|Sean Connery's first appearance as James Bond, in Anthony Sinclair eveningwear.|
When filmgoers saw James Bond for the first time, 50 years ago, it was not his face that first appeared, but the silk, turn-back cuffs of his midnight-blue, Anthony Sinclair evening suit as he dealt the cards in a game of chemin-de-fer at Le Cercle room of Les Ambassadeurs Club in Mayfair.
The audience was held in further anticipation as the camera shot a reverse angle of 007, face still hidden, but finely tailored, satin shawl-collar in clear display.
Finally, the leading man is seen in full view when he, and his glamorous rival for the spoils of the card game, reveal their identities during the following dialogue:
James Bond: "I admire your courage, Miss (pause) er?"
Sylvia Trench: "Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr?"
James Bond: "Bond" (pause) "James Bond" (theme music plays)
As he speaks, Bond nonchalantly lights the cigarette drooping from the corner of his mouth; his dark eyes remain fixed upon his opponent as she writes a cheque for his winnings. He has taken her money and is soon to take her honour. He is handsome, sophisticated, cool and ruthless. This is a man who means business ... and pleasure.
This scene created the blueprint for a cinematic character that has endured five decades with six different actors playing the role, along with the changing tastes and style demanded by cinema audiences. What remains unchanged is the manner in which he introduces himself as, "Bond, James Bond", and, of course, his definitive look in beautifully tailored eveningwear.
When my eldest son was a very young boy he saw me dressing for a black-tie event. As I fastened the bow around my neck and slipped on the dinner jacket he said, "Daddy, you look like James Bond". "Son", I replied, "I feel like James Bond". That evening, I WAS James Bond (in my head) and my son continued to receive even greater favour from his loving father.
I wonder how many men, when dressed in formal attire, have caught a glimpse of their reflection in a mirror and thought to themselves, "Hmmm ... he reminds me of someone", and the Bond music starts to play in their minds. I assume it is a great many; particularly those who have had their evening suits made by Anthony Sinclair.
To help celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the Bond films, the Barbican in London is hosting an exhibition entitled, "Fifty Years of Bond Style". However, most of the clothes made for the first actor, Sean Connery, have long disappeared, and so EON, the film's producers, have approached Anthony Sinclair to request faithful reproductions of some of the original pieces, including the famous midnight-blue evening suit.
We will be chronicling the remake of Sinclair's masterpiece on this blog over the coming weeks, as we prepare it for unveiling at the exhibition which opens on the 6th of July.
More details: http://www.barbican.org.uk/bond/