‘’The name is Bond, James Bond.’’ One of the most recognisable introductions
in cinematic history, it unmistakably sets the tone for some of the greatest
scenes ever captured on film, right from Dr. No in 1962 to the more
recent versions such as Casino Royale and Skyfall.
As Agent 007 for the British Secret Service, James Bond soon gained iconic
status as the fictional spy who outsmarts the opposition every time; the one
who won the affections of the most desirable women, known
as the Bond Girls; the one who would be admired by everybody for his manliness
and unrivalled bravery; the epitome of the man every boy would like to grow up
to be; the man every grown guy wants to see in himself. He is also the man
every woman wants to be seen with.
Ian Flemming could surely not have predicted that his main character would
become one of the most talked about heroes in film – or that his every move
would be watched, that his style would be admired, his suits and tuxedoes copied. Of
course, trends change all the time – as does what our hero wears.
IT STARTS WITH THE SUIT
The suit is the man, it is often said, and that is true for Mr. Bond who has
always shown great dress sense, from donning the more informal suit to those
fit for a night at the cocktail bar. As the 1st James Bond, Sean Connery was
often seen in suit trousers typical of the English fashion style of the 60s:
tapered leg with a turn-up. The jacket lapels were quite narrow in the early
Bond films and the suits all in all much more conservative when compared to the
current Bond suits. The legs were wider and allowed for much more room between
material and skin. Bond has always been known for a fondness of especially blue
and grey suits.
The Roger Moore era saw Bond in slightly less formal, but still very smart
suits, often in lighter shades of grey than those of his predecessors. The
suits worn during his time as Agent 007 remain as classy as those before his
time but fit more tightly around the leg and shoulder.
Dalton, not looking any less prepared than any other Bond, broke away from the
traditional grey/blue look, this time also minus the almost obligatory tie.
A suave, confident -looking Daniel Craig in a light grey suit; the tie is
slightly darker to ensure an understated elegance. Compare this to the Bond
suits of the 60s and 70s and note how much tighter this fits around the
shoulders and legs.
It is to be expected that 007’s suits would change over time; what has not
changed is the class and sophistication with which he wears them. In the early
Bond films the emphasis was on more loose-fitting and comfortable suits as was
the custom of the time; today’s heroes go a small step further and don’t mind
showing off a well-chiselled body in tighter trousers, tighter shirts and
THE CASINO LOOK
Our debonair hero is as well known for his casino attire as he is for his
day suits, fast cars and charming the ladies. Always dressed in expensive
attire fit for the occasion, Bond looks every bit the gentleman from
the moment he enters as he gets ready to outsmart the enemy in the casino. He
does not shy away from the white dinner jacket as is evidenced here, with both
Connery and Moore opting for white as opposed to the more traditional black at
Daniel Craig in classic black tie outfit:
The formal Bond look at the casino will probably not go out of fashion for
many years; it simply compliments the style and air of Bond too well. James
Bond is as much a style icon as he is a spy and ladies’ man. His favourite game
has always been baccarat; in Dr. No Sean Connery played Chemin-de-fer, an
old-fashioned version of the modern game, for
the first time. He is as comfortable in the casino as he is driving one of his
fast cars, seducing the smouldering ladies he comes into contact with or
outwitting his enemy. In more recent films Bond is seen trying his hand at the
craps table (Diamonds are Forever, the 1971 Bond movie) and more
recently Texas Hold’em in Casino Royale (2006).
The casino is often the place where the action comes to a head, even if it
does not necessarily lead to direct confrontation. Bond knows how to remain
cool, how to fool the enemy into believing they have the upper hand and, above
all, how to win over the ladies’ affections.
Always the perfect gentleman, suave and perfectly mannered, our hero remains
true to his style: look the part and dress accordingly.
Pierce Brosnan wears Dunhill cufflinks in Tomorrow Never Dies
Bond will always look ‘’unfinished’’ without accessories
like a wristwatch and cufflinks, such as the S.T. Dupont 5172 as worn by Daniel
Craig in Casino Royale, or the Tom Ford cylinder cufflinks in 2012’s Skyfall.
Sunglasses often complete a look, even as far back as in the early Sean
Connery movies. In The World is not Enough (1999), Pierce Brosnan
wears a pair of Calvin Klein sunglasses and in Die another Day a pair
of Persol 2672. Of course, Daniel Craig makes sure Bond looks good with Persol
2720 covering his eyes in Casino Royale and a Tom Ford in Quantum
Bond may break certain rules – it is okay. In this day and age the health
conscious amongst us try to avoid smoking as much as possible, but in his Bond
days Connery often lit up. Lighters seen
in some of the Bond movies include a Dunhill Unique Silver and a Dunhill Unique
Bond and fast cars go hand in hand. In 1964 (Goldfinger) Connery
got to drive a silver Aston Martin DB5, as does Daniel Craig in Casino
Royale and Quantum of Solace. The BMW seems to have been the
vehicle of choice in the Pierce Brosnan days. Of course there were many others
throughout the Bond films, depending on the circumstances our hero found
himself in. A night at the casino called for a different type of vehicle as
opposed to a wild chase trying to either get away from or chasing the enemy.
Styles come, styles go. Some styles will endure, even if they change around
the edges to be more in keeping with the codes of the current day. James Bond
will probably stand the test of time. When Sean Connery (who was not the
original choice to play the super spy, by the way) first hit the screens in Dr.
No in October 1962, the first step towards creating a true style icon was
taken. The legendary allure was unmistakable. Magazines have not stopped
running articles about Bond, from the early days right into the present.
The inimitable 007 still draws the crowds, and whilst it is true that some
actors have portrayed him with greater success than others, it has always been
about the character, about the iconic status of Bond himself. James Bond, after
50 years, is the same man who takes the viewers on the most amazing journeys,
to places within ourselves where the hero always beats the bad guy, where the
girl always ends up in the strong arms of the good guy, where the cars are
faster and the Martinis taste better. Long live Bond. James Bond.