Skyfall – Bond Returns to Istanbul

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall (2012).

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, British secret agent

Istanbul, Spring 2012

Film: Skyfall
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

Background

After a four year hiatus between films – the longest gap in Bond history without a new actor – Daniel Craig boomed back into 007’s shoes in the explosive opening scene of Skyfall, set in the oft-used Bond setting of Istanbul. The long but quickly-paced film kicks off in media res, with 007 chasing down an assassin who just killed a fellow MI6 agent and stole the film’s MacGuffin, a hard drive with the identities of all agents.

The Istanbul scene manages to rack up the Big Four for movie overland chases: on foot, in a car, on a motorcycle, and via train. While a suit may not be most men’s first choice for this sort of activity, it suits Bond perfectly and withstands the abuse from blood, grease, and dirt with aplomb.

Skyfall also marked the second year of the Bond series’ relationship with designer Tom Ford, making it safe to assume that most of the clothing – unless otherwise noted – is made by Tom Ford.

What’d He Wear?

Bond’s classic suit, a nod to a suit that may have been worn by Connery in the ’60s, looks like a standard medium gray. In fact, it is a black and white pick-and-pick pattern, woven together in an even twill weave. This particular cloth, which I will refer to as gray pick-and-pick for all intents and purposes, was chosen by costume designer Jany Temime. At least sixty different versions of this suit were made for the long stunt-heavy scene which saw plenty of blood, dirt, and sweat.

One of the main criticisms of the Skyfall suits is their tight fit on Craig. While a tight fit works better for an athletic build like his rather than a fat build, he does appear to be “bursting” from suits at times. However, it is a great, clean look for 2012 and certainly reflects the modern Mad Men-influenced trend. As Temime explained to GQ:

First, I had a long meeting with Daniel and he told me what he wanted: a slim-fit suit tailored very near the body. And I knew Tom Ford was a strong sell, so I combined those ideas. I spent a week trying to find the right shape. Daniel wanted a suit you could forget—a suit that wasn’t on top of his body, but moving with his body.

The jacket indeed has a close fit and a short length. The shoulders are straight and narrow with just enough space for Craig to move easily without restricting his movements while jumping and shooting around Istanbul. It closes in the front with a 3-roll-2 button stance, although Bond hardly wears the jacket fastened in the finished film. There are, however, some behind-the-scenes shots of Craig with the jacket closed and it doesn’t look too unbearably tight. The single vent in the rear also aids mobility.

Sf1-coat1

Bond’s suit coat has the three usual outer pockets: two shallowly slanted flapped hip pockets and a breast pocket for a white pocketsquare.

Some of the jackets, especially for the motorcycle scenes, were made with slightly longer sleeves to keep them from riding up during the stunts. All versions of the suit jacket had 3-button functioning cuffs, with the bottom button left unfastened as a cheeky nod to everyone that, yes, this suit is bespoke and, yes, it’s probably nicer than anything we own.

The trousers are a modern interpretation of early Connery trousers, with buckle-tab side adjusters and cuffed bottoms. The short break of the trousers is inconsequential as Bond wisely pairs a set of chukka boots with his suit. The flat front and considerably lower rise are more 2013 than 1963, but they are also more complimentary of Craig’s shorter physique. Unfortunately, as the action builds, the gap between his waistline and the actual trouser waistband gets larger and larger until his shirt is bunching up over the top of the trousers by the time he leaps onto the train.

To understand why some critics are complaining about the small fit of Craig's suit, look at his pants in the train-fighting scenes. Fighting on top of a train is not a situation you want to look silly in.

To understand why some critics are complaining about the small fit of Craig’s suit, look at his pants in the train-fighting scenes. Fighting on top of a train is not a situation you want to look silly in.

Much like his other shirts in the film, the crisp white shirt for the Istanbul scenes has a front placket, double cuffs, and a distinctive tab collar. Typical for Bond, there is no breast pocket.

The tab collar does evoke classic 1960s style, but more of an American than an English look. Roger Sterling sports many tab collars on Mad Men. The particular collar worn by Bond is also not as constricting as some of the more traditional types, which push out the tie knot and give the wearer a gaunt Victorian appearance. Bond’s tab collar looks more relaxed.

The drawback of a tab collar is that you can't easily or attractively loosen your tie, which Bond was probably pretty anxious to do by this point.

The drawback of a tab collar is that you can’t easily or attractively loosen your tie, which Bond was probably pretty anxious to do by this point.

