Clothes have always been a major part of Bond, from the Savile Row suits of the Connery Bond, through to Daniel Craig. The exhibtion, having free access to Eon Productions Bons archive, has some amazing costumes on show, including most of the spactacular dresses worn by Bond heroines and villainesses. But lets talk about some Bond male peacocking.
So it is with Connery we start. The director of the first Bond movie, Dr No, was Terence Young. He took Connery to his own Savile Row tailor, Anthony Sinclair, who made Connery his suits for the role.
However even here Bond was revolutionary. The “Conduit Cut” that Sinclair made up for Bond was lighter than was usual for Savile Row at this time. The Bond suits were narrower, and though they still had a firm shoulder it was softer than typical Savile Row suits. The suit had a roped sleevehead and a simple elegant silhouette. This makes sense, because if you look at the Savile Row suits of the time they were more like the suits “M” wears in the movies, very heavy wools, double-breasted, big lapels. So Bond stands out. Bond suits were lighter, the fabrics often brighter. In “From Russia with Love” Bond’s suits are clearly Savile Row, but made up in lighter flannels and paler colours.
Here is a picture from the exhibition, a montage of stills showing Bond being costumed. You can just make out Brosnan in a Brioni half-canvas at the bottom right.
Here again, is Bond’s original overcoat and homburg from Dr No.
One of the best parts of the exhibition is “the Casino” which features the costumes from the Bond movies. The casino motif is inspired because it gives us the opportunity to compare and contrast the formal styles from the Bond movies. “The Casino” has costumes from all of the movies and some of the women’s dresses are very fancy indeed. However this is What Makes a Man, so here are some pictures of the men’s evening dress.
This first is a Connery dinner jacket.
This is the dinner outfit of Emilio Largo, chief villain in Thunderball. Largo was played by Adolfo Celli, an Italian character actor with a lake-sized reservoir of charisma. For me, Largo was the best Bond villain ever.
Here is Sean Connery’s white tuxedo from Goldfinger. It is the one he wore after sabotaging the weapons plant. You remember the scene; he unzips his wetsuit to reveal the tux, complete with boutonnière. Rare style.
Here is the costume of the wonderful Vladimir Zhukovsky, from Goldeneye and The World is Not Enough. Zhukovsky was an ex-KGB turned Russian Mafia gangster making a quick buck in post-perestroika Russia, as played by Robbie Coltrane. A wonderful character, he lit up every scene he was in.
The bikinis are of course the Ursula Andress original bikini from Dr No and Halle Berry’s bikini, worn in homage to the Andress original, in Die Another Day. Daniel Craig’s swim briefs were made by La Perla and Sean Connery’s swim shorts by classic English brand Sunspel.
And this just had to be shown!
Yes, it is the original crappy Roger Moore safari jacket! Already ten years out of fashion when he wore it, it became a symbol of just how tired the Bond franchise became.
Designing Bond has a truly comprehensive set of Bond costumes. They are a kind of visual chronology of popular style, from Connery to Moore to Dalton to Brosnan to the present. You could view this section for hours. It is an object lesson in how to costume movies, down to script instructions about what each costume signifies.
Finally here is a costume that I really liked. This is Gustave Graves’ electric-shock armour from Die Another Day. It was locked in a display case, otherwise you would have a picture of me wearing it…..
Very cool, in a brutalist kind of way.
This is a very strong exhibition, there is so much in it and it has strength in depth as a result. If I had a criticism to make of it, it is that the “Bond shop” feels like an afterthought and it does not have a lot to it. I was surprised that it was not selling Lauent Bouzereau’s “The Art of Bond” which is a definitive work on Bond’s art and design. That said there are some good copies of original Bond posters and good prices. Here is a picture:
My recommendation is go see this exhibition. I doubt that there will ever be another exhibition like this, with the whole of Bond in one place. It is great fun and really shows how the Bond magic was made. For every man who thought he should be Bond.
Part 1 of this article, Designing Bond and his toys is here
Part 3 of this article, a conversation with Bond Costume Designer Lindy Hemming, is here
Our series of articles about Pierce Brosnan, including the Brosnan Bonds, starts here
“Designing 007 – fifty years of James Bond” is at London’s Barbican from 6th July throught to Sept 5th. More info and tickets from the Barbican here
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