Skyfall – Bond “Enjoying Death” in Exile

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall.

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.

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, supposedly dead British secret agent

A remote Greek beach, Spring 2012

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

Background

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.

Wisely, Bond is never fall from a bottle of Scotch when duty calls.

Wisely, Bond is never far from a bottle of Scotch when duty calls.

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.

An example of the Zara shirt used in the film. This version, however, has a black and gray pick pattern down the inside fly that is not present in the film.

An example of the Zara shirt used in the film. This version, however, has a black and gray pick pattern down the inside fly that is not present in the film. The pattern on the rest of the shirt is the same.

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.

Although I don't know if having a scorpion watch from your wrist as you down a glass of Scotch counts as a "casual situation".

Although I don’t know if having a scorpion watch from your wrist as you down a glass of Scotch counts as a “casual situation”.

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.

Bond's rarely seen trousers and desert boots.

Bond’s rarely seen trousers and desert boots.

We don’t see much of them, but Bond’s footwear is also from Zara, a pair of beige suede 2-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.

Although, try not to be too much of a grump. Hangovers are understandable, but why are you still at the bar the next morning in the first place?

Although, try not to be too much of a grump. Hangovers are understandable, but why are you still at the bar the next morning in the first place?

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. (Of course, 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.

People were actually mad about this. Seriously?

People were actually mad about this. Seriously?

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 Zara 2-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…

Buy the film.

The Quote

Bond’s return to work is swift after M asks where he’s been:

Enjoying death. 007 reporting for duty.

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.

8 comments

  1. Teeritz

    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.

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  6. Ryan Hall

    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.

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