Bond wears a pair of very distinctive silver cylinder cuff links with “Tom Ford” engraved in the sides. These are the cuff links he adjusts after jumping onto the torn-apart train in one of the most BAMF moments in recent film history. According to the James Bond Lifestyle, which features the links for purchase, the retail price is approximately €1,900 (or $2,500 in real money.)

I think I cheered in the theater when this happened.

I think I cheered in the theater when this happened.

Bond’s four-in-hand necktie is a narrow silver & black basketweave, a likely nod to the grenadine ties worn by Sean Connery earlier in the series. (The basketweave was confirmed by Jovan, whose blog – Nouveau Vintage – you should be reading.)

Dan vs. Dan

Dan vs. Dan

Bond’s footwear is a wise choice, a pair of black chukka boots that are dressy enough to work with the suit but versatile enough that he could still jump around from motorcycle to train with relative ease. The particular shoes worn in the film are black calf Crockett & Jones “Tetbury” 2-eyelet chukka boots with a Dainite sole, also available on the James Bond Lifestyle for £330. The site describes the shoes as “made from the finest antique nubuck”. They are smartly worn with a pair of thin black dress socks.

Make sure you get the Tetburys with extra traction for when you're fighting a villain on top of a train.

Make sure you get the Tetburys with extra traction for when you’re fighting a villain on top of a train.

Keeping the Brosnan-Craig tradition in place, Bond again wears an Omega Seamaster. This particular model, the 232.30.42.21.01.001, is a steel version of the Planet Ocean with a 42mm case, black dial, and steel bracelet. Bond’s particular watch was made in titanium specifically for the demanding action scenes in Skyfall. Like all great Bond accessories, this can be found on the James Bond Lifestyle.

Honestly, if I were gonna be jumping around as much as Bond, I'd probably take a Casio or Timex. Then again, if I had Bond's unlimited expense account...

Honestly, if I were gonna be jumping around as much as Bond, I’d probably take a Casio or Timex. Then again, if I had Bond’s unlimited expense account…

After some fans worried that we were doomed to a future with a IWB holster-wearing Bond, Skyfall silenced their concerns by fitting Craig in a very classic black leather shoulder holster, slung under his left arm. It does not appear to be a Galco Executive, which Pierce Brosnan carried his Walther PPK in, so perhaps a more eagle-eyed viewer can identify it for us.

Dan's stuntman is likely wearing the same type of shoulder rig. Any ID?

Dan’s stuntman is likely wearing the same type of shoulder rig. Any ID?

Go Big or Go Home

The opening sequence of Skyfall shows off all of the great things Bond can do that truly makes him different from the average man. Sure, any guy has the tangible of pulling up to a swanky casino in a European sports car, shuffle inside wearing a well-tailored suit and order a Vodka Martini while romancing an exotic beauty, but to truly live like Bond – to be chased, shot at, and still succeed – is not an experience most men can live to tell about.

However, it is possible to hone the skills necessary should this situation ever arrive. First, we see Bond walking. That’s an easy one. Next –

Driving. Although it is Eve doing most of the driving in this scene, Bond-like evasive driving is a skill and a very necessary one at that. With very few exceptions, you’ll want to be driving a car with a manual transmission. While automatic transmissions may serve your practical purposes better, there is almost no situation in which Bond-like driving is practical. Once you’re behind the wheel, keep your eyes up and alert, looking for where you want to go. Any glance aside, whether to check the time or respond to a text message, sacrifices potential reaction time. Once you’ve got that under control, you can start working on handbrake turns and Scandinavian flicks.

Just because you're on a motorcycle doesn't mean you NEED a leather jacket. You probably will need a helmet, though.

Just because you’re on a motorcycle doesn’t mean you NEED a leather jacket.
You probably will need a helmet, though.

Skills with a multitude of vehicles is pretty essential for Bond, as he has driven cars, buses, speedboats, airplanes, and – most recently – motorcycles with his hijacked Honda CRF 250 R air-cooled four-stroke motorcycle. Everyone knows how to at least start a car, but not everyone has the same knowledge in terms of motorcycles. If you want to learn, take a class rather than consult a blog. Cheers.

Shooting. Bond’s weapon of choice, until being issued a .380 PPK/S update, is a Walther PPK semi-automatic pistol in .32 ACP. A weapon like this is a great choice for a carry pistol (I myself often opt for a Bersa Thunder 380 DLX) with concealability being its major selling point. Dressed as he is, Bond is likely not expecting a heavy combat situation and thus wouldn’t be armed with a heavier-duty weapon. However, he is still prepared for trouble by carrying his fully-loaded PPK in a shoulder holster. He is right-handed, so the strong-hand-draw holster is hung under his left arm. His additional magazine is carried in his left (weak hand) trouser pocket to keep Bond from having to switch hands when reloading in a tense situation. Although he eventually runs out of ammunition, Bond’s 7-shot PPK performs adequately against the 100+ rounds from his prey’s Glock 18 machine pistol.

