James Bond has been declared being the 3rd greatest film hero and 5th greatest movie character of all times, and that since Dr. No one quarter of the entire world population has seen at least one Bond movie!
The 1960’s represent a historical revolution for the western women in society and fashion accordingly. The image of the groomed woman of the 1950’s after the dull war with its much designed shapes vanishes to become more flat and more geometric. With the arriving contraceptive pill a wind of freedom and youth sweeps through the wardrobe. We most probably will never see again such impact on fashion trends due to social-cultural changes. It rimes with progress and female affirmation, indeed a revolution on its own. Besides, increasing industrialization and flourishing economy, all routes were open for women to become audacious and take their independence and earn their own money with result that consume society was born. Consequently, the guiding Haute Couture in Paris had to compete with the new prêt-à-porter, ready-to-wear industry allowing multiple trends of fashion and contra-fashion trends. Clothing for the woman became more practical, trousers became popular and even jeans for women, skirts became shorter, London protagonist in fashion made the Miniskirt popular with stockings, Courrèges and Pierre Cardin had their time of glory, the voluptuously breasted woman lost her place in favor of androgyny type of woman Twiggy. The monokini made its apparition while the bikini remained reserved for actresses and “pin-up-girls”. Meanwhile Brigitte Bardot became the icon of the liberation inspiring a fashion more sexy supporting the feminine beauty and their curves.
And it was then during this time, in 1962 that the first James Bond 007 came out with immediate success. Men saw themselves in what they dreamt to be with the women of their dreams in all their exuberant sensuality and enjoyed to identify themselves with Sean Connory. As conservative as they in the real life of professional environment had to be, so he was in its physical appearance and yet in the scenes where he wore casual clothes he was dressed elegantly but seductively in not loose but for example tight-fitted Polo shirt and tight bathing shorts.
Meanwhile the women, seduced by Connery’s sex appeal could not resist wanting to identify themselves with all those stunningly beautiful Bond Girls. They discovered their own femininity and sensuality in every scene and adored them due to the fact that they were given the permission of being powerful and were respected and loved at the same time. Like for the men, they were dressed in classic clothes, the way they were expected to be dressed by their husband and at work and the new fashion trend was translated in a way to dress that still rendered them feminine, even in the bedroom scenes where love-making was now shown openly, where for example Ursula Anderson was dressed in a men’s pyjama.
Audacity is without doubt the best word to describe the fashion of the 1970’s for women as for men now as well. Large stripes, superposition, sequences, associations of all colours, tight-fitting trousers “elephant” legs even for men, the 1970’s were synonymous for all extremes. The hippies of the previous decade who only slowly disappeared in the mid 70’s, the punks, the disco fans after “Saturday Night Fever” with John Travolta and all ethnic cultures expressed themselves as through their music as through the way they dressed. The liberation of the woman started in the 60’s had become so prominent that it definitely influenced 70’s fashion trends. Fashion in all areas became unisex clothing and hairstyle. Men let their hair grow to mid-length, women wore adapted the mid-length “Bob” style to be similar, open and very short or very long. Trousers definitely unisex with denim jeans number one, followed by the super short and tight “Hotpants”, skirts were worn from mini to midi to maxi length. Economy in Europe was good; it was the golden age of the prêt-à-porter with young designers. The cause of America having helped Europe back onto their feet after the war America was number one in all cultural and artistic fields, adored and supported. Combat and military clothing were worn with all over peace signs and inscription “make love but no war”.
With America seen as the world power, the cold war with Russia, no doubt James Bond continued to be the non-plus-ultra box-office-hit. With one new movie practically every year, it was certain that under such circumstances the success would continue, yet producers decided it was time for some change, to opt for a younger James Bond in the character and it was time that the Bond Girls should be casted more intelligent, more affirmed due to the female revolution. Even though Diana Riggs might have won her image George Lazenby failed in sex appeal and acting and Sean Connery was chosen again for another movie with Jill Jones as lead Bond Girl, then very handsome young Roger Moore entered the scene and with him the era of the Puppy Barbie’s ceded for the more intelligent and affirmed type of women and younger women.
James Bond as character remained authentic, the “Gala”-outfit always the same except that in “Live and let die” her wore a ruffled shirt and could because fashion then would allow it, for the rest he was costumed in the same principle way identifiable to the previous James Bond to remain as the same character. His suits were changed to the cut in classic fashion with trouser length wider but never obvious and remaining stylishly elegant, colours and their combination combinations faithful to famous character of the original James Bond. He could adapt the popular lumber jacket of the time but mainly found his own personal style in the turtle neck pullover which suited him extremely well and therefore, as much as Sean Connery’s bathing short have become a fashion hit, the turtle neck for men became just as successful in fashion and having lasted ever since.
The Bond Girls because of the new generation more and more lost the previously more conventional sexy style just as hair and make-up, all in all their sexiness still powerful but gaining more digression. For example Britt Eckland in “ The man with the golden gun” was driving a shirtdress in her car and very sexy still and in her casual outfit we see her in a masculine jacket and the very fashionable crochet hat, not outspokenly sexy but very attractive still. I believe that due this and to the fact that James Bond was younger and lead girls being younger his fame was assured and he lasted very well for the time where he was perfect for the fashion trend in l’air du temps.
