Tuxedos, bikinis and vodka martinis are among hundreds of items on show in London to mark 50 years since James Bond made the jump from Ian Fleming’s novels to the silver screen.
The sets, costumes and gadgets are today considered equally as iconic as the man himself, and that’s what we hope to illuminate
More than 400 archive items from the Bond movies are on display at London’s Barbican Centre in Designing 007: 50 Years Of Bond Style, a celebration of the British spy’s evolving style.
From the black dinner jacket worn by Sean Connery in Dr No to a crystal-covered dress seen in the forthcoming Skyfall, the exhibition is a journey through the British spy’s glamorous world from 1962 to the present day.
Visitors are greeted by a life-size model of Sir Sean relaxing on the bumper of the Aston Martin DB5 he used in an Alpine car chase in 1964’s Goldfinger.
A walk down a red carpet, through the giant gun barrel that has become an instantly recognisable feature of the Bond title sequences, opens up a world of gadgets and glamour.
The deadly bowler hat used by Oddjob in Goldfinger and the weapon used by assassin Francisco Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun are on display while scenes from the films are projected on the walls.
“You will see dazzling film clips, sequences that illuminate iconic moments in James Bond films from the beginning – Dr No – all the way up to Quantum of Solace,” said curator Bronwyn Cosgrave.
“The sets, costumes and gadgets are today considered equally as iconic as the man himself, and that’s what we hope to illuminate.”
An array of sketches, storyboards and costumes show 50 years of changing style – but also the enduring themes that have made the films popular worldwide.
The “Bond girl” is naturally one of these – and the white bikini which catapulted Ursula Andress to fame in Dr No is showcased next to the orange two-piece worn by Halle Berry in Die Another Day, 40 years later.
“I think James Bond films have changed,” said curator and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming.
“They have become far more international. When they started, they were an English phenomenon that spread all over the world.”
A visit to the exhibition can be rounded off with a trip to the Martini Bar for one of Bond’s favourite cocktails – shaken not stirred.
After two months in London the show will embark on a three-year global tour, starting in Toronto later this year.