Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government agent
Macau, Spring 2012
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime
Nearly forty years after his last visit in The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond returns to Macau after discovering a casino chip on an assassin in Shanghai. Now officially back in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond packs up his dinner suit, cut-throat razor, and sunglasses and heads to the film’s version of Macau.
Skyfall‘s Macau is far different and more primitive than its real life counterpart, which is more like an Asian Las Vegas with a twist of Portugal rather than the simple but mysterious Ming Dynasty village seen in the film. A Special Administration Region like Hong Kong, Macau was a Portugese colony until 1999. During its 500 years of Portuguese rule, Macau developed a fascinating fusion of Portuguese and Southeast Asian culture that is still perceptible in all aspects from language to architecture.
When I first saw Skyfall, I was intrigued by this rustic place with the strongly masculine hotel and floating casino. While the floating casino exists, and is one of many casinos in the city, the film’s portrayal misses the city’s neon accents.
Still, the entire Macau sequence is filled with stunning visuals from the locations (fictional though they may be) to the film’s two Bond girls, played by Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe, and – of course – Bond’s dark blue tux. I’m not sure what your plans are this week, but I can guarantee they would be enhanced by rolling out your own sharp blue dinner suit.
What’d He Wear?
Bond’s Macau dinner suit, the only one he wears in Skyfall, was used very prominently during the film’s promotion, and rightly so as it is a very good-looking suit and was worn during some of the film’s key scenes.
It also is notable for being one of the few times that a blue suit was worn to actually photograph blue. Often, Bond – and other characters – sport midnight blue tuxedoes that are meant to appear “darker than black”, hence the misconception that Bond wears strictly black tuxedoes. In fact, most of Bond’s dinner suits have been midnight blue. For a terrific infographic that broadly analyzes Bond’s clothing, check this out.
The more visible blue dinner suit has been catching on since Skyfall with stars like Ryan Gosling, Kevin Spacey, and Bradley Cooper famously wearing them to award shows. Cooper’s appears to be the same Tom Ford tux worn by Craig, or at least very similarly styled.
So let’s look at the actual tux that Bond wears in Skyfall. Certainly by Tom Ford and possibly part of his “O’Connor” collection, the cloth is a vivid dark blue that shines more navy than midnight when Bond steps out into the sunlight the next day wearing the same suit. As we rarely see Bond’s evening attire during the daytime (appropriately enough), it makes sense that this blue tux would stand out more than the others in the series. Matt Spaiser’s expert blog, The Suits of James Bond, also features a post about this suit.
On October 5, 2012, Christie’s of South Kensington auctioned one of the dinner suits worn in the film, describing it as:
A two-piece dinner suit in navy wool by Tom Ford, worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall.
The suit, sold as Lot #42 for £46,850 ($75,756 if you’re nasty), was part of a collection consisting mostly of other memorabilia from Daniel Craig’s outings as Bond including a Skyfall Omega watch, the “charcoal serge with light blue rope-stripe” suit he would wear later in London, the famous La Perla swimming trunks from Casino Royale, and a genuine Aston Martin DBS from Quantum of Solace.
The auction also validates many people’s complaints about the dinner suit; the auctioned tux was sized 38R (the label read 48F but us Ameicans or Brits know that better as 38R). Though he may be the shortest Bond actor at 5’10”, Daniel Craig is not a small person. After gaining plenty of muscle for the Bond role, Craig would easily fit into a 40 or 42-sized suit, but 38? No wonder he looked like he was about to burst out of it. This was likely one of his stunt tuxes, as he certainly wore bespoke versions for close-ups and sequences not requiring running, jumping, or shooting.
The dinner jacket, though the tight fit and short cut may distract some, still has undeniably classic features. The jacket is the same dark navy as the rest of the suit with wide shawl lapels with black satin silk facings.
Bond’s jacket is single-breasted and closes in the front with a single black satin-faced button. This poor button becomes considerably strained when Craig closes it over his torso, likely breathing a sigh of relief when he sits down and unbuttons it again.
The 3-button cuffs are also covered in the same black satin silk. As usual for Craig’s Bond, he shows off the surgeon’s cuffs by keeping the bottom button unfastened.
Bond’s dinner jacket has narrow shoulders with roped sleeveheads. There is a welted pocket and two jetted hip pockets, both also featuring black satin silk jetting. He wears a white handkerchief neatly folded into the breast pocket, likely made of either linen or silk.
The only exception to the jacket’s classic look is the single rear vent, which belongs only on business suits or sport coats; dinner jacket should either have double vents or none at all.
