Skyfall – Bond “Enjoying Death” in Exile
So summer is almost ending. You’re reasonably upset about it. Stretch it out a little longer by going into self-exile. All you need is a leather jacket, a case of booze, and a remote beach.
Daniel Craig as James Bond, supposedly dead British secret agent
A remote Greek beach, Spring 2012
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime
James Bond is reasonably turned off by the British Secret Service after a rushed order from his boss leaves him with a gunshot wound to the chest that sent him falling from the top of a moving train. Luckily, Bond pulls through but, rather than reporting back to duty, chooses to stay “dead” by indulging himself on a Greek beach with gorgeous women and dangerous drinking games.
What’d He Wear?
Bond’s gone rogue before, but this is the first time we’ve seen him go all-out. The suit is gone, the shaving has ceased, and all that’s left of Bond is a jaded badass who still knows a thing or two about drinking.
According to the film’s costumer, Jany Temime, in an interview with GQ:
The first time we see Bond in the film, Daniel said, “I really want to look shoddy.” So out of fifty leather jackets, I chose one from Levi’s Vintage—an old-fashioned style that you’d forget easily.
The main piece of Bond’s “enjoying death” wardrobe is a dark brown Levi’s® Vintage Clothing “Menlo” leather jacket with a zip-up front, based on an original Levi’s design from the 1930s. It is 100% sheepskin leather with a 100% polyester lining. There are two slanted front pockets, a folded collar, and button-adjusted belt tab cuffs. It is fitted with a vented and pleated back and adjustable side tabs with a D-ring on each side of the belt. The jacket’s “worn” quality contributes to Bond’s rugged look.
Levi’s Vintage Clothing line focuses on reproductions of jackets from historical periods, stretching back to the 1870s. Bond’s choice of a 1930s jacket is traditional and masculine without looking too aged. Levi’s created the jackets in both brown and black, with the brown harder to find since the success of Skyfall. Some are still available online for prices around $900, so good luck. The James Bond Lifestyle has some great information about the jacket on its page.
Under the jacket, Bond wears a very distinctive casual long-sleeve shirt made by Zara Youth. The shirt is light blue-gray with a small floral pattern in blue and dark gray throughout the shirt. It has a narrow point collar and mitred cuffs that fasten with a single button. The shirt has seven white buttons down a front placket. There are inverted box pleated patch pockets on the chest that close with a single-button flap. Since this is Skyfall, also known as the film where Bond wears tight clothes, the shirt is darted in the back, keeping the fit close on his torso.
The shirt is unavailable at the Zara website, but the James Bond Lifestyle also wrote a great piece about it on its site. The look evokes the first time we really saw Craig’s Bond in action in Africa in a tropical printed shirt and light linen trousers, a nice bit of consistency that Craig’s Bond evidently has a preference for printed shirts and light-colored trousers when in warm climates and casual situations.
Unlike the drawstring-waisted casual linen trousers from Casino Royale, though, Bond wears a nicer pair of Topman light khaki chinos in Skyfall. Naturally, they have a tighter fit, but they rumple enough in Bond’s semi-retirement laziness that they don’t look painted on. According to the Topman site, they are “pale gray skinny cuffed chinos” in 100% cotton with a light rinse wash, elasticated hems, and black metal buttons. They are still available (as of August 2013) on the Topman site for only $52, a bargain compared to the $900 Levi’s jacket. The site doesn’t mention, but it is obvious when seeing Craig wearing the trousers, that they also have a low rise and jetted rear pockets with a button fastening.
We don’t see much of them, but Bond’s footwear is also from Zara, a pair of beige suede two-eyelet desert boots. The boots are still available online at Zara’s site for $99.90. According to the site, the uppers are 100% cow leather with a 30% cotton and 70% cow leather lining and 100% rubber soles. He appears to wear the boots with a pair of dark socks.
Since Q branch isn’t around to provide him with one, Bond doesn’t wear a watch or any accessories, for that matter. (Unless you count the manly stubble.)
Go Big or Go Home
You’re on vacation: grow out that stubble and take it easy. This is no time to worry about what people think or what’s going on at work, especially if what’s going on at work just got you shot in the chest.
