Although the character of James Bond is a literary figure and therefore pure fantasy, it is one of the icons of world-wide style. For over 50 years the character of Bond dictates the rules of elegance and seduction.
Cynical, elegant seducer these are the adjectives that follow the personality of the literary and cinematic Bond.
But who is James Bond actually?
James Bond was born in 1924 by Andrew Bond Scottish, and Monique De Lacroix Swiss. His early education takes place abroad following his father’s representative firm Vickers. Loses very young (11 years old) both parents in a car accident in the mountains, but is raised by his paternal aunt.
He attended prestigious schools, but was expelled from Eton at the age of fifteen years to an affair with a waitress. After completing his studies at Fettes, the school of his father, he went to the Ministry of Defence with the help of a colleague of his father. After the war, he was admitted into the Secret Services thanks to Admiral M, and later to the Double Zero,a prestigious group which includes only nine officers, section Double Zero gives agents a license to kill (obviously sparingly and discretion).
His degree is Commander of the Navy, was promoted to Captain), his age has remained frozen in the 30 years of the first novel (’53) and last approximately 45 (’94).
He’s proficient in martial arts, golf, swimming, and mountain sports, and is an excellent pilot. He loves sports cars even though he smashed them with great regularity and indifference (when they are not his). Initially (in the novels) his personal car was a Bentley Continental Mark II, with the body modified into cabriolet; recently (in the novels of Gardner) he passed to a SAAB 900 Turbo. You can not, however, forget the film models: the fabulous Aston Martin and Lotus “Esprit”.
He’s the best shooter in the subsection Double Zero. Initially using a weapon rather light: Beretta Mod. 418, cal. 6.35. It is a weapon limited, and not suited to an aggressive usage. Considered by Q a “lady’s weapon” it’s later replaced by M’s entry in the office with a Walther PPK cal. 7.65.
His favorite drink is Vodka-Martini (cocktail consisting of 5 parts vodka and one of dry martini) shaken, not stirred, of course.
He smoked sixty cigarettes a day, a mixture of Turkish tobacco prepared especially for him, not until M sent him by force in a health clinic (in THUNDERBALL); subsequently reduced the amount, by switching to a mixture of lighter tobaccos.
He loves gambling (his very life is a gamble), from which he creates a significant revenue. He’s a very skilled player, he knows all the legal and illegal methods better than a croupier. He’s also very lucky, which works better if the stakes are very high.
He is very sensitive to feminine charm and isn’t a bachelor, but a widower since 1962, during a mission (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) he meets and later marries Teresa Draco, the daughter of a notorious boss Racing Union (the Mafia race). The marriage, however, lasts only one day; a few hours after the wedding Teresa Bond is murdered by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE.
15 novels, 10 directors and six, the actors who have played 007 throughout these years, Frank and I have decided to deal with, however, only three of their most representative outfits:
The first, for many the best, certainly the most iconic. Outfits that we take under observation, it is perhaps a timeless masterpiece. The three-piece gray suit he wears on GOLDFINGER, created by Anthony Sinclair.
He wears five suits in this film, but this is the most easily remembered. It is not a classic light gray suit , but a light Prince of Wales on white base . The fabric is an Hopsak grey . The fantasy is shown in the image below .
The jacket Connery is wearing is the classic two-button with narrow lapels , double slit , straight pockets with flap and ticket pocket . Four buttons on the sleeve , with structured shoulder . The pants with double pleats , no loops , botton adjuster on the sides ,( although the other clothes in the film are all with a flap , this is smooth) . The vest has six buttons, all closed but one. The button at the lower end has been moved to ensure that it is not closed . The vest has narrow lapels , with four pockets . The lining of the vest is the same as the suit.
With Brosnan in the role of Bond there has been an upgrade in Bond’s wardrobe. From Goldeneye on, the presence of Maison Brioni became fairly consistent among the clothes of 007.
Brosnan and his british aplomb, juggle with particular elegance in the role of James Bond; here below we show two of the outfits that have characterized Brosnan.
We start from Goldeneye: Lindy Hemming costume designer of the film, had three different models of three piece suits commissioned for the film. But only one has been shown, that charcoal gray with light purple windows. Never had a Bond suit displyed a windowpane pattern.
The suit has a classic shoulder structure, three buttons on the chest and four buttons on the sleeves, double slit, with slanted pockets and ticket pocket. The last two are for details that anglicise the suit, to impart a timeless allure. The pants, with double pleats and turnup.
