The Casino Royale Dinner Jacket
I’m not sure if any of you knew this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you did – today is National Martini Day, celebrating the favorite drink of many from presidents and industrialists to entertainers and fictional secret agents.
BAMF Style’s choice for today was an obvious one.
Daniel Craig as James Bond, rookie British secret agent
Montenegro, Summer 2006
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
After years of audiences used to Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan*, some Bond fans were unsure what to expect with the new tough and gritty Bond played by Daniel Craig. While most hardcore fans – especially those of Fleming’s novels – were pleased by the return to form in 2006’s Casino Royale, some worried that the “Bourne-era” Bond would be too tough for the Bond dinner jacket.
Luckily, Casino Royale not only puts Bond in a sharp tailored dinner jacket for the second act of the film, but his formalwear actually is commented on in the film’s dialogue as Vesper tells him:
There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets. This is the latter.
In the era of rebooted franchises with films such as Batman Begins, Casino Royale was the logical starting point for a franchise looking to reinvigorate its hero after more than forty years on the big screen. Daniel Craig brought Bond back to life with a portrayal that was realistically stylish and tough.
* Timothy Dalton played Bond between Moore and Brosnan, but audiences sadly never got used to him.
What’d He Wear?
In the transition from born-in-a-tailored-three-piece-suit Pierce Brosnan to the more muscular and action-oriented Daniel Craig, Casino Royale costume designer Lindy Hemming put together a tuxedo that would accentuate Dan’s muscular physique while still looking dashing in the casino. The tux also manages to follow the description, as much as possible, as set by Ian Fleming in Chapter 8 of Casino Royale back in 1953.
As he tied his thin, double-ended black satin tie, he paused for a moment and examined himself levelly in the mirror… He looked carefully round the room to see if anything had been forgotten and slipped his single-breasted dinner-jacket coat over his heavy silk evening shirt. He felt cool and comfortable. He verified in the mirror that there was absolutely no sign of the flat gun under his left arm, gave a final pull at his narrow tie and walked out of the door and locked it.
– Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, Chapter 8
As Christopher Bray and Nick Foulkes say in their article “Dressed to Kill”, Bond’s tux for Casino Royale is understated, classic, and timeless. The look is very black and white with no frills. Bond likely cringed while sitting next to the dealer wearing his novelty waistcoat with playing cards, hearts, and diamonds all over it.
Bond’s dinner jacket, mentally fitted for him by Vesper, is a very traditional and strong masculine piece of formalwear. It is black and single-breasted with well-sized peak lapels, trimmed in grosgrain silk. The lapels fold down to a single grosgrain-covered button at the waist, matching the four covered buttons on each cuff. The shoulders are straight and slightly padded with roped sleeveheads.
Additional details include a ventless back and jetted hip pockets. Matt Spaiser wrote about this dinner suit previously on his great blog, The Suits of James Bond.
The Brioni dinner jacket has a much more traditional fit than Craig’s later formalwear seen in Skyfall and Spectre. The chest is clean down to a suppressed waist.
The black formal trousers were also made by Brioni. They are double reverse pleated and, as formal trousers should, have a black grosgrain stripe down each leg. There is a single horn button at the top, fastening on an extended tab. There are side pockets and button-fastened jetted pockets in the rear. As Bond keeps his phone and keys in his jacket, the trouser pockets are primarily used for his hands.
The trousers are paired with a set of wide white moiré silk suspenders with gold fittings, made by Albert Thurston and provided by Gieves & Hawkes of No. 1 Saville Row. The suspenders – also known as “braces” – have white leather joints and braid ends, made of vegtanned goatskin. The braces loop to buttons inside Craig’s formal trousers but are also fitted with metal clips for trousers without buttons. These suspenders/braces can be found at James Bond Lifestyle, a tremendous resource for all Bond fans.
As a modern man and a minimalist, Craig continues the Bond tradition of foregoing any sort of waist-covering, such as a cummerbund of waistcoat.
Bond has at least four identical dress shirts that withstand constant abuse during the film. The first is ruined by a bloody stairwell fight, the second is worn in the shower, and the third has its buttons ripped off as Bond suffers from a poison-induced heart attack. I understand that Bond didn’t have much control over the circumstances, but geeze have a little respect for your clothes…
The shirts are white-on-white waffle weave dinner shirts made by Turnbull & Asser. They have large spread collars and mitred double cuffs. The large mother-of-pearl buttons are hidden by a fly front, leaving only the top button exposed. The shirt is well-fitted with short side pleats on the rear. It is a plain front shirt with no pleats, unlike some formal shirts. The shirt material is a super fine two fold white-on-white cotton. Turnbull & Asser offered a Limited Edition shirt, available on the James Bond Lifestyle.
The mitred French cuffs of the dinner shirt and worn each night with a set of palladium S.T. Dupont 5244 cuff links, also found on the James Bond Lifestyle.
Bond’s black bowtie is black shantung silk, also made by Turnbull & Asser. Needless to say, it is a regular bow tie and not a pre-tied or adjustable model.