The likely reason for the single vent is that the tight fit of the jacket meant that:
- a ventless jacket would be too tight, and Craig would be unable to move
- double rear vents would create the effect of “ass-popping”, and Craig would look silly
There are two things that James Bond is not known for: immobility and looking silly. In her quest to place Bond in these very contemporary but very tight-fitting suits, costume designer Jany Temime is also mindful of these two tenets and sacrifices proper dinner jacket venting in order to meet them.
Bond’s formal flat front trousers are also midnight blue with black satin stripes down the leg. The trousers rise appropriately high on Bond’s waist, where they fasten with an extended front waist tab and buckle side adjusters.
The trousers fit neatly down the legs, tapering to the plain-hemmed bottoms. They also have on-seam side pockets where Craig often places his hands when idle.
Although the trousers have side adjusters, Bond wears a set of white moiré suspenders with white leather joints (constructed of vegtanned goatskin) and braid ends, made by Albert Thurston according to James Bond Lifestyle.
The suspenders (or braces) are fitted with clips to fasten to the top of the waistband, but since Bond’s trousers are fitted with inside buttons, the braces are able to fasten inside and out of sight for a cleaner look.
When in the casino, Bond covers up his waist with a black satin silk Tom Ford cummerbund, marking one of the few times in the series that he wears one.
Now that he’s practically a Tom Ford brand ambassador, Bond also wears a white cotton voile Tom Ford shirt that kicks the outfit’s traditional look up a notch. The bib, spread collar, and double cuffs are all piqué, a standard weave for formalwear since the early days of white tie. The shirt has two side darts on the back.
Bond wears a set of white mother-of-pearl cuff links, also from Tom Ford, through his shirt cuffs. They are round with white gold trim and, as you might be able to guess, were made by Tom Ford. You might not be able to guess the price, though; according to James Bond Lifestyle, they can run you about $3,400. If you’re the sort of person that spends $3,400 on cuff links, I’m requesting that you stop reading this blog on principle alone.
Since Tom Ford’s hand is present throughout this outfit, the cuff links perfectly match the shirt studs, a smaller version of the white gold-trimmed mother-of-pearl links. The studs are worn through the shirt’s plain front, with four showing between the bow tie and cummerbund.
Bond’s bow tie is black grosgrain with a “batwing” shape, a narrower tie that works best with slimmer men wearing slimmer collars and lapels.
The English shoemaker Crockett & Jones is well-represented in Skyfall as Bond wears his third pair of C&Js in Macau. This is the “Alex” plain-toe wholecut shoe, constructed of black calf with five eyelets and a single leather sole. Again confirmed by James Bond Lifestyle in its infinite wisdom, the Crockett & Jones “Alex” can be had for £360… that’s just £180 per shoe!
Naturally, Bond wears a pair of black socks. Would you really think Bond is the sort of guy who “wants a hint of color“?
Bond’s watch is his Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Mid Size Chronometer, worn in all scenes after his return from exile. The reference number is 126.96.36.199.03.001, and it is stainless with a stainless case and a brilliant blue dial with an indicator at 3:00 and a screw-in crown.
His holster remains unseen, but it looks like he is back to wearing an IWB as a shoulder holster would create a very unsightly bulge in the tight dinner jacket. Reportedly, his Skyfall IWB holster was a cognac-colored suede Vega IB333 to fit the Walther PPK/S he is issued by Q. He certainly wears it during the following scenes in London after Silva’s capture, but he is back to carrying a standard PPK by then.
Another tool of the job is worn in his ear. To communicate with Moneypenny in the Floating Dragon Casino, Bond fits a Phonak Invisity Flex Miniature Receiver into his ear. Before you start thinking I’m an earpiece expert (I’m not; I’m only an apprentice earpiece expert), this very acute detail also comes from James Bond Lifestyle, which reports that Bond dropping the earpiece into Eve’s champagne is “an expensive joke, since this earpiece costs £1100 – £1500 (with remote control) or $1290 – $1750.” No wonder he and Q were always at odds!
Interestingly, James Bond Lifestyle also reports that the earpiece was more than just a prop. When Silva (Javier Bardem) was locked inside the glass, he wore one of these earpieces to hear the lines of the actors outside the glass. The film concealed the earpiece nicely, as this is impossible to discern when watching.
The next day, Bond and Sévérine emerge from what was likely a few hours in the shower for a bright morning ride on her yacht. To combat the sunlight, Bond puts on a pair of Tom Ford Marko FT0144 “18V” aviator-style sunglasses with silver rhodium frames and blue lenses.
I have no idea where he was keeping these, as they surely would’ve broken when he jumped into the
Rancor pit komodo dragon pit the previous evening and certainly would’ve bulged through his clothing. Perhaps after leaving the casino he picked them up from his car, knowing that he and Sévérine wouldn’t be finished until morning.
Craig also wore the Tom Ford sunglasses while filming in Istanbul, but they weren’t part of that scene. More info is available at James Bond Lifestyle… but you knew that. Maybe you didn’t know that you can still get a pair of Markos yourself on Amazon.
