Brioni and a Disciple, Angelo Roma

Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni pinstripe suit in The World Is Not Enough

Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni three-piece suit in The World Is Not Enough

Brioni is very well-associated with making James Bond’s suits in the five films from GoldenEye to Casino Royale, tailoring both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig under supervision of costume designer Lindy Hemming. But years before Pierce Brosnan took over the James Bond role in 1995, Brioni’s style came to the Bond series in 1977 when Angelo Roma provided Roger Moore’s suits for The Spy Who Loved Me, and then again two years later in Moonraker. Angelo Vitucci, a former manager of Brioni Coutoure and Brioni model, started Angelo Roma. Angelo Roma is not to be confused with the more famous and adventurous Roman fashion house Angelo Litrico, You can read more about Angleo Vitucci’s time with Brioni in this article and this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Angelo Vitucci brought Brioni’s Roman silhouette to his own suits. The Roman silhouette is based closely on the English military and equestrian cut popularised by tailors like H. Huntsman, Henry Poole and Dege & Skinner, and it is defined by powerful, straight and padded shoulders, often with roped sleeveheads, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. Though the style of Roger Moore’s suits in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker is eclipsed by wide lapels and flared trouser legs, the cut of the suit jacket is classic and not far removed from classic examples of Brioni’s tailoring. In the image below on the right, I’ve narrowed Moore’s lapels to a balanced width—as well as narrowed the tie and shortened and widened the collar—to demonstrate what a classic cut the suit has. Compare it to the original suit on the left below.

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Roger Moore wearing a grey dupioni silk suit Angelo Roma suit in Moonraker

The suit in the altered image essentially has the same look as a classic Brioni suit. If the gorge (the seam where the collar meets the lapels) wasn’t so curved, it almost looks like it could be from Savile Row! English tailors typically cut their gorges straighter than the Italians, though some Italians also cut their gorges very straight. It’s amazing what a difference just the width of the lapels makes to the perception of the chest size and shoulder width. The balanced lapel width gives Moore a more masculine chest without making him look barrel-chested like in his suits in The Saint do. Angelo Vitucci is quoted in a 1954 article in the Panama City News-Herald about Brioni tailoring:

“‘Mainly,’ comments Signor Vitucci, ‘our suits are designed to camouflage figure faults, like bow legs or other unfortunate handicaps.’ No cuffs on Brioni’s trousers. It’s not a matter of saving cloth but saving appearance. Uncuffed trousers, explains Angelo, give a clean, uncluttered look and are more hygienic besides, since they do not catch dust.”

Brioni appears to have changed their mind about trouser turn-ups when they made Pierce Brosnan’s trousers. Though James Bond’s relationship with Italian tailoring started with a disciple of Brioni, Brioni finally came to the James Bond series sixteen years after Moonraker in GoldenEye.

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Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal windowpane Brioni suit in GoldenEye

The excellent book Dressed to Kill: James Bond, The Suited Hero names Checchino Fonticoli as Brioni’s master tailor who fits Pierce Brosnan in his suits for GoldenEye. He was capable of altering Brioni’s house style to make just the right look for James Bond in the 1990s. Lindy Hemming’s is quoted in the book saying, “I wanted a company which was capable of tailoring in the Savile Row manner”. Brioni’s Roman style is certainly reminiscent of military Savile Row tailoring as I mentioned above, though, as stated in the book, Hemming also wanted the suits to look current just as Anthony Sinclair’s suit did in the 1960’s:

“We discussed style and proportion and came up with a very modern jacket shape; although classic, it is slightly longer and looks good with three buttons as well as two. I also wanted to incorporate traditional details such as ticket pockets which would suggest that the clothing might have come from Savile Row.”

Whilst Savile Row tailors, especially those in the military tradition, would probably not make their suit jackets as loose as Pierce Brosnan’s were in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, Hemming’s choice of Brioni was more for their ability to produce a large number of suits quickly than it was for their Italian style. As well as ticket pockets, Brosnan’s Brioni suits mostly have double vents and slanted pockets to carry on the illusion of an English suit. Hemming is also quoted in Dressed to Kill saying, “This man [Bond] must look immaculate, not strange or foppish or too fashionable.”

At the time, Brosnan’s suits could have been more fashionable if the trousers had triple pleats (like the trousers with his navy blazer in GoldenEye) or quadruple pleats instead of classic double pleats. But Lindy Hemming failed in not making Brosnan’s suits too fashionable since they have very full cut in his first two Bond films. The tight-fitting suit trend now as Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall makes the loose cut of Brosnan’s suit jackets even more apparent.

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Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal flannel Brioni suit in Tomorrow Never Dies

Though Daniel Craig’s Brioni suits are cut trimmer like an English suit, they lack the English details that costume designer Lindy Hemming put on Brosnan’s suits, like the ticket pockets, slanted pockets and, usually, double vents. Craig’s Brioni suits have straight pockets and, on all but one, single vents, which are still classic styles and ultimately have no bearing on a suit’s style. Whilst Brosnan’s Brioni suits are characterised by their long, loose cut and low button stance, Craig’s Brioni suits have a trimmer cut and classic button stance like Moore’s Angelo suits, and a very high gorge. It’s difficult to draw direct comparisons between Moore’s, Brosnan’s and Craig’s Italian suits since they all reflect their contemporary fashions, but they all are tied together with the straight, padded shoulders and clean chest that define the Roman tailoring that Brioni made popular.