Brosnan is seen wearing two different shirts to go with the suit, a white one and a light blue one; the shirts were made by Sulka with Spread collar and double cuff.
Small anecdote: one of the copies of this suit created by Brioni was auctioned by Bonhams in Knightsbridge March 6, 2007 for a surprising 8640 pounds. The lot included a Turnbull & Asser shirt and four ties.
Tomorrow never dies
The second outfit that we look at is always a Brioni suit, worn for TOMORROW NEVER DIES. It is a dark gray, 3 buttons with a shoulder highly structured; such was the more modern look for clothes in the ‘90s.
In this film Bond wears very few clothes, a blue suit, a gray one and this military uniform. The designer of the costumes Lindy Hemming commenting on the wardrobe of the film says “The new Brioni suits that Brosnan wears in TOMORROW NEVER DIES, give the character of Bond a modern air and taste totally international, a bond classic but with contemporary proportions.”
Even this jacket is “Anglicized” by slanted pockets, ticket pocket flap, double slit, four buttons on the sleeves. Pants with inwards double pleats that culminate in a turnup. The shoe is a classic Oxford by Church’s.
With Daniel Craig as James Bond, it rediscoveres a 007 not invincible anymore, but a gloomy and human Bond. Barbara Broccoli defined the Craig’s Bond ” a tough guy in smoking”.
Despite the change of the principal character, the productions keeps the collaboration with Brioni for a movie ( Casino Royale ).
In this section we are going to talk about two particular outfit: tuxedo by Brioni in Casino Royale as opposed at the trendy blue midnight tuxedo by Tom Ford in Skyfall.
When Miss Vesper Lynd hands this tuxedo to Bond she says: “There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter” ! How couldn’t we agree with Miss Lynd, this smoking has inspired many in the following years, but all the details are fully described in an article written by Bray and Foulkes entitled “Dress to kill”. The Dinner jacket worn by Craig in Casino Royale takes inspiration from classic models, single buttoned, peak satin lapels, jetted pockets, without any vent, and with four horn buttons on the sleeves. This cut is a true classic for the Maison Brioni, structured shoulder with a slightly lowered closing button, the trousers have a particularly Italian cut, with double pleats, slightly lowered waistband yet always higher than nowadays standards. The tuxedo look proposed by Brioni in Casino Royale doesn’t include any waistcoat or cummerbund, in order to confer a more modern and less classical look.
Despite the decision of creating a more contemporary tuxedo, the outfit recalls something really classic like the white suspenders created by Albert Thurston, with a special treatment on the silk used to create them.
The shirt is made by Turnbull & Asser, spread collar and double cuff. The placket is covered like the most classic of formal shirts. Cufflinks are made in palladium by ST Dupont. The bow tie instead is a shantung of black silks. For the shoes, in order to create a more modern evening look, Craig doesn’t wear the usual patent leather shoe, yet a Luffield model by John Lobb, black of course.
Now, let’s compare the other evening wear, always worn by Craig, but created by the American designer Tom Ford.
We don’t need to have seen SKYFALL to remember this outfit, Daniel Craig had already been wearing this outfit several times, like the opening ceremony of the Olympics and a sketch for the Saturday Night Live. In every SKYFALL poster this tuxedo looks much more brilliant rather than what is its original color. We can understand that the real color of this O’Connor suit by Tom Fordis the classic midnight blue with a component of mohair, which gives it that touch of shininess that we see in some scenes, such as the one in the Macau casino.
The Dinner jacket is really slim cut and quite short. This suit, as declared by costume designer Jany Temime has been created to be highly fashionable (this is also the reason behind the change from Brioni to Tom Ford). Shoulders are slightly patted with a satin made shawl collar and the jacket has a single button closure. Classic jetted pockets, with three buttons on the sleeves and for the first time in Bond’s history we have a single vent in the back of the jacket. The trousers have a quite classic high waist fit and they are flat front. The shirt also is Tom Ford, with spread collar, double cuff, mother of pearl buttons and covered placket. Speaking of accessories, Craig wears as usual white silk suspenders, even thou the trousers have side adjusters. Shoes are an Axel model made by Crockett & Jones, strictly black.
One of the samples of this suit has been sold by Christie’s on October the 5th 2012 for £46850 during the auction “50 Years of James Bond”. The suit had a size 48 F label, even if all models worn by Craig were fully bespoke.
Written by Alessandro Lupi