By the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever. You actually think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is that you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it.
Article by Eisuke – Inspired by Bond.
This iconic scene in the 2006 iteration of “Casino Royale” marks the first time we see Daniel Craig’s Bond in what we expect the character to be in – a suit and tie. Though we don’t see him in full, it’s a refreshing change from the rugged casual looks and rumpled linen suits we see on him until this point.
It’s also a rare moment where the character’s clothes are observed through another character’s eye in the franchise. Starting off with the Leiter – Bond exchange in Dr. No, Bond’s clothes have always been an imperative part of what formed the character, though Bond himself would rarely ever talk about his own clothes at all. This is why the moment Vesper acknowledged Bond’s Brioni, it was almost forth-wall breaking – bringing Bond back to his roots by materialising the clothes and giving them a purpose in the story, and not letting them blend into the aesthetic.
Learn more about the style of James Bond in the book From Tailors With Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films, available on Amazon.
Making it work
As I briefly discussed in the Brioni Train Shirt article, this is not one of the usual minimalistic suit and tie looks we’re used to seeing on Bond. It’s a relatively forceful combination of stripes, stripes, and motifs. Observing the film’s wardrobe, many of the items are relatively inadvertent combinations of unique items – ‘80s cop style short sleeve shirts with wrinkled linen suits. Short sleeve polos with topcoats. A rugged leather flight jacket with dressy John Lobb boots. And of course, that Sunspel polo is also paired with a pair of wide chinos.
Something is constantly “off,” but Daniel Craig’s high-spirited, hot-blood portrayal of a rookie James Bond almost forcefully makes it work.
And this look, while changing from the casual theme, is no exception. There’s a lot going on in one look, almost opposite to those razor-sharp, minimal looks that Sean Connery established as the Bond style we have known for a while.
Angelo Petrucci, Brioni’s master tailor and supervisor for Brosnan’s tailored wardrobe comments on Craig’s style as follows:
“For Craig’s Bond, we took away the British gentleman from Brosnan’s look almost entirely and went for an international look. We expanded Europe for him, in the purpose to completely recreate the Bond look with an even more modern approach.”
Upon observing the look in closer detail, this comment makes even more sense. Pierce Brosnan’s Bond took inspiration from Connery, evoking a classic British gentleman who is always beautifully turned out. Craig, on the other hand, has an elegant yet anonymous identity with his suits that don’t necessarily label him as a Brit. Well, in this case, they did, but… It would be no wonder if someone couldn’t tell if it was a striped suit, just because the beads that form the stripe are so subtle in colour and scale.
When we were choosing the fabric for this suit, that was a top priority – it had to be something that barely stood out and would appear as a solid. Matt Spaiser of Bond Suits describes the colour of the stripe as “grey,” which is extremely hard to tell on a deep navy background, but the moment we encountered this fabric, we noticed Matt was right as always.
This (above) was a lightweight, 240g fabric in their “Il Guardaroba Excellence” bunch, a 100% Super 180s superfine wool. The hue of the navy was dark enough to justify the film’s colour, to appear almost a midnight blue under the train’s lighting. Striped suitings can be difficult to choose, especially since a swatch could give a very different impression of how the suit would turn out.
One concern was the spacing of the stripes, which, according to this publicity still (below) seems very closely spaced. Matt describes the width as half an inch, so it would have to be a narrow stripe. We selected a number of fabrics especially focusing on this spacing.
As much as my enthusiasm, I was ignorant in the field of striped suitings, so I went scrummaging on Matt’s blog to learn more about the different variations and what made each stripe what they were called. Matt’s article helped me out a lot in the research procedure upon giving advice to Raccoon. Looking at the fabric in detail, the twill weave in the background is evident. The stripe, which was definitely grey, not white, looked like a vertical row of beads that formed a stripe.
The twill was definitely breaking up this stripe, as the weave was almost obscuring the colouring on the single yarn the beads were.
