Casino Royale: Bond Visits M in a Dark Topcoat
Daniel Craig as James Bond, British secret agent
London, July 2006
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
Arrogance and self-awareness seldom go hand in hand.
After getting caught on camera shooting up an embassy and then breaking into his boss’s apartment, Bond receives just the advice that he needs to hear at the start of his budding career as a secret agent. Dressing in dark colors and wearing a smirk straight from the Bruce Willis School of Badassery, Bond doesn’t impress the stern but wise M as she lays down the law.
What’d He Wear?
Bond’s outfit for this scene, particularly the casual topcoat, was nicely analyzed in a detailed post by 007 expert Matt Spaiser on The Suits of James Bond. It is a very slick and cool look that reflects the agent’s devil-may-care state of mind at the time; so what if he just “violated the only absolutely inviolate rule of international relations”? He’s a spy, dammit, and he’s going to dress like one!
Spaiser describes Bond’s Brioni topcoat as “a light blue barleycorn pattern on a black ground”, giving this simple look an elegant element of color that keeps it from being monochromatic.
Otherwise, the coat is very similar to the black topcoat worn by a contemporary action spy – Jason Bourne. Like Bourne’s overcoat, it is single-breasted and knee-length with notch lapels and a 3-button front. Also like Bourne’s coat (particularly in The Bourne Supremacy), it has straight flapped pockets rather than slash pockets and 3-button cuffs.
The topcoat also has a welted breast pocket and roped sleeveheads. There is a single vent in the rear.
The most similar item that Brioni is currently offering, as of November 2014, is an all-black cashmere and silk velour topcoat that, while undeniably luxurious, carries the extra-luxurious price tag of $7,575.
Bond’s black long-sleeve polo shirt is a callback to his preference for similar shirts while sneaking around at night in classic 007 adventures like Goldfinger and Thunderball. The shirt is constructed from a soft material that appears to be cashmere. It has three black buttons, much like the black knit polo worn by Connery in Goldfinger.
Bond wears a pair of black and white Glen Urquhart check flat front trousers with a light blue plaid overcheck, which Spaiser notes “picks up the blue in the topcoat”, bringing the outfit full circle. The trousers have on-seam side pockets and cuffed bottoms (or “turn-ups”) with a short break. Given that Ted Baker provided other trousers for the film, it’s possible that these too were made by Ted Baker.
Bond would later wear these same trousers while consulting with Mathis on the balcony of his Montenegro hotel room. Daniel Craig later posed for a series of promotional photos with Eva Green while wearing the same trousers.
Casino Royale reveals Bond’s preference for chukka boots, and he wears a pair of black calf John Lobb “Romsey” boots in this scene. They are plain-toe with two eyelets. His socks are also black. Typically, one tries to match socks to the trousers rather than the shoes, but that can be difficult with multi-colored Glen check trousers.
Though the original Romsey style as worn in Casino Royale is now out of production, John Lobb now manufactures the “Romsey II”, a similar looking ankle boot in kendal calf available in black, moss green, and dark brown. A pair can be yours for only $1,495. Only.
His watch is famously an Omega, notably the sporty Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Size” 2900.50.91 with a stainless steel case and large black rubber diver’s strap. It has a black dial under domed, anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and is water resistant down to 2,000 feet. He will later wear the more formal Omega Seamaster Professional Diver, but the Planet Ocean is fine for casual outfits like this.
As this scene takes place in the middle of summer (around July 8, I believe), it may be hard to imagine someone wearing a topcoat. However, this is London where July temperatures are typically around 65°F. Plus, Bond layers it casually with just a shirt and trousers rather than a suit or sweater. Thus, it’s very reasonable attire for a late night London summer.
I sported a brown-toned version of a similarly inspired outfit like this for Thanksgiving last year, consisting of a dark brown herringbone vintage topcoat, brown cotton/lycra Banana Republic long-sleeve polo, and dark brown and tan Glen check trousers.
Six years later in Skyfall, Bond and M find themselves in a similar situation, only now Bond has listened to M’s directive. Totally self-aware, he is no longer “dressing like a spy” and instead stands before her in a shabby-looking leather jacket, looking every bit the weary and cynical recluse rather than the once-swaggering hotshot spy that broke into her flat. Obviously, he didn’t heed her advice to “don’t ever break into my house again!”
