James Bond: 50 Years of Timeless Style

Sean Connery as James Bond in 1964’s Goldfinger

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, the first installment of Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond series. Since 1962, we have seen 22 films, 6 Bonds, countless villains and women, and one immortalized hero. Fans can argue over which Bond was best, but one thing cannot be debated: The timeless style that Bond has embodied throughout.

James Bond, Dr. No Cover

The trends and fads have changed, and each portrayal has its own distinct look and personality. Connery is the ultimate British gentleman, reserved and sophisticated with classic Saville Row tailoring. Roger Moore’s personality is more reserved and a bit more mercurial, with a new and more refined sensibility that is concerned with being fashionable. Brosnan is a reinvented and more modern Bond, while Daniel Craig represents an abrasive, combative and tortured Bond.

Roger Moore as James Bond


Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Goldeneye

Daniel Craig as James Bond

Yet with the changes, the character and the franchise has survived. Of the obstacles, Bond has withstood the counterculture movement of the 60s, the Space Race, the high fashion of the 80s and the comically bad suiting of the 90s. The icons remain static (mostly): The well tailored suit (the work of Anthony Sinclair of Saville Row, Brioni and most recently Tom Ford), the Walther PPK, the Aston Martin/BMW, the Rolex Submariner (later an Omega Seamaster), and the Martini (shaken, not stirred).

James Bond Rolex Submariner

An interesting and often unsung hero of the design behind James Bond is the work of Ken Adam, the production designer responsible for much of the “Bond look.” He created the futuristic sets on Dr. No, the massive Liparus set on The Spy Who Loved Me and the SPECTRE organization’s volcano headquarters in You Only Live Twice. The extinct volcano that was used was constructed on an outdoor lot at Pinewood Studios for $1 million-more than the entire production budget of Dr. No. In Moonraker, Adam designed and built Drax’s orbiting space station in Moonraker, as well as a three story set requiring the work of 220 technicians using 100 tons of metal, two tons of nails and 10,000 feed of wood.



You Only Live Twice Poster

SPECTRE volcano

Drax’s space station in Moonraker

Who do you think is the best Bond? The most stylish film of the franchise? Chime in.

For a list of anecdotes and secrets from the series, head over to TIME.

For an indepth look at the sartorial prowess of Bond, check out The Suits of James Bond.

The 23rd installment, Skyfall, premieres on November 9th.

All of the Bonds

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Tags: Aston Martin, BMW, Bond, brioni, Brioni suit, daniel craig, Goldeneye, Goldfinger, ian fleming, James Bond, ken adam, mi-6, moonraker, Omega Seamaster, pierce brosnan, roger moore, Rolex Submariner, Saville Row Suit, sean connery, tom ford, tom ford suit, you only live twice

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