It’s a mystery that would perplex the finest minds of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. What has happened to all the suits worn by Sean Connery in his first five films as James Bond, released between 1962 and 1967?
According to Savile Row entrepreneur David Mason, the wardrobe at Pinewood Studios has only a chesterfield coat from Dr No (1962) in its archive. Everything else seems to have vanished.
Mason’s interest stems from the fact that he owns the rights to the name of Anthony Sinclair, the Mayfair tailor who was introduced to Connery by Terence Young, the ex-Irish Guards officer who directed Dr No, From Russia With Love (1963) and Thunderball. (1965). From his premises in Conduit Street, at the northern end of Savile Row, Sinclair created the now-iconic Bond looks.
Working with Richard Paine, who was an apprentice to Sinclair in the 1960s, Mason is making a replica of the suit in which James Bond makes his first screen debut, at Le Cercle casino, London, in Dr No – a single breasted dinner suit with a silk satin shawl collar and turnback silk satin cuff. The revived suit will appear in Designing 007 , a celebration of 50 years of Bond’s style that will be staged at The Barbican in London from 6 July to 5 September.
“These days, there are dozens of each suit made for the Bond movies, but back then there wasn’t so much money involved,” says Mason. “Not long ago I was offered a Bond suit by someone whose father used to work at Pinewood Studios – apparently they sold off wardrobe pieces periodically – but at £15,000 the asking price was more than I was prepared to pay. When I realised that getting hold of this outfit was the only way to establish exact measurements I got back in touch with the gentleman, but he’d already sold it. Luckily the new owner worked in the City of London (his office actually overlooks the Barbican) and he offered to loan the suit to me so that we could take measures and reverse-engineer a new pattern.”
With a 46-inch chest and 33-inch waist, the suit is made from a 10 ounce, midnight-blue, Super 100’s & Summer-Kid mohair barathea by London cloth merchant Smith Woollens & Co.
Flushed by the success of this first initiative, Mason is now working on recreating an even more celebrated James Bond suit – the glencheck three-piece which he wears in Goldfinger.
“The Goldfinger suit is everyone’s favourite and we believe it is going to get pride of place at the exhibition. We are looking forward to bringing it back to life”.
-Text by Eric Musgrave