Patrick Macnee, the actor who played John Steed in The Avengers, has died at his California home aged 93.
For The Chap, Steed has always epitomised the ideal to which all Chaps should aspire. Both a man of action and a louche bon vivant, he managed effortlessly to combine living the high life with solving impossible riddles set by capricious villains. Steed’s dress code was pure Savile Row gent: he was never seen in shirtsleeves, even when engaged in fisticuffs, and always wore a three-piece tailored lounge suit, coloured bowler, and always carried a whangee-handled umbrella.
His unique, though rooted in tradition, style is said to have been influenced by Bunny Roger, the greatest dandy of the 1950s, who in turn epitomised the short-lived fashion among the gentry known as The New Edwardians, which eventually declined into its more streetwise brother fashion, the Teddy Boys.
Steed’s style involved lots of velvet collars on jackets often tailored well below the prescribed hip length, and often in bold colours such as blue and green. His matching bowlers were pure New Edwardian and so were his highly polished cuban heeled Chelsea boots. Dressed to kill, John Steed cut an elegant swathe through 1960s England, acquiring an unexpectedly cool hero status in a world supposedly leaving stuffy Savile Row fashions behind.
Patrick Macnee as John Steed kept the flame burning for timeless elegance and wry panache, providing inspiration, both sartorial and behavioural, to chaps throughout the ages.
Partrick Macnee 6 February 1922–25 June 2015. Rest in Three-Piece.