007 Style Icon
With the trailers for Daniel Craig’s final appearance as James Bond dominating our screens right now, I feel this is the ideal opportunity to look back at his most iconic styles over his 13-year stint as the gentleman assassin.
When the credits roll at the end of No Time to Die, Mr. Craig will have had five outings as Ian Flemming’s 007 and almost as many costume changes as bad guys slain. I’ve taken a look back over each of his films and picket out my highlight outfit from each - let me know if you agree with my choices in the comments section.
Casino Royale (2006)
Daniel Craig fought off competition from the likes of Henry Cavill and Clive Owen to take over from Pierce Brosnan to revive the ailing Bond brand. A refreshed take on the character saw him shedding the pithy one-liners and taking a more rugged no-nonsense approach to espionage.
The scene that saw Craig emerging from the ocean clad, in only standard-issue La Perla swimming trunks, may have stolen most of the headlines, but the costume designers took numerous other style decisions that deserve their time in the limelight.
With designer labels such as Versace and Armani, along with British shirt mainstays Turnbull and Asser, and John Lobb taking care of the shoes, it is still the final scene that my clients consistently point to as the suit they most desire.
The Suit in question comes from Italian fashion house Brioni and is a beautifully crafted navy blue lightweight wool worsted with the most subtle of pinstripes. Accessorising the look with a submachine gun is entirely optional.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
It was in 2008s Quantum of Solace where MI6 switched their standard uniform from Brioni to the equally luxurious Tom Ford.
My personal favourite outfit from Quantum will be made clear in a few short lines of praise for the simplicity and elegance of James’ suits in this film. A lot has been said about how snug and uncomfortable the suits looked in the films following instalments but, in this film, they looked like high quality, practical yet beautiful suits from one of the worlds most sought after designers.
So which outfit makes it to the top of my list? Is it the Harrington jacket, jeans and sunglasses? Or perhaps that darkest of charcoal suits worn upon arrival in Bolivia? If not them then what outfit could possibly top those? Well, once again we must journey to the final scene, to a rooftop amongst the snow, to see a wonderfully styled and crafted double-breasted overcoat. Simply put, it is elegant. Yes, it is old fashioned but, when done right, it is timeless.
In Skyfall we see Bond tackle the charismatic yet calculated Raoul Silva, the demise of Judi Dench and a new M emerge, for such a journey one must always pack a selection of designer suits, jackets, coats and an excess of Crockett and Jones shoes.
Yet with arguably James Bonds largest and most consistently excellent wardrobe options, it is the simple combination of Barbour jacket, cashmere jumper and jeans that scoops the award for best outfit.
For me, Bond’s changing outfits perfectly reflect the changes in pace, location and situation. As he transitions from the safety of his normal world to more desperate situations, the designer suits and cashmere overcoats give way to a far more rugged and humanised Bond. With several moments of reflection between 007 and M in the Scottish Highlands, Bond appears stripped of his armour and this is reflected in his wardrobe.
All of the subtleties of jacket choice are soon forgotten though, as Silva’s henchmen descend and wreak havoc on the Bond family home, now laden with boobie traps that Kevin McAllister would be proud of.
It's the white dinner jacket.
Let me explain. Often a headline misses overpromises on the article, sometimes the assist is better than the goal, and sometimes the white dinner jacket that features in all of the pre-release promotion is not the star of fantastic outfits on show.
During the film, we are treated to a herringbone overcoat, a couple of suede blouson jackets and a strong selection of Tom Ford’s suits, but sometimes we have to accept that certain things, people or ideas will steal the headlines and become the focus of our attention, the white DJ from Tom Ford achieves this thanks to its unique look, we have all seen James Bond in traditional evening wear, this gave us something different.
I have two final comments on the white dinner jacket; firstly it is so far superior to its inspiration from Goldfinger that they are almost incomparable in terms of fit and build quality, and secondly, it appears to be 100% dirt repellent. During the somewhat mismatched slugfest with henchman Mr. Hinx, Bond appears to defy two expectations - one, not getting beaten to a pulp by a huge brute, and two, he comes out of the scuffle still looking dinner party-ready.
No Time to Die (2020)
With the trailer having recently ‘dropped’ as the youngsters say, we get a glimpse at some rather casual attire at first, mirrored by Felix Leiter, just two men hanging out at a bar on karaoke night, open-necked shirts, chinos and a look that suggests that Bond has retired from active duty.
Once back at HQ, we see the return of a classic Bond look, the mid-grey tonic suit, reminiscent of Sean Connery’s in From Russia with Love.
There is also the obligatory dinner jacket, this time with a satin silk shawl collar, a Bond classic and my personal favourite lapel for a DJ, that’s right, I have a favourite.
Before closing, I can not let an assessment of Bond’s styles go without a few honourable mentions to Bonds past. I tip my hat to the audacity of Roger Moores’s tweed suit, complete with elbow patches and wider than sensible lapels in Moonraker, and to Sean Connery dressed in his barleycorn hacking jacket paired with some heavy twill trousers in The Man With the Golden Gun even if his trouser pockets are positioned in a less than flattering position, compounded by his or the director's insistence on putting his hands in them.
Bond has always walked a playful line between gentleman and trained ruffian. His style often borrows from the past and is brought up-to-date by more modern cuts of classic staples of the gentleman’s wardrobe.
So ends Daniel Craig's turn behind the wheel of cinemas undisputed king of secret agents, a journey he started out on 13 years ago and that continued the Bond legacy that reaches back some 66 years. I for one, We all look forward to seeing who will don the suit, drive the Aston and fire the Walther next.