On Bond’s feet, he wears a pair of well-shined John Lobb Luffied black calf 2-eyelet derby shoes with a plain vamp and sweeping quarters. These can also be found on the James Bond Lifestyle. Bond wears the John Lobbs with a pair of black dress socks. I have no information on who made the socks, but I have a feeling this doesn’t really matter.
Bond’s Omega watch is a Seamaster, as Pierce Brosnan had worn before him. Craig’s particular model for the casino scenes in Casino Royale is a stainless steel Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 2220.80.00 with a blue face and blue bezel on a stainless steel bracelet. It can still be found on Amazon for a few thousand dollars, and more information about the watch is available at the James Bond Lifestyle.
The watch is a self-winding chronometer with a co-axial escapement movement with a rhodium-plated finish. The sapphire crystal over the watch itself is domed, anti-reflective, and scratch-resistant. The diameter of the case is 41 mm. Although it is water resistant down to 300 meters, Bond only goes so far as the shower in these scenes.
Go Big or Go Home
I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that not many of you will be finding yourselves in multimillion dollar poker games against terrorists that could define the fate of much of the world. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from taking a few hints from Bond.
After a long night at the casino, there’s no reason you have to call it a night just yet. If you’re up, go out and celebrate! Just make sure you both stay at the table; chances are, if she gets up, she’ll be kidnapped and you’ll have to go tearing down the road at over 100 mph after her. It won’t end up well for you, her, or the car.
In the book, Bond takes Vesper to a crowded but lonely French nightclub, where they share pink champagne and scrambled eggs and dance to “La vie en rose”. The song would later have bad associations for Bond because of that night, but in the moment, it was his favorite song.
In the film, they find a more secluded setting, dining on caviar and champagne in the romantic corner table of the hotel’s restaurant.
It is here that Bond names a cocktail after her, charming the shit out of her with his line:
Once you’ve tasted it, it’s all you want to drink.
What to Imbibe
The drink in question is the first martini we ever see Bond consume in the book. Unlike most “martinis” nowadays – which are some conglomeration of chocolate, fruit, and some low-proof liqueur – Bond’s Vesper Martini doubly earns its title by including both gin and vodka!
Indeed, the martini’s first known appearance in print was written by Fleming in 1953 with the novel version of Casino Royale. The setting is slightly different; in the book, Bond is sitting with Felix Leiter, looking to loosen up a bit before dinner and the game.
“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice cold, then add a thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.”Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.
Bond laughed. “When I’m… er… concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”
– Ian Fleming, Casino Royale (Chapter 7)
After receiving his drink, Bond takes a sip and tells the barman, “Excellent. But if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.” This is OK for Bond, but I have a feeling that saying something like this in a bar will get you a great ass-kicking.
The film’s dialogue is a perfect interpretation…
Bond: Dry Martini.
Bartender: Oui, monsieur.
Bond: Wait… three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice and add a thin slice of lemon peel.
Bartender: Yes, sir.
Anyone who has tried to make this drink knows that you may come across a bit of an issue, however. Kina Lillet was reformulated in 1986 and is now “Lillet Blanc”, a similar French apertif which is less bitter than the original.
To create a drink that may not be Bond’s exact order, use 90-proof gin, 100-proof vodka, and either Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano, an Italian apertif that is generally considered to be the nearest contemporary drink to the original Kina Lillet recipe. Gordon’s gin was stronger at the time of Casino Royale‘s initial publication, so the ideal modern gin would be Tanqueray or Broker’s. Both of those gins still have the 94-proof alcohol content that would have been the norm in Fleming’s day. 100-proof Stolichnaya (blue label) also will increase the alcohol content to 1953 levels, as well as satisfying Bond’s “grain vodka” preference.
Thus, the modern vesper martini would be made like this:
Pour three measures of 94-proof Tanqueray, one measure of 100-proof Stolichnaya, and half a measure of Cocchi Americano into a shaker. Shake it over ice until its very cold and strain into a deep champagne goblet, adding a thin slice of lemon peel. If you don’t enjoy this drink, you don’t really belong on earth anymore.
Although he returned to the traditional Walther PPK in his latest two outings as Bond, Daniel Craig carried a 9×19 mm Walther P99 with a suppressor in Casino Royale. The P99 was first developed by Walther in the 1990s from a design by Horst Wesp. It was introduced to the market in 1997, just in time for Tomorrow Never Dies, Pierce’s second Bond film. In the film, Pierce comes across the P99 and is elated: “The new Walther! I asked Q to get me one of these.” From then until Casino Royale, Bond’s weapon was the ultra-modern Walther P99.
The P99 is offered in both 9×19 mm Parabellum and .40 S&W versions. Bond carries the more internationally-friendy and movie blank-friendly 9 mm variant, which holds 15 rounds in the magazine, although extended 17 and 20 round magazines are available. The weapon is certainly larger than the PPK and less sleek in the traditional spy sense, but with double the rounds and firepower, the P99 is a smart choice for the modern Bond. Additionally, the polymer frame of the P99 keeps it almost as light as a standard PPK, with an unloaded weight of 630 grams.
