The Golden Compass: Atomic Fleck Suit

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In the 2007 fantasy film The Golden Compass, Daniel Craig’s character Lord Asriel dresses in a 1940s-style brown atomic fleck tweed suit. Atomic fleck is similar to donegal tweed but has larger, more pronounced contrasting flecks and slubs. Craig’s tweed is a basketweave in brown and white with large white and yellow flecks. The flecks almost make the suit look like it is sparkling, which reflects the magical aspects of the movie. The flecks also symbolise the spots on Lord Asreil’s “dæmon”, the snow leopard. The “dæmon” is one’s soul that takes the form of an animal.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-4The button three suit jacket is cut with a draped chest and straight shoulders with roped sleeve heads. It has jetted pockets, three buttons on the cuffs and no vent. The suit trousers have single forward pleats, slanted side pockets and wide straight legs with turn-ups. The cut of the suit has a slight 1940s look partially due to a full-cut chest, slightly high button stance and wide trouser legs, but the heavy tweed cloth plays a bigger part in making the suit look old. The Golden Compass, however, does not take place during the 1940s or any other time in our world’s history. It’s a fantasy film that takes place in an alternate world.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-3The contrasting grey waistcoat is one of the most interesting parts of the outfit. The waistcoat’s cloth is a fancy jacquard wear of rose-like diamonds. Though fancy waistcoats are typically silk, this one is not. It is most likely flannel wool. The waistcoat has six buttons, and Daniel Craig leaves the bottom button open. The buttons are shanked pewter and half of the edge is scalloped. There are four welt pockets on the front, and the edge of the waistcoat is finished like a buttonhole and stitched with brown thread. The waistcoat’s back is made in a grey lining material. Whilst the waistcoat is a very elegant and well-cut piece, its cool grey somewhat clashes with the warmth of the rest of the outfit, and it’s a missed opportunity to add more colour to the outfit. A forest green or burgundy waistcoat would add colour and better complement the brown suit

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-2Daniel Craig’s cream shirt has a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. The collar, placket and cuffs are stitched 1/4 inch from the edge. Craig wears a finely knitted dark brown silk tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. He also wears a white linen handkerchief casually folded in his breast pocket with two corners pointing up, which is infinitely more stylish than if he meticulously folded and ironed the handkerchief to have two defined points sticking out.

The-Golden-Compass-Atomic-Fleck-Tweed-Suit-ShoesWith the suit, Craig wears brown, five-eyelet, cap-toe derbys. The vamp on these derbys extends to the back of the shoe, and the eyelets are on flaps that are sewn on top of the vamp in the “blucher” style. The shoes’ wide last and rounded toe gives them a casual look beyond the metal-reinforced eyelets and thick rubber soles. They are laced in an over-under method, where the laces alternate crossing over and under the eyelet flaps. This lacing method reduces friction and is easier to tighten than typical lacing methods.

Besides Daniel Craig, The Golden Compass also features James Bond series alumni Eva Green and Christopher Lee.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Very handsome suit, even though something that sporty should have had slanted hacking pockets. I love seeing Bond actors in “manly professor” outfits!

  2. Great clothes which along with the beard give Craig a professorial look that is very suitable for the character, but the movie itself is pretty terrible!
    I wish he would’ve styled his hair this way in Skyfall.

    • Agree. Hair was much too short in Skyfall. Bond still needs to be debonair. I wish they’d kept it the length he had it in that pre-production shot for Casino Royale.

    • Regrettably. Daniel Craig has bought into the myth that “manly” characters must have outsized muscles. James Bond, if he had existed, would not have had outsized muscles.

      “Ah,” you say, “but the ideal James Bond would be an expert street fighter.” Just look at Bruce Lee. He’s about as “rippled” as a tough guy ever should look, but he would not have looked oddly proportioned in a three piece suit. Daniel Craig, unfortunately, DOES look musclebound—probably because he *is* musclebound.

      That is now the accepted Hollywood “leading man” look—like they have personal trainers and bulk up with some serious steroids.

      Sean Connery, in his youth, was some kind of a bodybuilder, but most certainly didn’t overdo it like Craig did.

      We need a new James Bond.

  3. Great find, Matt. I saw this movie in college when it came out years ago but I didn’t notice any of the clothing. I have to admit I like how this looks on Craig. I think this shows that he can rock the tweed jacket/knit tie combo pretty good. Actually, am I right in saying that all the brown in the clothing flatters his complexion? I think this shows best in the close up picture of his face.
    It’s a shame that they didn’t take the opportunity to dress Craig in tweed when he went to Scotland in Skyfall. Seeing Bond in a tweed jacket and knit tie with his DB5 would have been great.

    • Sethblack,
      You are so right! I realize that in Skyfall Bond had to make a fast getaway to Scotland and would not have had time to change out of his pinstriped suit, but the Scottish setting positively screamed for a tweed jacket and knit tie. I think part of the reason why the wardrobe designers have been avoiding that look is that it is mistakenly considered “old-mannish”, which is ridiculous.

    • I guess you’re right. I like the Barbour jacket as well and a tweed jacket may look a bit more like a costume. I just thought that as they were already referencing past Bond movies anyway (the DB5, the almost casting of Sean Connery), it would be an opportunity for Craig to wear a knit tie.
      @Dan: You’re probably right that the production team might consider it to be “old-mannish” or professorial. But with all the “sometimes the old ways are the best” theme of Skyfall, I would have though “old-mannish” would be appropriate. Here’s hoping the knit tie will show up in the next movie.

      • If Craig wore a tweed jacket instead of the lounge-coat-style Barbour and an open-neck shirt under his jumper instead of the henley, he could easily have avoided looking “old-mannish” or like he was wearing a costume. The tie would have been more difficult to fit into that scene.

    • @Nick
      -No, we just need a new costume designer who understands the concept of Bond-like elegance and style. Craig’s muscular appearance is no obstacle for looking sublime in a suit – as QoS proves.

  4. While the cooler grey of that waistcoat could be a better choice, I think it might strike some bare minimum requirement for working, at least if that jacket is buttoned.

    What strikes me is how flattering that tweed is on Craig’s complexion. If ever there was a formula for looking professorial, it’s probably Beard + Old Stonework + Wainscoting.

    I also wonder how much the modern tendency toward post-production color-grading might affect the colour pairings of men’s fashion on film. If everything in a scene is tinted sepia or green, it’ll be hard to gauge what’s working and what’s not. I’m not sure if this film is graded, but it has a look that reminds me of films which I know certainly are.

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