All in all, this is a great dinner suit that could’ve been just a little bit better with a correct fit. Had it fit better, it would’ve likely had the proper rear venting and still would have flattered Craig’s muscular physique. It’s interesting to see the transition between the evening and day, as Bond ditches the bow tie and adds sunglasses, making it almost a completely different look. This is very reminiscent of Moonraker (and the only real thing the two films have in common*) where Bond wore his black tux to the Rio carnival then showed up the next morning still in the same clothing.
* Other than the fact that both films feature black tie scenes in Portuguese-speaking countries that are not Portugal. Eerie coincidence.
* An additional coincidence – or maybe it isn’t? – is the fact that Macau is a Portuguese-speaking country and Raoul Silva is supposed to be Portuguese-born. I don’t believe this was mentioned in the film; something extra for viewers in the know?
Go Big or Go Home
James Bond’s badassery seemingly knows no bounds; he begins his night by shaving with a straight razor. Moneypenny – and many others – refer to these as “cut-throat” razors and for an excellent reason that needs no explanation. Straight razors were once the only way to shave until the development of the safety razor around the start of the 20th century. An additional blow was delivered to the straight razor as the popularity of electric razors blew up in the 1950s.
Very few men still shave with straight razors, and even Bond himself used a Gillette-style safety razor in the novels and the Goldfinger film. By the time of Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond had even adopted an electric razor, the Philips Philishave Sensotec HQ8894 (marketed in North America as the Norelco Spectra 8894XL). Of course, a straight razor wouldn’t have been as practical for Bond to shave off the heavy beard he had accrued in that film, and the Philips product placement gods were sated by Britain’s #1 hero using their razor.
The theme of old vs. new runs rampant in Skyfall, and Bond’s choice of razor is not insignificant. The skill required to safely and efficiently use a straight razor means that most men desirous of these close shaves go to a barber who is learned in the ways of the razor. For Bond to be able to use one himself, he must be steady-handed and steady-minded to not be intimidated by the shave. (Moneypenny seems to appreciate it too.)
Nor is he intimidated by exotic casino games. If a man came up to you in a casino and asked you to pay some chips on a game of 骰寶, would you do it?
骰寶, pronounced Sic bo in English, is also known as tai sai (大細), dai siu (大小), big and small, or hi-lo. Three dice are shaken in a mechanical shaker, and the player must predict the outcome. Like roulette, it is almost completely a game of chance. It is very popular in Macau, and Bond satisfies himself with a few games before heading to the bar for some dangerously sexually-charged drinks with Sévérine.
And who exactly was Sévérine, anyway? While I get that all Bond adventures need at least two Bond girls – including one sacrificial lamb – her role was slightly unclear to me. So she had been an ex-prostitute that was now somehow in service to Silva, and this service included getting men to look at art while being shot?
A scene was unfortunately deleted from the film at the Shanghai airport that would have shown Sévérine handing a briefcase to Patrice, Silva’s silent henchman that Bond kills through hand-to-hand combat and eventual defenestration. The briefcase, as we see in the finished film, contained the Floating Dragon Casino chip that led Bond to Macau and, thus, Sévérine. Perhaps the filmmakers thought a more stylish introduction to her character would be seeing her through Bond’s eyes for the first time during the assassination, but this cut took some clarity with it.
What to Imbibe
While Bond indulges in one of his extra chilled vodka martinis during his tête-à-tête with Sévérine, Skyfall gives a nice boost to Macallan single malt Scotch whisky throughout. Casual viewers who only associate Bond with martinis were probably stunned to see him drinking so much whisky, not to mention the controversial Heineken! Of course, casual viewers haven’t read the books or paid attention to the films, which often find Bond drinking far more whisky; alas, the simplicity of whisky doesn’t stick in audience’s minds as much as a complicated martini order that shows just how much of a connoisseur/snob one can be.
Despite tacky taste in clothing, Raoul Silva has excellent taste in libations. He keeps a bottle of Macallan 1962 Fine and Rare Vintage on his private island, pouring out shots for he and Bond as the two compare marksmanship with the lovely Sévérine as an unwilling target stand. Of course, Bond’s been a bit shaky lately and Silva is forced to take the shot – the gunshot, that is – and put poor Sévérine down.
Bond is coldly laconic, as usual:
Waste of good Scotch.
How to Get the Look
As several gents in Hollywood have proved, a sharp blue dinner suit is a classy way to show up on the red carpet. If you’ve got any red carpet events this weekend, or just any red rugs in your house that you feel particularly like walking on, now you know what to wear.