How to Get the Look
Maybe Brioni will be nice enough to make one just for you?
- Black single-button Brioni dinner jacket with grosgrain-trimmed peak lapels, jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Black formal Brioni double reverse-pleated trousers with a grosgrain stripe down each leg, side pockets, button-fastened jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- White-on-white waffle weave Turnbull & Asser formal shirt with a concealed front placket, large spread collar, and mitred double/French cuffs
- Black shantung silk Turnbull & Asser bow tie
- Palladium cuff links – Bond’s are S.T. Dupont 5244
- Wide white moiré silk Albert Thurston suspenders with gold fittings and white leather joints
- Black calf 2-eyelet John Lobb Luffield derby shoes
- Black dress socks
- Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 2220.80.00 with a blue bezel and face on a stainless 41mm case and bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie and invest in that tailored dinner jacket. You never know when you may need it.
After believing all hope to be lost, Bond headed to the bar, as most gamblers do in that situation.
Bartender: Shaken or stirred?
Bond: Does it look like I give a damn?
The Hollywood Costume Exhibition is currently on show in my town and I went along and had a look. They had Bond’s “Casino Royale” dinner jacket on display, but I confess I didn’t look at it too closely. And me, the big Bond fan! I was too distracted by the BatSuit and Marlene Dietrich’s tuxedo from “Morocco”. Man, she was tiny! Looks like I’ll be going to take another look at Bond’s suit.
In your defense, it’s not everyday that you can see a Batsuit or a woman’s tuxedo. Which Batman wore the one that you got to see? And yes, I’ve heard that Marlene was on a tomato juice and crackers diet after an old Hollywood studio told her she could stand to lose some weight. Of course, the guy who told her that from behind the safety of his studio desk was probably 300 pounds.
I think it was the suit from “Batman Begins”. Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman outfit was awesome, too. Looks like Hollywood’s obsession with thinning down their actresses began a lot earlier than I thought. I’m sure Dietrich supplemented her diet with a steady stream of unfiltered Fatimas too. Those were the days.
Daniel Craig has worn three tuxedos overall in his thrice spy movies. But this Casino Royale peak lapel tux has its own charm, you can’t give all credit to Lindy and Tom Ford, Craig also played a vital role in making this tux simply fantastic. No doubt Brosnan has also wore couple of peak lapel tuxedo efficiently but Craig really nailed it. It shows the world how you can wear an evening party attire both trendyfully and traditionally. Craig is my star Icon !
I couldn’t agree with you more about Craig’s style. Whether it’s a dinner jacket like this, a casual polo, or his wintry attire in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the guy always looks cool on screen. If you check around, you’ll see plenty of Craig posts, both as Bond and in other movies. In real life, the guy also knows how to dress and always looks classy whether at a premiere or on the street. Thanks for reading!
The other reason you’ll get weird looks if you specify a grain vodka is that, at this point, almost all vodkas are grain-based. It would actually make more sense the other way around, if you wanted to specify a potato vodka, such as Chopin.
In any event, that kind of stipulation is kind of ridiculous to begin with, and is exactly the kind of thing snobs say to show off their knowledge — even when it isn’t relevant. I remember when I read the book thinking it was Fleming being kind of a prick, even though he admittedly knew little about cocktails.
I’m just catching up on some comments now, and I must say – based on your knowledge of booze – you must be a fun guy to hang out at a bar with! (Much more fun than a guy who asks for grain vodka in a martini, for sure.) Thanks for your input here. Have you perfected your own Vesper recipe? Based on the changing proofs and availabilities since 1953, all Bond fans I know seem to have their OWN Vesper. I’d love to hear what you use in yours!
I thought you might pick up on the fact that I only chime in to comment on cocktails! Anyway, I appreciate the reply (although I think I can actually be kind of a bore at the bar myself sometimes) and the question.
To answer it: since the Vesper is somewhat of a heavy drink, I advocate trying to moderate the alcohol content if possible — so you can enjoy more than one, of course. An average-content gin, in particular, will be less “hot” and serve more of its purpose, which (as I understand it) is to impart flavor. Stoli is a good choice for the vodka, especially since I recall Bond having a preference for Russian vodkas in the books. And I like to stick with Lillet, even though it’s been reformulated, although your suggestion of Cocchi Americano is a strong one.
So my version — although I admit I haven’t made a Vesper in a few years — consists of three jiggers Beefeater, one of Stoli, half a jigger of Lillet Blanc, and (curveball!) a dash of lemon bitters. Shake over ice until very cold and strain into a chilled martini glass, since frankly a champagne goblet may not contain this drink. Generally I prefer my lemon peel garnishes to be short and wide, but there’s something about the Vesper that seems to call for a long, spiraling peel.
If you mix one, let me know what you think!