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Daniel Craig wears a charcoal blue Brioni suit in Casino Royale

Black Swimming Trunks

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Very little of Daniel Craig’s black swimming trunks in Casino Royale are seen. These trunks have a drawstring waistband, a thick white stripe on either side of the hips and a dark burgundy piece that curves from the bottom of the leg up to the waistband and over the seat, leaving a black semicircle at the bottom of the legs and seat. Like the light blue swimming trunks that Daniel Craig wears earlier in Casino Royale, the black trunks have a low rise, very short inseam and an overall tight fit that accentuates Daniel Craig’s “perfectly-formed arse”. Unlike the Skyfall swimming trunks, these have a long enough rise so that Craig doesn’t show buttock cleavage when he sits down. The maker of these trunks is unknown, and they were not made by La Perla like the light blue trunks earlier in the film.

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Recovery

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James Bond recovers from Le Chiffre’s torture in Casino Royale wearing comfortable, loose clothing. The first outfit consists of a dressing gown over a jumper and t-shirt. The dressing gown is made of woven cotton in navy with a white grid check, and it has a shawl collar and a patch breast pocket. It probably has a belt and patch pockets on the hips, but we don’t see them since Bond is covered in a white towel below the waist. The light grey ribbed wool V-neck jumper has a full fit. Under the jumper, Bond wears a black crew-neck t-shirt.

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Bond later recovers in a light blue cotton dressing gown. This gown has collar but Bond doesn’t fold it over. Under this dressing gown Bond wears a dark grey crew-neck t-shirt and navy sweatpants. His shoes are brown trainers.

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As Bond’s recovery progresses he wears another outfit made up of parts of the previous two outfits. He again wears the light grey V-neck jumper from the first recovery outfit with the navy sweatpants from the second recovery outfit. Under the jumper he wears a white t-shirt, and white underwear peaks out above the trousers. His shoes are white trainers. The clothes in these three outfits are all worn for comfort and not style. One could say the jumper is too baggy or that James Bond should never wear sweatpants, but Bond is appropriately dressed for his situation, and he doesn’t look so bad either.

Le Chiffre’s Velvet Dinner Jacket

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Although there was an attempt to make Mads Mikklesen’s Le Chiffre in Casino Royale a less flamboyant villain, at the poker table he wears a flashy black velvet dinner jacket with a black shirt. Costume designer Lindy Hemming describes Le Chiffre and his dinner jacket in Casino Royale‘s production notes: “Le Chiffre is a menacing man who lives in a twilight world. He’s not flashy, he’s secretive. He isn’t a man who is much interested in clothes, but what he wears is expensive and luxurious. His Brioni evening suit is velvet, to emphasize richness.” The all-black outfit, nevertheless, is something that identifies him as a villain. The button two dinner jacket has black grosgrain silk facings on the peaked lapels, breast pocket welt, hip pocket jettings and buttons. The jacket has four buttons on the cuffs, and Le Chiffre leaves the last one open. Beyond the velvet cloth, the dinner jacket breaks from tradition with a second button on the front, pocket flaps and a single vent.

Le-Chiffre-Velvet-Dinner-Jacket-2The button four waistcoat matches the black velvet dinner jacket, with the back in a black silk lining. Though proper black tie waistcoats have either three or four buttons, the buttons should be spaced close together and not further apart as they would on a button five or button six daytime waistcoat. The buttons on Le Chiffre’s waistcoat are spaced apart like on a daytime waistcoat, and as one would on a daytime waistcoat Le Chiffre leaves the bottom button open. On the traditional low-cut black tie waistcoat all of the buttons should be fastened. Even though Le Chiffre’s waistcoat is poorly done, four buttons are better than the all-too-common five or six buttons that people often wear today.

Le-Chiffre-Velvet-Dinner-Jacket-3The wool trousers contrast the dinner jacket in texture, if not in colour as well. The trousers look dark grey in some shots and photos, but they are probably black. Velvet reflects far less light than other fabrics do, so comparing different black materials can be difficult. Le Chiffre wears the trousers with braces. The black dress shirt from Turnbull & Asser has a spread collar, double cuffs, a pleated front and a fly placket that hides the buttons. He wears a black bow tie and black calf derby shoes.

Le-Chiffre-Velvet-Dinner-Jacket-4Le Chiffre also has a black overcoat, but we only see him carrying it and not wearing it. He also has a grey scarf with crosswise stripes, and it’s most likely cashmere.

Le Chiffre’s black tie outfit sold for £20,000 at Christie’s in South Kensington at “50 Years of James Bond: The Auction”, which took place from 28 September 2012 to 8 October 2012.