- Midnight navy blue wool dinner suit by Tom Ford, consisting of:
- Single-breasted jacket with wide black satin silk-faced shawl lapels, single black satin silk-covered button, welted breast pocket, black satin silk-jetted hip pockets, 3 covered silk button “surgeon’s cuffs”, and single rear vent
- Flat front high rise trousers with extended waistband, buckle side adjusters, side pockets, and plain-hemmed tapered bottoms
- White cotton voile Tom Ford shirt with piqué plain-front bib, piqué spread collar, and piqué double/French cuffs
- Black “batwing”-style grosgrain bow tie
- White mother-of-pearl Tom Ford cuff links with white gold round trim
- White moiré Albert Thurston suspenders with white goatskin leather joints and braid ends
- Black satin silk Tom Ford cummerbund
- Black calf leather plain-toe 5-eyelet Crockett & Jones “Alex” wholecut shoes
- Black dress socks
- Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Mid Size Chronometer, ref. 188.8.131.52.03.001 with a stainless steel bracelet and case and a blue dial
- Vega IB333 cognac-colored suede IWB holster for Walther PPK/S
- Tom Ford FT0144 Marko “18V” aviator-style sunglasses with silver rhodium frames and blue lenses
- White silk (or linen) folded pocket square, worn in jacket breast pocket
Chekhov’s Gadget in Skyfall was actually a gun this time. Q had issued Bond his new pistol, a “Walther PPK/S, nine-millimeter short”, with a special palm print coding meaning only Bond could fire it. He tests out the coding briefly in Shanghai, acknowledging it with a smirk. Surely this isn’t the sole narrative purpose of the gun’s new feature!
Bond next continues to Macau, and the pistol even becomes a topic of discussion with Sévérine…
Sévérine: Would you mind if I ask you a business question?
Bond: Depends on the question.
Sévérine: It has to do with death.
Bond: A subject in which you’re well-versed.
Sévérine: And how would you know that?
Bond: Only a certain kind of wears a backless dress with a Beretta 70 strapped to her thigh.
Sévérine: One can never be too careful when handsome men in tuxedos carry Walthers.
Chekhov’s Gadget survives another scene unused, however, and Chekhov’s Gun is averted. Not only is Sévérine’s referenced Beretta Model 70 never used, it’s never even seen. (For those who are curious, the Beretta Model 70 is a compact .32-caliber semi-automatic that popped its head up as a continuity error in The Spy Who Loved Me when Bond was in Egypt. It has been used in plenty of foreign films but is well-remembered as the pistol used by Andy Garcia to kill two home invaders in The Godfather, Part III.)
Alas, Chekhov’s Gadget finally rears its head in the komodo dragon pit in the following scene. Bond drops into the pit and loses his PPK/S, which is subsequently picked up by one of Silva’s more portly henchmen.
Again keeping utter cool, Bond deadpans: “Good luck with that,” and the henchman pulls the trigger. Click. Click. Enough time to allow Bond to kick some ass and escape, but – unfortunately – without retrieving his pistol.
Bond gets his hands on another weapon the next morning when his marksmanship (and hubris) are tested on Silva’s island. For Silva’s aforementioned marksmanship exercise, he reveals a stunning Ardesa 1871 percussion cap dueling pistol, as identified by IMFDb.
The above photo, found at HenryKrank.com, has a .45 inch bore – making it 11.4 mm caliber. It weighs approximately one kilogram with an overall length of 16.9″ (430 mm) and a 9.4″ barrel (240 mm). Both the polished barrel and the walnut stock are fluted.
Proving to be a wasteful dickhead, Silva places a shot glass of Macallan on Sévérine’s head as she remains tied up. Bond is given the challenge: shoot the glass of whisky on top of her head. We’ve already seen Bond try to regain his marksmanship skills during his re-training. It wasn’t pretty.
After a tense few seconds, Bond misses. Luckily, he avoids hitting Sévérine. Silva takes the dueling pistol next and – BANG! – wins the match on a technicality by shooting Sévérine dead. She slumps forward, and the shot glass slips off. While Bond reacts coolly, it becomes obvious he was just biding his time, looking for the perfect chance. The moment strikes and he takes over, wiping out all of Silva’s henchmen and simultaneously swiping a more tactical Glock 17 from one of them.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
Well, I like to do some things the old-fashioned way.
Today is my girlfriend’s birthday, and she was sweet enough to allow me to indulge in a very Bond-like date night two years ago when we went to see Skyfall. The evening was complete with Tagliatelli Verdi and Chianti (Bond’s favorite Italian dinner in the novels) and a fair amount of know-it-all moments for me as I rambled on about Bond
trivia minutae. Naturally, I wore a dark blue worsted suit with a white shirt, black knit tie, black casual moccasins, and a holstered .32.
In an additional display of awesome, she was the one to buy me my own DVD copy of Skyfall after it came out!
Happy Birthday, Sarah!