Are these the best-dressed Bond villains in 007 history?

Leave your leather gloves, menacing robes and military fatigues at the door — and take inspiration from the best and the baddest to ever encounter the superspy…

There’s dressing to kill; and then there’s dressing for world domination. Call it secret lair style; power-crazed couture. It’s the distinctive look of maniacal men — those who want to bring whole nations to their knees and look good doing it. And no-one has seen (and stopped) more snappily dressed enemies and adversaries like James Bond.

Since 1953, Ian Fleming’s most famous (and famously well-dressed) creation has been quashing the schemes and grand plans of such men. And most of the megalomaniacs he’s vanquished have had one thing in common; catastrophically good clothes.

There are, of course, exceptions. Elliot Carver of Tomorrow Never Dies took uninspired inspiration from the middling media menswear of Steve Jobs — not the nattiest. Moonraker’s Hugo Drax ended up looking part-priest, part-optician. And the less said of Dominic Greene’s floaty floral shirts in Quantum of Solace, the better. Instead, we’ve rounded up eight of the best-dressed Bond villains below…

Donald ‘Red’ Grant, from From Russia With Love

First up, an assassin who proved Bond’s equal in both tussling and tailoring. ‘Red’ Grant originally appears in Ian Fleming’s 1957 novel, where he dresses in unassuming clothes — including “an old reddish-brown tweed coat with his flannel trousers, a pale yellow Viyella summer shirt, and the dark blue and red zigzagged tie of the Royal Engineers” — to ambush Bond aboard the Orient Express.

In the film adaptation, in which Grant is played by Robert Shaw, his SPECTRE-spec suit more closely mirrors Bond’s lightweight grey threads — but with three buttons and a heavier, darker wool construction. With pale pinstripes and a windowpane pattern, it’s a slick, sophisticated look — and a clever choice, presenting Grant as Bond’s finely-dressed, counterpart. It’s a sharp look (unfortunately, Bond’s knife proves sharper in the end).

Raoul Silva, from Skyfall

Another light-haired lawbreaker, the main villain of 2012’s Skyfall, was played by Javier Bardem — with more panache and pizzazz than any adversary in recent memory. When he wasn’t holed up in a prison jumpsuit, or disguising himself as a police officer to escape and evade capture across London’s Underground, Silva’s style choices were flashy and distinctive; positioning him as a sort of dastardly dandy for Bond to beat.

His most memorable outfit, worn during his introductory scene on his abandoned island hideaway, is a masterclass in Mediterranean-style tailoring. Yet, despite that suitably chic Prada shirt, the jacket has a British spin; cut by the tailors at Thom Sweeney.

But it’s the shoes that really step things up here. A pair of over-brogued Jeffery-West Marriott ‘cricket boots’, they’re the perfect over-the-top option for the madman. Honourable mention to the double-breasted leather Belstaff coat he wears during the film’s Scottish climax. A little bit Wehrmacht, it’s the flicked collar flourish that does it for us.

Max Zorin, from A View to a Kill

The bleached-blonde bad guy in 1985’s A View to a Kill may be the psychopathic product of a Nazi genetic experiment, but his wardrobe shows a surprising amount of restraint. A businessman by trade, there’s Eighties power-suiting aplenty to be seen hanging off Christopher Walken — bold red or striped blue neckties and double-breasted, strong-shouldered tailoring. But it’s with his occasionwear that the psychopath really shines.

Whether he’s bowing up his black tie for a grand horse sale or tipping his top hat and daywear duds at Royal Ascot, Zorin’s got the rules of formalwear down to a trimly tailored tee. But he’s also honed a flair for accessorising — and his gently tinted aviator-style sunglasses and punchy pocket squares still manage to stand the megalomaniac away from the stiffly-starched crowd.

Emilio Largo, from Thunderball

Speaking of accessories, there are few trappings or trimmings as tricky to pull off as an eyepatch. And yet, Adolfo Celi’s Emilio Largo — a ruthless Neapolitan black marketeer — does his darnedest to rock the style in 1965’s Thunderball. Worn with a white dinner jacket or a wetsuit, he manages to make a stylish-but-sinister statement with every extreme of outfit.

But Largo’s all-encompassing elegance goes beyond his eyepatch alone. The villain earns his place on this list because he has perhaps the most versatile wardrobe of any Bond bad guy. Whether he’s languishing in the Bahamas or skulking around Paris, the Italian’s garms are always well-cut and considered. The striped shirt he buttons up by his Palmyra poolside is a particular favourite of ours; complete with one-piece ‘California collar’.

Le Chiffre, from Casino Royale

Next up, another antagonist who could probably use an eyepatch; Le Chiffre. Meaning ‘The Cypher’ in his native French, little is known of the blood-crying character played by Mads Mikkelsen in 2006’s Casino Royale. Yet the film borrows from the book of the same name for Le Chiffre’s wardrobe, dressing him in the dark-toned tailoring Fleming describes: “Dresses well and meticulously, generally in dark double-breasted suits”.

And these shadowy tones really do stalk Le Chiffre across the globe. He may be brokering deals with terrorists in Uganda or poisoning his way through a Texas Hold’em tournament in Montenegro, but the villain’s duds are always black; from Brioni velvet dinner jackets to the structured, straight-shouldered suit he wears at the opening of the film. He also has great taste in watches; buckling up a black-strapped Longines Evidenza.

Aristotle Kristatos, from For Your Eyes Only

Another jet-setting villain with a world-spanning wardrobe to match, Aristotle Kristatos — played with back-stabbing bombast by Julian Glover in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only — springs up impeccably dressed everywhere from the snowy slopes of Cortina to the waters off the coast of Corfu.

Particular highlights of the Greek heroin smuggler’s stylish exploits include a sweeping suede trench coat with a black fur collar, worn over an olive green double-breasted blazer in the Dolomitic Alps, and his double-breasted, peaked-lapel dinner jacket. But our choice of his looks can be seen above; an athletic-tinged nautical get-up, worn aboard his yacht.

Dr Kananga, from Live and Let Die

Kananga is a man of many layers. The dictatorial prime minister of the Caribbean nation of San Monique, he leads a double life as ‘Mr. Big’, a US underworld boss planning to flood Harlem with opiates. He’s also got a wardrobe of many layers — with more flared suits, ruffled shirts and alternative formalwear than you can shake Tee-He’s hook hand at.

But the cult leader and SMERSH operative makes it onto our list for one reason — the textures of his textiles. Whether it’s his purple-patterned silk suit, the light wool-blend suit he wears on Saint Monique or the almost-seersucker dappled white jacket pictured above, Kananga’s texture-heavy tailoring is only one-upped by his penchant for accessories — from jangling gold jewellery to tightly-tied cravats.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

One of the rare instances where the villain is better dressed than Bond, Telly Savalas’ Blofeld puts George Lazenby’s Bond wardrobe to shame in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Forget 007’s cascading jabot, and take note of Blofeld’s classic leather jackets, louche dark brown rollnecks and a cosy coat that out-winters even Aristotle Kristatos’ above.

But it’s not just other Bond adversaries that Savalas’ villain beats out. He’s also the best-dressed Blofeld. Better than Max von Sydow, Charles Gray, Donald Pleasance and — yes — even the most modern iteration of the criminal mastermind, Christoph Waltz. Spectre’s big bad may get the collarless Nehru style right (as does Savalas), but his ankle-grazing trousers and sockless loafering means Savalas maintains the evil-doing edge.

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