This justified the reason why Matt described the suit’s stripe as “a stripe that’s hardly seen.” We borrowed the swatch and placed it close to a mannequin wearing a navy suit. This was to give us a clearer impression of the fabric as a suit, and just to give us a brief image of how the spacing of the stripes appeared against an actual lapel.
Close enough, for comfort
And, it was bang on! The number of stripes on Craig’s lapel was almost a perfect match as we saw here, and just through taking this photo alone, the stripes were fading into the LED. The satisfaction levels were second to none since we found a spot-on match for an unorthodox fabric.
In addition, this was not something seasonal, but instead, a fabric that has been in Brioni’s permanent line. They couldn’t confirm the exact fabric code, but there was enough possibility that this fabric was an exact match since it had been around for decades.
Now that we had a solid starting point, on came the cut. Unlike the grandiose of the AUGUSTO jacket, the Brosnan classic (not his Hong Kong variant), the jacket was revealed by Brioni as a model based on the CHIGI silhouette. Now I say a model “based” on the CHIGI, because there are a number of other models named differently that are essentially the same, but have different names because of slight differences in design features.
For example, if it had peaked lapels instead of notched lapels, it would be called something else. The CHIGI was their newest, most up-to-date cut during production, and the look was most certainly different from what Brosnan wore as Bond. It’s more fashion-forward and representative of the times.
Brioni describes the CHIGI model as following:
“The CHIGI model features a regular fitting, a notched lapel, and classic narrow shoulders with a high waist line.”
Compared to the Augusto jacket, the CHIGI’s extremely high gorge that almost sits on Craig’s shoulders is especially eye-drawing. By placing the gorge higher, which is where the collar and lapel meet, your eyes are taken upwards, giving the wearer a taller impression. Corresponding with this high gorge, the button position is placed higher than the AUGUSTO, which gives the impression of a longer leg as the button position is essentially eyeballing the waist position from outside. The shorter skirt length accentuates the leggier look.
The jacket’s overall impression remains masculine with slightly wider, more powerful shoulders than the AUGUSTO, and a higher waist definition that is much more taken in than the AUGUSTO. The chest is cut with an equal amount of drape, which makes up for the emphasis on the chest that a lower gorge would have given the wearer.
The effect is almost as if the wearer’s broad chest is pulling the jacket up, which is a look that explodes in popularity approximately 5 years later around the time of Skyfall. Borrowing Lindy Hemming’s words, “Craig’s tailoring pulls him in, while Brosnan’s tailoring sits gently on a lean, tall body.”
As we know, Craig is shorter than Brosnan but is no less of a James Bond. The suit still needed to flatter him and make up for the difference as much as possible while emphasising his strengths. Looking at how the CHIGI model works on Craig, it’s a pure textbook approach to complement a shorter man.
It’s the ideal cut for a shorter, muscular gentleman. Above were the visual effects, and now we enter the actual feel of the CHIGI jacket.
While the model description describes the CHIGI as a “regular fit,” he was surprised at how close the fit was against his shoulders upon wearing the baste model. The shoulder structure was so much stronger, and the armholes were cut so much closer than the AUGUSTO that he recalls the fit as “even more armour-like than Tom Ford.” Just look at these tiny armholes!
A Brioni clerk from another store in Japan also recalled back to when this model was their newest, and instantly remembered the name as soon as I mentioned it. “Ooh, the CHIGI! Is it the one with the really tight arms?” We wanted to keep the aesthetic of the model, but he still wanted it to be a comfortable bespoke garment, so Raccoon had these parts let out slightly on his second fitting.
As for the buttons, we were expecting the suit to have Brioni’s usual matching corozo buttons, so we weren’t too vocal about it. However, there was a slight surprise for us. Following from the “even more international businessman” aesthetic, the buttons used for Craig’s suits were actually horn buttons. Again barely any of these buttons are seen on screen, though if the archives state so, it was a pleasant switch from the corozo used for Brosnan.
For part 2, we’ll be focusing on the details of the cut as well as the details that form the actual suit. Stay tuned!