What to Imbibe
Bond covers the bases for men’s drinks – whiskey and beer. He doesn’t choose poorly either, Macallan is one of my favorite single malts and every Scotch drinker can typically remember the first time they had a sip. Bond takes it a step further in this film, drinking it straight down the hatch while a scorpion stares him straight in the eye from the unnerving vantage point of Bond’s hand, but Macallan is worth it. (My personal favorite is an Islay malt like Lagavulin or Laphroaig but…)
And, of course, the beer that launched a thousand angry product placement ships… Bond does indeed drink a bottle of Heineken while relaxing in bed with his Greek girlfriend. For some reason, this pissed off plenty of people who don’t remember Bond drinking Budweiser in Licence to Kill or drinking Lowenbrau, Miller High Life, and Red Stripe in the original Ian Fleming books.
Give Bond a break, he’s taking it easy! Nothing wrong with Heineken either, despite what Dennis Hopper may say in Blue Velvet. As Jack Nicholson proclaimed in The Last Detail:
Heineken? Why it’s the finest beer in the world! President Kennedy used to drink it!
How to Get the Look
It’s very “un-Bond” but still manages to fit the character perfectly for his setting and state of mind. If you ever feel like looking rougher than usual, skip the old T-shirt and distressed jeans and instead try to sport a smart, casual look that still looks tough. (Even with the word “floral” involved.)
- Dark brown leather Levi’s Vintage Clothing “Menlo” 1930s edition zip-up jacket with a folded collar, slanted front pockets, and an adjustable belt
- Light blue-gray (with a small blue and dark gray floral pattern) casual long-sleeve Zara Youth shirt with a narrow spread collar, front placket, button-flapped inverted box pleat chest pockets
- Light khaki slim fit Topman flat front chinos with side pockets, button-fastened jetted rear pockets, belt loops, and elasticated cuffs
- Beige suede two-eyelet desert boots
- Dark socks
Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as the brown leather jacket and printed Zara shirt, and many other 007 outfits.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the film.
Bond’s return to work is swift after M asks where he’s been:
Enjoying death. 007 reporting for duty.
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.
Ahh, yes, the Heineken Uproar of 2012. I remember it well. Some hardcore fans got upset at the time because there was no mention as to whether or not Bond would still be drinking his trademark Martini in “Skyfall”. And of course, I had visions of Bond sitting in some swanky restaurant and saying to a waiter: ” A Heineken beer. Shaken, not stirred.”
As it was, the beer was perfectly suited to the context of the scene.
The chinos are a light beige/khaki colour not light grey. they are also folded up slightly at the bottom which can be seen in behind the scenes stills. There rolled up slightly not cuffed with elastic to give Bond an even more casual, relaxed look and it was a look starting to become fashionable in 2012.
In my opinion, Pierce Brosnan was by far the best / most suitable / classy 007 James Bond
Ah, the trials of finding a suitable replacement jacket for the Levis Menlo Vintage leather jacket that Bond wears while enjoying death!
So far I’ve bought 2 leather jackets which are supposed to look “just like” the Levis Menlo leather jacket. To my disappointment, neither is even remotely close to looking like it. The first one I bought was from a fairly well thought of Amazon seller, that had been reviewed well by other purchasers. Not a chance. First it looked brand new and didn’t have a hint of that worn in look that Bond’s Menlo jacket has. I tried to add that vintage look by abusing it significantly and that was a serious waste of time on my part. Ultimately, I gave the jacket away to a friend who was looking for just a leather jacket to wear for winter. The second jacket was actually worse than the first one and had even better reviews on Amazon than the first one did.
I’m trying another seller, this time not from Amazon, to see if I have any better luck in my third attempt. Third time lucky is a phrase I’ve heard in the past.
Should this time turn out better, I’ll pass along the URL so that other Bond clothing collectors can enjoy what would be a great find.
As always, keep up the great work, I enjoy reading your missives about men’s style quite a lot. Thank you for your hard work!
For those interested, I have the Levi’s Vintage Clothing (LVC) | 1930s Menlo Brown Leather Jacket for sale here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/174811655195