I get to have some fun here. If you’ll indulge me a bit for I’m a huge fan of the cool, sophisticated style that is the world of James Bond. Not only did Bond set the stage for stylish menswear starting back in the early 60’s, but continued being synonymous with bespoke men’s fashion over the years and into present day. He would make a perfect subject to cover the history of men’s fashion, the designers of Europe and the States, the locations they made famous, and the persona they created. Who could possibly argue with, “the clothes make the man”?
Elegance, style, cool and debonair are qualities Bond epitomizes all at the same time. 007 undeniably personifies all that, but no one can tell me that those qualities aren’t reinforced by the clothes he wears. The clothes you wear not only tells a lot about you, but updating and wearing nice clothes elevates your state of mind, confidence, and gives you a whole different feeling. When wearing stylish, bespoke suits, is it any wonder he can so comfortably mingle in the most luxurious resort hotel – casinos in Europe, join any Bacarat table surrounded by high society strangers and say “My name is Bond, James Bond”, while nonchalantly lighting a cigarette? Oh, yea, I guess it doesn’t hurt having a license to kill as well.
JUST OFF SAVILE ROW
In Dr. No, Felix Leiter meets Bond for the first time, after a brief scuffle, and asks “where were you measured for this?” holding 007’s Walther PPK at him. Bond smartly replies,”my tailor, Savile Row”, straightening his jacket. In the 60’s it was thought Sean Connery’s suits were made on London’s well known Savile Row. And it would have been the only location befitting Britain’s most renowned and suave MI6 agent. The short, “golden mile of tailoring”, is known for being visited by heads of government, (Winston Churchill), royalty, celebrities, and top businessmen for bespoke tailoring.
On the contrary, film director Terrance Young had Sean go to his personal tailor, Anthony Sinclair of Conduit Street, (which sits at the end of Savile Row). That only stood to reason. Young was said by those close to him and who worked with him to personify all the Bond- type qualities in real life. One producer said Terrance actually could have been Bond as he was a man of great style himself. He wore great clothes, frequently threw great parties, always had the best champagne, admired by everyone, and had the essence of sophistication about him.That was his style. Terrance worked closely with Sean on the walk and style for the Bond character.
WHO DRESSES 007?
Armani? Brioni? Versace?
Can you guess? Ok. Lindy Hemming, costume designer from Pierce Brosnan’s Bond to Daniel Craig’s Bond eventually chose Brioni. I’ll concede most Bond fans already know that 007 wore Brioni at one time. Other European designers were in consideration, among them being Armani. Some things have to be factored in. A large amount of suits have to be made due to the multitude of stuntmen, stand-ins, and extras that are on the set. Not to mention Bond goes through a lot of these suits himself. A particular designer who’s factory can tailor make them, and quickly, is what is needed. That as opposed to going back to Savile Row where the smaller tailor’s stores typically take several weeks just to make one suit. A non-starter for Bond these days.
In Quantum of Solace, Bond wears clothes by Tom Ford, formerly of Gucci. After leaving Gucci in 2004, he formed Tom Ford International. It’s reported Daniel Craig went through and ruined around 40 bespoke suits. He told the British press, “It really is a crime. It makes me weep every time. They’re great suits”.
Ford did a black Cardigan and a grey coat for Bond as well that were available at his retail stores. In Italy, Bond boats across the channel to Talamone to see his ally Mathis for help. It’s a beautiful sunny day and he’s sporting sunglasses also by Ford. Even when on the run, after the villains – and from M trying to reign him in, Bond knows how to dress. Now that’s style!
Additional designers 007 turns to are:
Shoes: Churches Ryder III & Churches Phillip John Lobb Luffield & Romsey
Shirts: Turnbull & Assser
Sweaters: Ballantyne Cashmere
Sunglasses: Pursol 2720, 2244, 2672 Calvin Klein
Watches: Breitling Omega
Alright, as you can tell, I’m totally a fan of Connery and Craig. As for the near future, I’m excited to say I saw that 007 (Craig), will be back in 2011. I can’t wait to see the look and style created for this next one. I certainly hope they continue with what they did in Casino Royal and Quantum. I loved the suits, ties, the colors, everything. Oh, and of course Bond will have to be driving the latest Aston Martin DBS. These days, even a BMW just wouldn’t get it.
Can I say though I was horrified to watch the opening scene of Quantum Of Solace. I’m sorry, movie or not, you don’t take automotive works of art, Aston Martin DBS and an Alfa Romeo, and demolish them like that, (yes the crew affirmed they were the real cars). Ripping the door off the Aston, driving the Alfa over the cliff for real, my thoughts were exactly the same as Bond’s when a beautiful woman gave her name as, Pussy Galore… “I must be dreaming”.