Navy Herringbone Raincoat

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Yesterday was Daniel Craig’s 46th birthday, and in honour of that and spring approaching we take a look at his elegant navy raincoat in Casino Royale that he wears over his charcoal blue plaid suit. The raincoat is made in herringbone cotton and has set-in sleeves. The lapels can fold over and button at the top, and the coat has four buttons down the front, including the button at the top of the lapels. The coat has lapped seams, edges stitched 3/8″ from the edge and a relatively short centre vent. Daniel Craig wears the coat open and lets the belt hang in the back.

Navy-Herringbone-Raincoat-2The raincoat has straight hip pockets with flaps and a slanted breast pocket with a flap. It’s not unusual, but it’s also not common, for outer coats to have flapped breast pockets. It’s certainly more unusual for suits and sports coats to have flapped breast pockets, though Roger Moore wears suits with flapped breast pockets in The Saint, The Persuaders and Moonraker, and a sports coat with a flapped breast pocket in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Introducing Daniel Craig

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Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond in Casino Royale at a lavish press conference on 14 October 2005, which was coincidentally Roger Moore’s 78th birthday. For this event Daniel Craig wore a Brioni suit, which at the time was a well-recognised part of James Bond’s image. Though his suit was reported by People to be “charcoal grey,” the suit looks more like charcoal blue, if not navy. The colour, whatever it actually is, was the right choice. Blue is Daniel Craig’s best colour and is the classic Bond colour as well, at far as Fleming is concerned. The suit has a button two jacket cut with Brioni’s usual straight, padded shoulders and roped sleeveheads, and it has medium-width lapels, flapped pockets and double vents. The trousers have a flat front and a slight taper to the leg with a plain hem. This suit is as evenly balanced as a suit can be and will never look outdated. It’s most likely a ready-to-wear suit, judging by the less than perfect fit. Whilst there aren’t any significant fit problems, the jacket could use a little more shaping.

Craig’s sky blue shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. His red tie has a pattern of fancy yellow and purple spots, and it is tied in a four-in-hand knot. With the suit he wears a black belt and black derby shoes. Since Daniel Craig and Casino Royale were on their way to taking James Bond back to his roots, this rather unremarkable outfit looks appropriately less luxurious than Brosnan’s Brioni suits that came before. The first-rate quality, however, is still present. These clothes don’t draw attention to themselves, good or bad, but at the same time Bond’s clothing should be a little more interesting. And indeed a little more interesting the clothing was in Casino Royale.

Felix Leiter: The Dinner Suit

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The one man at the poker table in Casino Royale who is arguably more elegantly dressed than James Bond is Felix Leiter. Jeffrey Wright plays the latest Felix Leiter in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Like everyone else at the poker table, Leiter is wearing Brioni. His black dinner suit goes a step further than Bond’s in formality and adds a waistcoat, making it more traditionally correct black tie. The dinner jacket is cut with Brioni’s straight shoulders and is a traditional button one with a shawl collar. The shawl collar’s satin silk facings stop a quarter inch from the edge, an old-fashioned detail from tailcoats that at the same time looks very modern. The dinner jacket also has four buttons on the cuffs, jetted pockets and no vent. The buttons are covered.

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The waistcoat is made in the same black wool that the rest of the dinner suit is made in. It is low cut with a U-shaped front, which harmonises very well with the jacket’s shawl collar. The waistcoat is barely visible when the jacket is buttoned, which is the way it should be for black tie. The waistcoat does not have lapels. Like Bond, Felix Leiter removes his dinner jacket at the poker table. It’s an ungentlemanly practice, but at least Leiter looks more dressed with his waistcoat.

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Leiter wears two dress shirts with his dinner suit during the film. Both dress shirts have a spread collar, double cuffs and onyx studs. The first shirt has a narrow-pleated front that takes three studs—with the first starting a distractingly too high—and the second shirt has a marcella bib that takes two studs. The placket on the pleated shirt is stitched on the edge and then stitched on the other side and extended to form the first pleat. Though the placket is stitched on the edge, the collar has regular 1/4″ stitching. The black satin bow tie matches the dinner suit’s facings. It’s a little undersized, but it suits Leiter very well.

If the dress code for the poker game is specified as black tie, Leiter follows it perfectly and is thus dressed better than Bond is. However, the lack of a waistcoat or cummerbund has now become acceptable in black tie—we can partially thank James Bond for that—and that makes Bond and Leiter equals as the best-dressed in the poker game.

Cardigan in Venice

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Daniel Craig wears two different black cardigans in Casino Royale, but right now we’re just going to look at the second appearance of the second cardigan in the film. This is a black wool cardigan with four buttons on the front. It has a ribbed shawl collar that continues down the front into a sort of placket. The cuffs and hem are ribbed and elasticised. Under the cardigan, Craig wears white V-neck T-shirt and beige cotton trousers. Overall it’s a great casual outfit for a nice day when there’s a pleasant cool breeze. Craig takes this outfit up a notch in Quantum of Solace when he replaces the white t-shirt with a more refined white dress shirt.

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