the man charged with the job of cutting the patterns for the recreation of Connery’s original suits. He is unquestionably the most qualified person alive to execute the task.

As a schoolboy, Richard worked as many hours as possible for a busy tailor’s shop in the East End of London, learning how to prepare bastes (first fittings) which were often made from canvas or calico to produce a toile which the customer would try on before his actual cloth was cut.

His enthusiasm and aptitude for tailoring saw him secure a formal apprenticeship at the age of 16, not with Anthony Sinclair, but with a close friend and Conduit Street neighbour, Cyril Castle.

In 1962, whilst Sinclair was creating the suits for Sean Connery’s first appearance as James Bond, Castle undertook a similar exercise for another unknown actor, Roger Moore, who had been cast as Simon Templar in The Saint (a television adaptation of the Leslie Charteris novels). Moore had jokingly suggested that the role was meant to have been played by Sean Connery ... but he was otherwise engaged.

Roger Moore as Simon Templar in “The Saint”

The Saint brought worldwide fame to Roger Moore. The series ran from 1962 for six years with 118 episodes, making it the longest running series of its kind on British television. Towards the end of the decade, Moore began to tire of the role, just as Connery was becoming weary of playing Bond.

Keen to branch out, Moore made two films soon after The Saint series ended: Crossplot (1969), a lightweight spy-caper, and the more challenging The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970). The films didn’t receive particularly good reviews and were not a box office success, but they provided an opportunity for the actor to demonstrate a wider versatility than the television series had allowed.

As Sean Connery made his return to the role of James Bond in 1971, Roger Moore was lured back to television, starring as Brett Sinclair (no relation) alongside Tony Curtis in what was to become another cult series, The Persuaders, which tracked the adventures of two millionaire playboys around Europe. Moore reportedly received £1million for the first series, making him the highest paid television actor in the world at the time. For the wardrobe, he retained the services of his tailor Cyril Castle, ably assisted by his young apprentice Richard Paine.

Roger Moore as Brett Sinclair in “The Persuaders”

In late 1971, after serving five years of his apprenticeship with Cyril Castle, Richard joined Anthony Sinclair to complete his training, but Sinclair had already tailored the last of the suits he was to make for Sean Connery. The Bond film Diamonds Are Forever was released in December 1971, and it was to be Connery’s last appearance in an EON production.

The following year, the search had begun for Connery’s replacement. The film’s producers, Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli, had dismissed the idea of casting Roger Moore as 007 both before and immediately after his role in The Saint, although Connery had predicted that Moore would make an ideal James Bond. They reconsidered the actor early in 1972 but he was contracted to Lew Grade’s ITC for a further series of The Persuaders.

The ratings for the crime-busting television series had not been quite as successful as hoped, and Roger Moore was released from his contract, enabling him to accept the offer of a three-picture deal from United Artists in August 1972. The job of tailoring suits for the new James Bond was assigned, not surprisingly, to Cyril Castle.

Roger Moore and Sean Connery … Bonding

In an extraordinary incident of unfortunate timing, Richard Paine had arrived at Anthony Sinclair just after Anthony had completed the last of Connery’s Bond suits, and departed from Cyril Castle not long before Cyril was to cut the first 007 outfit for Roger Moore, and so, Richard hadn’t actually had a direct hand in creating a James Bond suit … until now.

It was with great relish that Richard set about the the most critical part of the adventurous challenge of attempting to recreate some of the most iconic clothes ever made. The build was about to start and Richard was the architect who would be relied upon to deliver the blueprint.

Richard often talks proudly of how, as a young schoolboy, he was consistently top of his Technical Drawing class – clearly an early indication of his innate ability. He also fondly recalls his later teenage years when he learnt his practical tailoring skills in the workshops, together with the theoretical knowledge gained from four years of night-school at the long defunct Tailor and Cutter Academy (paid for by himself from his meagre apprenticeship earnings). Richard was dedicated and determined to achieve his dream of becoming a West End cutter.

By the time Richard joined Anthony Sinclair he had received his Academy Diploma and gained sufficient experience from his time with Cyril Castle to qualify for the privilege of being taught the discipline of cutting by one of the great masters of the sartorial art.

Richard W Paine cuts the new pattern

With a set of rudimentary tools – tape measure, rule, square, curve and pencil – together with a sheet of plain brown paper, Richard begins to draft the pattern. He marks the lines and curves – some are guided precisely by the tools, with others by eye and a swift flourish of the hand. He performs mental arithmetic aloud (in halves, quarters and eighths), scribbling notes as he goes along and muttering to himself, “Yes … that’s how Tony would have done it”.

The outlines of the forepart, back, side-body and sleeve start to appear. Richard picks up his paper shears (a gift presented to him by garment technologist he had helped in Japan in the 1980’s). Piece by piece the pattern parts are neatly cut and set aside. There are two separate forepart patterns – one for the notch lapel Goldfinger suit, and another for the elegant shawl-collared evening suit. The trouser and waistcoat patterns are cut, and the template is complete.

Richard elects to strike the pattern (mark out and cut the cloth) of the evening suit first. It is a plain, midnight-blue Barathea with a slight texture. It won’t slide around on the cutting board, and the white chalk-marks will be clearly visible against the dark cloth. It is a straightforward job for him as a warm-up for his cutting shears (handed down to him by his former master, Anthony Sinclair).

The Goldfinger suit represents a greater challenge. It is a very subtle Prince of Wales check created from two similar shades of grey yarn. In some planes of light the check is barely visible, but Richard must ensure that it is cut in such a way that the checks match perfectly on the suit when it is made. The maestro performs his magic, and the cloth is soon cut and rolled into a bundle ready to be trimmed (matched with all of the other material components required to make the suit) before being sent to a very special tailor who anxiously awaits it’s arrival.

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