The 1980’s, another decade with a socio-cultural environment perfectly assorted for James Bond: the era of as the French say “fric et de la frime” - “show your money honey”. High in colour the wardrobe is distancing itself from the behaved style moving towards deconstruction, eccentric and even provocative styles, meanwhile showing a new tendency towards being more unique and mixed race becomes in fashion with top models of all colors and nations.
Fashion in the 1980’s is a phenomenon by itself: for the first time, creations of designers were exposed in museums and galleries and top models became stars internationally recognized (Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell). Women bodies regained shape and a new silhouette ” X” with broad shoulders, wide sleeves tight waists, large belts narrow ending dresses with leggings or ball shaped, a style for which Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana became famous. Feminine skirts and dresses and women suits became high in fashion because of the increasing amount of executive women in high professional positions. Accessories became of big importance as well, research in new technology fibers and materials was another new phenomenon in this decade. Parallel to this, an explosion of New Wave imposed itself with a tendency towards rock and gothic re-invented more chic and classic. And a neo romantic trend awoke due to the successful movie ‘ Out of Africa” leading to the effect that the African culture and ethnic styles bore another new fashion trend. The looks we had in the 1980’s rarely have been of such big variety and style oppositions and never ever fashion has served to be seen as belonging to a group to identify with one another. For the men, the 80’s had its particular importance in becoming obsessed by fashion and beauty for themselves and this with all virility, Michael Douglas in “Wallstreet” gave a new importance for the formal suit, the Miami Vice boys turned to a fashion trend, casual smart was the way to be dressed and men between 20 and 50 became literally fashion groupies.
What can I say more, the costume designer designing the wardrobe could lick his fingers, the James Bond look was in fashion! The same applied to the Bond Girls, they represented all styles in their wardrobe high up in fashion and models were given a chance to play parts in James Bond movies like famous singer and renowned model Grace Jones and many of them looked like super models with lot of charisma: Carole Bouquet in ‘For your eyes only”, Grace Jones in “A view for a kill”, Carey Lowel and Talisa Soto in “ License to kill”. I believe if Roger Moore still had been as young, Timothy Dalton would have had no chance to replace him.
After many decades of excessive consummation, the 1990’s were marked by a radical change in spending money and so in the way of dressing. Fashion in the 90’s was influenced by the socio-political events of those years. The Soviet bloc had explosed, wars in the far East affected the world’s economy and security European, unemployment rose considerably and last but not least aides affected society in many ways. As result, the 90’s fashion is one of entirely new tendencies: We designers could not afford anymore the wonderful but highly expensive new technology orientated fabrics, unless we had the budget given for it but those getting tighter had tighter, we all had to become inventive not only in our creations but life as well. Time had come to recycle basics of our existing wardrobe and accessorize them with to create new looks. Therefore, accessories became an investment market for designers and financers including the syndicate of the Haute Couture having found a revival in the preceding decade very much supported by the Japanese spending fortunes on all luxurious world brands. And this is how it came that the 1960’s and above all 1970’s came back into fashion with the elephant-leg-trousers and dungarees and on T-shirts messages were printed and well-sold and replaced high-end brand labels. Within the age of recycling fashion- and costume designers started to take all existing materials, recycled them for new creations and the Grunge-fashion entered into the fashion movements. Minimalist fashion designers arose among a young designer generation with Martin Margiela and Yohiji Yamamoto. Meantime, the Haute Couture in crisis of existence, the paradox was that hey invested in talents to keep the luxury market alive: John Galliano at Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander Mc Queen at Givenchy.
A very important phenomenon of this decade was as well the consciousness about health and sport which influenced fashion trends importantly off course.
The thirty years lasting constant success by then was established safely enough to continue being successful, yet producers felt that under those socio-cultural circumstances, James Bond needed to be reassessed and successful decisions were made: keeping costume guide-line as much as possible, choosing an actor appealing and handsome to personify the character strongly and mainly replacing the glamorous model-type girls by more natural, more real type of girls. Since the 1970’s were back in fashion, Pierce Brosnan with his strong resemblance with the young Roger Moore was the ideal actor to go for. To recreate the Bond character with him was very easy and wardrobed in all scenes for “gala” and formal clothes exactly – or almost exactly- the same as the young Roger Moore the character automatically became very strong. Costuming Brosnan with a modern leather coat worked very well due to the authentic Moore turtle-neck-pullover. The personification of the character being so successful, allowed him to be very contemporary in other scenes (expl combat outfit). Bond on one side was kept authentic on the other though, because of the big change in the choice of cast for the Bond Girls, a new Bond era seemed to have come. Their “Gala”-outfits followed the etiquette of the typical Blond-girls, in other scenes we see them completely different to the past in the new sport casual or grunge look; example Isabella Scorupco in “Goldeneye” and Denise Richards in “The world is not enough”.