Having a reload is very helpful in combat. Having more than one, as Bond learns, would be even more helpful.

Having a reload is very helpful in combat. Having more than one, as Bond learns, would be even more helpful.

Finally, physical fitness. Bond wouldn’t be able to do much if he wasn’t in top shape. Men’s Health has developed the “James Bond Workout” based on the training regiment that put Daniel Craig in shape for Casino Royale. You may think you’re in shape now, but watch the scenes of Craig swimming in the ocean with your wife or girlfriend. Notice which one of you she’s paying more attention to. It’s time to get into shape.

But, don’t let perfect fitness get in the way of your style. If you’re jumping from one train to the next in a full suit, take time to adjust your cuffs. You want to look perfect.

And once you get time to relax by taking a dip into the water – or by being accidentally shot by a 5.56 mm round off of the Verda Viaduct, settle back with a glass of Scotch and Adele’s haunting and award-winning theme song.

How to Get the Look

SF1-crop2Bond wears a very distinctive suit that reflects both a classic style and modern trends.

  • Gray pick & pick wool Tom Ford suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 3-roll-2 button suit coat with slim notch lapels, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with buckle-tab side adjusters, straight side pockets, jetted back pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
  • White long-sleeve Tom Ford dress shirt with a front placket, French cuffs, and a tab collar
  • Silver & black basketweave narrow necktie
  • Silver cylindrical Tom Ford cuff links
  • Black calf leather Crockett & Jones “Tetbury” 2-eyelet chukka boots with Dainite soles
  • Thin black dress socks
  • Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 232.30.42.21.01.001 in titanium with a black dial
  • Black leather RHD shoulder holster for a Walther PPK
  • White folded pocket square

Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as the gray pick suit and the Crockett & Jones chukka boots, and many other 007 outfits.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the film.

The Quote

Bond comforts Eve after she clips off a mirror while chasing after Patrice in the Land-Rover.

That’s all right. You weren’t using it.

Unfettered, she clips off the other one and replies, “I wasn’t using that one, either.”

Footnotes

With Skyfall being released during this ominpresence of the Internet, there were full blog posts on some sites about the film’s costuming weeks before it was even released. Help came from Matt Spaiser’s brilliant blog, Clothes on Film, and the James Bond Lifestyle.

9 comments

  1. teeritz

    Financially, I nowhere near the point where I can afford suits like those worn by Bond, so I happily live vicariously through your blog posts on his wardrobe. Great post (again), LS!
    However, being into wristwatches, I thought it a shame that they switched Daniel Craig’s wristwatch so quickly after “Quantum of Solace”. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s all about product placement, but given that Bond has worn four different watches in three movies, he’s beginning to come across as a collector. And I can’t say that I’m a fan of the current Planet Ocean series of watches. The in-house Calibre 8500 movement has made this watch a tad too thick, in my humble opinion. The first generation Planet Oceans were perfect.

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    • luckystrike721

      Thanks, Teeritz. Yes, I’d love to see Bond’s expense reports as M scratches his head, wondering why the operation spent so much money at Tom Ford and Omega. You make an excellent point about the watches; while each Bond seemed to have his own watch for his era (ex: Connery’s Submariner on the RAF strap, Brosnan’s Seamaster Professional), Craig seems to have a watch for every situation! While this probably the dream of most stylish men, it seems a bit excessive for a utilitarian like Bond. Perhaps he’s not able to take as good care of his watches, unlike guys like you who have a 50-year-old Tudor Oyster restored to pristine condition!

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  2. teeritz

    You know, I did write a Bond fan fiction where he opens his dresser drawer to reveal half a dozen wristwatches in his own collection. It basically mimicked some of my own collection (sad, aren’t I). But yeah, it doesn’t ring true for Mr. Bond to have more than one wristwatch which he wears until it falls apart on his wrist.
    Actually, that restored Tudor was one of the biggest flukes of my watch collecting life, but it’s counter-balanced by another Tudor which has become an expensive headache.

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  3. Jovan

    Hey luckystrike. The only part of this I want to correct is that the tie isn’t actually a grenadine weave, just more of a basketweave that many tasteful neckties have. It’s close, but not quite there.

    Like

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