Go Big or Go Home (or Go to M’s Home)
Rather than waiting to get admonished at the office, Bond goes straight to M’s place to face the music with a frank discussion about his future… and also some recon using her secure network. Upon her return, he’s quick to show that he believes he has the upper hand by revealing the knowledge of her name (Olivia Mansfield, according to some movie tie-in novels)…
Bond: I always thought M was a randomly assigned initial. I had no idea it stood for-
M: Utter one more syllable, and I’ll have you killed.
This scene sets a fine foundation for the Bond-M relationship that Daniel Craig and Judi Dench portray so beautifully. They bring out the best in each other’s acting chops, and the relationship is at its most dynamic during their three-film tenure.
As of Skyfall, we still haven’t received glimpses of Bond’s living situation beyond a few scenes in Dr. No and Live and Let Die that would surely be outdated by the 21st century. However, we get quite a nice look at M’s apartment with James Bond Lifestyle coming to the rescue with a few decorating tips to live like MI6’s savvy chief.
During their discussion, Bond and M sit on two of her three Knoll Barcelona chrome-framed designer chairs in “Spinneybeck leather”. The chairs have an appropriately retro look, dating back to a 1929 design by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that was bought by Knoll in the 1960s. According to Bond Lifestyle, a genuine Knoll Barcelona chair can go for at least $5,000 but Amazon has some examples at around a tenth of the price. (Source: James Bond Lifestyle)
Before M shows up, Bond makes himself at home in her Herman Miller Aeron office chair, an iconic and highly adjustable chair that has even been featured in MoMa. Bond Lifestyle tells us that M’s chair is a premium model with a graphite-framed polished aluminum base, gray black “tuxedo” weave seat and back, and a “V”-shaped PostureFit lumbar support kit. Evidently, prices range between $700 and $1,170 which is a steal compared to the Knoll Barcelona but a bit ridiculous considering you could buy a used ’98 Toyota for the same price. Certainly there must be cheaper ways of sitting in front of the computer. (Source: James Bond Lifestyle)
And speaking of computers… M falls victim to Sony’s ubiquity in the Bond franchise with her Sony VAIO TX-series laptop, kept at home with a green MI6 background and evidently poor password protection. Bond uses his Zio FoneMate SIM Card Manager CM-43000 to access Mollaka’s phone on her computer. (Source: James Bond Lifestyle)
For the more dignified bon vivant who eschews modern technology – or at least likes a good book – the eagle-eyed spotters at Bond Lifestyle noticed a hardcover copy of Burne-Jones: The Life and Works of Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) by Christopher Wood on M’s table. For anyone who doesn’t know (including me, before this post), Sir Edward Burne-Jones was a talented British artist and designer who helped rejuvenate the art of stained glass in England in addition to his multiple painting and crafting efforts. The cover of the book itself is a detail of his painting “Garden of Hesperides”. (Sources: James Bond Lifestyle and Wikipedia, as if I would’ve known any of that myself)
Of course, if you’re going in for coffee table books, a meta example – and one that I would actually read – would be Bond on Set: Filming Casino Royale, featuring a collection of rare and impressive on-set photography by Greg Williams. This book, available from Amazon, would also make a great Christmas gift, although one could say that of any book in the Bond on Set collection.
How to Get the Look
Bond settles comfortably into the image of the slick and stylish 21st century super spy when he breaks into M’s apartment. It’s a shame that this particular outfit didn’t receive more exposure in the movie.
- Black (with light blue barleycorn pattern) knee-length single-breasted Brioni topcoat with notch lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and single rear vent
- Black cashmere long-sleeve polo with 3-button placket
- Black and white Glen Urquhart check (with light blue plaid overcheck) flat front trousers with on-seam side pockets and turn-ups/cuffs, possibly from Ted Baker
- Black calf leather 2-eyelet John Lobb “Romsey” chukka boots
- Black dress socks
- Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Size” 2900.50.91 on a large black rubber strap
Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel this and many other 007 outfits.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the film.
So you want me to be half-monk, half-hitman.
Nice write-up on a great outfit that was seen all too briefly in the movie. And M’s name has been the topic of some discussion among some fans. In the Benson novels, she’s known as Barbara Mawdsley. Personally, I think Dame Judi Dench looks more like an Olivia Mansfield.
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