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TORONTO – If you notice Daniel Craig’s body-hugging suits getting tighter, you’re not alone.
Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming, who had Craig emerge from the sea in Casino Royale in skintight swimming trunks, says his form-fitting look in the Eon Production Skyfall suits the times.
“Now I really feel Bond has been brought into the modern era,” Hemming said while in Toronto to guest-curate the Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style exhibition at Bell Lightbox.
Not since an animalistic Stanley Kowalski wore that iconic T-shirt has the artful and well-planned use of fabric so conveyed to an audience pent-up sexual tension.
And not for fashion’s sake: Craig’s wardrobe serves character building in a rebooted Bond universe.
For Casino Royale, Hemming dressed a harder-edged Craig in suits from Brioni, the finest men’s tailor in Rome, for heart-pounding action sequences to show a new Bond used to hard-fought battle — not cloak-and-dagger paper passing.
And now the Tom Ford-tailored wardrobe for Craig, first with Quantum of Solace and now Skyfall, is outfitting Bond with a sartorial nod to the rugged man of action.
“I feel now, with Tom Ford, they’re now using the tailoring to make his (Craig’s) shape more mean, more tense,” Hemming, who won the Academy Award for costume design for Topsy-Turvy, observed.
“They’re making his clothes tighter, which is more fashionable. But in making him tighter… he looks like he’s being contained in his clothes,” she added.
That restrained ensemble look recalls a suave yet sexy Sean Connery in elegant slim-cut suits from London tailor Anthony Sinclair.
“That gives the audience a sense of the character bursting out,” Hemming said of suiting up 007, while the costume designer’s creativity is allowed to run riot costuming villains and Bond Girls.
And it illustrates how costumes conceived from sketch to screen are but one element of the distinctive design that has made the James Bond franchise so successful from 1962’s Dr. No to Skyfall.
Hemming, who worked on five Bond films over 11 years with Craig and Pierce Brosnan in the lead role, said the varied illustrations, costumes and set designs in the Designing 007 underscore how the best film craftsmen have been at work on the successful global franchise for 50 years.
The Toronto exhibition, which originated at the Barbican Center in London, includes the creativity of famed Bond set designer Ken Adam.
“He would no more let them put a carpet down that he hadn’t thought whether it would be right, or use a chair. He was really an architect,” Hemming said of Adams use of space, not least in building liars from which villains launched bids for world domination, like Blofeld’s SPECTRE headquarters in a volcano to Karl Stromberg’s underwater palazzo.
“The set design of the early Bond films would be the enormous contributor to why they were successful,” she added, spreading the credit.
With Bond 24 and 25 films already in the works, yet more grand designs are in store for fans of the fictional British spy.
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