Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, British government agent
London to Hamburg, April 1997
Film: Tomorrow Never Dies
Release Date: December 6, 1997
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
Who else but the Irish actor Pierce Brosnan would be best to feature on the 00-7th o’ March?
Following a thrilling pre-credits sequence, James Bond gets in some much needed R&R in the arms of a beautiful Danish language tutor when duty calls… in the form of Miss Moneypenny. Bond begrudgingly departs his cunning linguistics session (yes, I know) when MI6 summons him for an urgent briefing and sends him off to a springtime mission in Germany.
The scene is quintessential Bond: an elegant suit, a snazzy new car, a useful gadget… and enough product placement to guarantee the future of the series.What’d He Wear?
In his comprehensive must-read post about this suit at The Suits of James Bond, Matt Spaiser notes that this was Lindy Hemming’s second consecutive film placing Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond in a navy birdseye worsted Brioni suit as he had previously worn a different one during the action-packed tank chase in GoldenEye. Both suits were made with three pieces, although Brosnan actually wears the waistcoat here in Tomorrow Never Dies after having forgone it for the prior film.
The features of Bond’s navy suit in Tomorrow Never Dies are best spied when he is in London receiving his briefing. The single-breasted suit jacket is cut like his others, with notch lapels that roll to a three-button front, double vents, and flapped hip pockets that gently slant toward the back. Gone are the colorful blue pocket squares of GoldenEye; Brosnan keeps his welted breast pocket free of adornment.
Bond’s five-button waistcoat is worn correctly with the bottom button undone over the notched bottom. The trousers also are likely styled like his other Brioni suits in Tomorrow Never Dies with belt loops, side pockets, double reverse pleats, and turn-ups (cuffs) on the bottoms.
Brosnan wears a light cream cotton shirt from Turnbull & Asser with a semi-spread collar, front placket, and double (French) cuffs likely fastened with a pair of Dunhill links similar to the silver-and-gold ovals he would wear later with his gray suit, featured on James Bond Lifestyle. His copper brown woven silk tie is also from Turnbull & Asser, with the cross-weave creating a small pattern of raised navy squares.
The Brosnan era included its fair share of louder ties than one may associate with Ian Fleming’s civil servant of the novels, but this understated tie – though again not a traditional color for 007 – is one of my favorites of Pierce’s tenure. It was included with the shirt at a Bonhams auction in June 2009, with the bundle selling for £1,320.
The pièce de résistance of Bond’s ensemble is his tobacco brown cashmere double-breasted overcoat, also a Brioni item, that he wears upon arrival in Hamburg. The knee-length coat has a six-button double-breasted front (with two to close), though Brosnan wears it open throughout the sequence. The flapped hip pockets sit straight on an axis above the lowest row of buttons, and there is a long single vent in the back. The addition of a belt in the back would bring this closer to the style of a “guards coat”, which attentive readers would recall Brosnan wearing in navy cashmere during Die Another Day.
The peak lapels direct the eye toward the wide, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, creating an effect reminiscent of the “golden age of menswear” in the 1930s and 1940s.
The outfit and coat provide an interesting contrast to a similar scene decades earlier in Live and Let Die as Roger Moore’s Bond arrived in New York City, clad in a navy suit and double-breasted Chesterfield coat. As it does here, Sir Roger’s overcoat matched the ground color of his tie, but Moore’s traditional navy coat and tie created a more understated presence than the flashier elegance of Brosnan’s coordinating copper tones.
Of course, elegant outerwear was a signature of Brosnan’s characterization, who distinguished himself from his predecessors as the first 007 to wear an overcoat with at least one lounge suit in each of his Bond films… apart from single-shot Lazenby, of course.
Less is seen of Bond’s footwear in this scene, but he is clearly wearing black leather oxfords, and they’re most likely the same Church’s cap-toe oxford brogues that he would wear the following day with his gray suit. His socks also appear to be black.
Pierce Brosnan was the first James Bond to wear an Omega on screen with his quartz Seamaster dive watch in GoldenEye. Two years later, Brosnan upgraded 007’s preferred timepiece to an automatic movement with the Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer 2531.80.00 in Tomorrow Never Dies, and he would wear this through the rest of his tenure, as you can read at James Bond Lifestyle.
This stainless Seamaster has a blue dial and blue 12-sided unidirectional rotating bezel used to calculate diving time, and it is worn on a stainless link bracelet.
The next day would find Bond in yet another stylish Brioni business suit, this time a gray worsted two-piece worn with a light blue shirt and somewhat busier Turnbull & Asser jacquard woven silk tie that the company still markets more than 10 years after the film hit theaters. The scene also provides viewers with much more of an action sequence for Bond’s newly issued (and – spoiler alert! – short-lived) BMW sedan, a rather entertaining showcase of Chekhov’s cell phone at work.
Go Big or Go Home
As I mentioned earlier, we get plenty of product placement in the way of 007’s new toys. Of course, this also gives us plenty of opportunity for Pierce Brosnan and Desmond Llewelyn to demonstrate their legendary comedic chemistry as Q issues Bond his new Ericsson “JB988” cell phone…
Q: Let’s get on with it, shall we? Your new telephone: talk here, listen here.
Bond: So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all these years…
And, of course, his new BMW 750iL sedan…
Q: It’s the insurance damage waiver for your beautiful new car. Now, will you need collision coverage?
Q: Property destruction?
Q: Personal Injury?
Bond: I hope not, but accidents do happen.
Q: They frequently do with you.
Bond: Well, that takes care of the normal wear-and-tear. Is there any other protection I need?
Q: Only from me 007, unless you bring that car back in pristine order.
…courtesy of Avis.
How to Get the Look
As the ’90s progressed, James Bond shunned the informality that was permeating accepted menswear, and he lands in Hamburg wearing no less than a tailored three-piece suit, cashmere overcoat, silk tie, designer cuff links, and luxury sport watch… all from legacy European brands.
- Navy birdseye worsted wool Brioni suit:
- Single-breasted 3-button jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and double vents
- Single-breasted 5-button waistcoat/vest with welted hip pockets
- Double reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Cream cotton Turnbull & Asser dress shirt with semi-spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
- Copper brown woven silk Turnbull & Asser tie with raised navy box pattern
- Silver oval-shaped Dunhill cuff links with gold center
- Black leather belt with rounded gold single-prong buckle
- Black leather Church’s 5-eyelet cap-toe oxford brogues
- Black dress socks
- Tobacco brown cashmere Brioni double-breasted overcoat with peak lapels, 6×2-button front, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and single back vent
- Omega Seamaster Professional 2531.80.00 Chronometer with blue dial and bezel, stainless case, and stainless bracelet
Church’s is a pricier brand, so gents looking to test drive a pair of black cap-toe oxford brogues for themselves à la 007 can try this well-reviewed pair from Kenneth Cole Reaction for up to $165 (as of March 2018). Want to compare it to Church’s? Check out this $650 pair of Church’s Toronto six-eyelet cap-toe oxford brogues, available via MR PORTER.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie, and do consider Avis for all your rental ne- oop, sorry, the product placement got to me too!
I think we understand each other.