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James Bond is back — and he's dressing like a geography teacher

·3-min read
James Bond
James Bond

The latest trailer for No Time To Die, the long overdue James Bond epic, has ‘dropped’ and with it, something of a sartorial bombshell - Bond’s gone a bit ‘geography teacher on an orienteering weekend’.

Not really, of course, he still looks more pin sharp and powerful than 99.9% of the British male population, but the colour and fabric of the suit he dons in the trailer - which promises that the film will finally screen in October after lengthy delays due to the pandemic - is an interesting choice.

Not least because corduroy, and tan corduroy at that, is most commonly associated with 1970s lectures on coastal erosion, perhaps with a couple of elbow patches and a chewed-up biro thrown in. Is Bond trying out for his Duke of Edinburgh award?

James Bond
James Bond

The suit in question is by peerless Italian designer Massimo Alba, who specialises in soft-structure, easy but exceptionally-made suiting, and the material world apart from the chunky, rough-hewn corduroy we’re used to traditionally, especially in the UK.

Massimo Alba
Massimo Alba

Massimo Alba Sloop suit in corduroy, £775, Mr Porter

It’s reduced to micro-fine lines known as needlecord, which lend a soft texture rather than the usual grooved effect, and Bond's is paired with a neat chambray shirt with a button-down collar. It’s telling that No Time To Die’s costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb chose Alba; Bond hasn’t worn the brand before, but Daniel Craig has, so it’s likely he’s exerted some influence.

There are two reasons it works; first is location. Bond’s seen, amongst other places, causing his usual merry mayhem in the south Italian city of Matera, and the suit’s sandy colour complements the ancient backdrop. But Italian tailoring has always specialised in a kind of unstructured ease, particularly in lighter hues, so the choice is in fitting with the setting.

The other is that corduroy is generally more robust and hardwearing, which if you’re skidding through fruit stalls and leaping off bridges (it was a quiet morning that particular day) makes sense for a super spy.

The choice also chimes with a verve in contemporary men’s tailoring to loosen things up in terms of fabric and colour; both the tan tone and the corduroy are more informal. And it’s not the first time the sartorially-informed Mr Bond has opted for suits on the brown end of the spectrum; throughout the Eon firmament of films, historically tan and chocolate tones have often cropped up in his wardrobe.

Roger Moore
Roger Moore

Sean Connery in 1964’s Goldfinger wore a brown suit that was paid homage to in 2015’s Spectre, when the film’s costume designer Jany Temime chose a handsome Brunello Cucinelli suit for Daniel Craig, the brown tie even matching Connery’s.

From Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me wearing dark chestnut to Timothy Dalton in 1987's The Living Daylights in sandy tailoring (later echoed in a cream suit worn by Pierce Brosnan in 1999's The World Is Not Enough), Bond’s suiting line-up has always featured natural buff and spice shades.

And the great thing about his fawn-hued corduroy? After all that rough and tumble, a patch-up with a couple of elbow patches will look right at home. Just add a compass.

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