James Bond wears a different type of trilby than he ordinarily does during the climax of From Russia with Love with his dark grey pick-and-pick suit. It’s actually not even Bond’s own trilby, but it originally belonged to the British agent from Station Y, Captain Nash (William Hill). When Bond arrives in Zagreb to meet Captain Nash, Red Grant (Robert Shaw) finds him first, kills him, takes his trilby and briefcase and poses as him while wearing a grey and brown striped suit. After Bond kills Grant it becomes his turn to wear the trilby. “Nash” has an escape route, which is in reality just Grant’s escape route, and Bond follows it. Though wearing the hat is not part of the escape route, Bond wears it to loosely disguise himself as Nash. However, the hat is left behind under a rock during the escape after Bond shoots down the helicopter that chases him.
So what makes this trilby so much different than the tribys that Sean Connery’s Bond usually wears? Instead of brown, this trilby is dark grey and has a narrow grey grosgrain ribbon around the base of the crown. Also, Nash’s trilby has a taller crown blocked in the C shape, unlike the centre dent that Bond prefers. The C-crown, also known as the teardrop crown, is the shape where the back of the crown is like a bowl (the C) and the front comes to a point. The centre of a C-crown is also domed, but it’s only slightly domed on Nash’s hat since it was shaped by hand. The front point of the crown necessitates that the front of the hat has a large pinch. Since the back of the crown is wider than the front when blocked with a teardrop shape, the back of the hat is consequently lower. On Nash’s hat the back is much lower than the front. The crown of a trilby can be blocked in many styles, so a hat with the more typical centre dent could be transformed into a hat more like this.
Like most trilby hats, the British version of the usually-larger-brimmed fedora, Nash’s trilby has a tapered crown and a short brim. The brim is roughly two inches wide, bent down at the front and curled up at the back. It is finished with a raw edge. Inside, Nash’s hat has a tan leather sweatband around the base and a white silk lining. The maker of the trilby is unknown, though Lock is certainly a possibility.
We don’t get to see Nash wearing the trilby, but Grant and Bond wear it differently. Grant wears it back on his head, as if it’s slightly too small on him. Bond, on the other hand, wears the hat more forward and lower in front. Just a guess, but perhaps Nash does not wear the hat because it was only purchased in Bond’s size, which didn’t fit Nash.
I think that the poor Captain Nash is very well dress; his suit,ties and hat are wonderfull (i very like the Nash’s suit in the picture above..remember to me the proportions of Bond’s suits in Dr No ).
Trilbys are very elegant; if in this days hats would be in fashion my choice would be a trilby (i like very dark green color).
The model worn by Nash is perfect,to me.
Based on what I know of buying practices in costume departments, especially given a (still relatively) small budget, I would say it’s 99% certain that the hat was purchased for Connery, which as you say would explain William Hill’s using it only as a prop in his brief scene as Nash. The way in which Grant wears it was surely supposed to mark him as a cad for the audience, but for me it stretches credulity to imagine that Bond would not note the bad fit and become suspicious. Like the “red wine with fish” thing, it’s all a bit labored from a contemporary viewpoint — though perhaps not for rank-and-file filmgoers in the early 1960s.
Out thread but interesting.
From “Anthony Sinclair facebook”:
But why, oh why didn’t they put Craig in a hacking jacket? Is it because some 22-year old GQ editor has decided that tweed is old-mannish?
No, it’s because he was previously in the city and didn’t exactly have time to change clothes on the (presumably) non-stop road trip to Scotland.
I understand the rationale, but when has that ever stopped Bond before?
When he arrives in Scotland he changes, and he could have worn a tweed jacket instead of a sports coat-style Barbour.
He was preparing for a showdown, so he would have needed something more activity-orientated. I know that a hacking jacket is traditional country wear but this version of Bond wasn’t even born when Connery wore the jacket, and while it’s great to see traditional dressing surviving, perhaps it’s a step to far to shoehorn things like tweed and morning dress into a film aimed at modern day audiences?
There is little difference between the appropriateness of a tweed sports coat compared to a Barbour sports coat in this situation. Neither are designed for battle.
Tweed is popular amongst the young hipsters where I live in New York City, so I don’t really see it as old-fashioned.
I think the Scotland clothes are ultimately a situation where the “look” of the costume wins out over other options that might also work given the actual heritage/context of the scene; in such a man-of-action-against-a-small-army sequence, the Barbour jacket et al. arguably has a more “rural badass” vibe than an equally appropriate, but less aesthetically “rough and tumble” hacking jacket. Most viewers would be like, “Why is he fighting in a sportcoat?”
Although there are people that would find the notion of Bond wearing a dress hat in the 21st century too strange, I personally wouldn’t find it ridiculous if they outfitted Daniel Craig in much the same way Sean Connery appears here (They’ve been getting pretty close to this look in Skyfall, although the fit and cut of the suits is not the same), and a hat is featured for a time, especially if it is taken from a subdued enemy and put to some use, possibly concealing Bond’s face with shadows while roaming the city streets at night. I could imagine it being done as an homage to these scenes in From Russia With Love. Wearing hats like these is a phenomenon that has risen since the mid-2000s, so it shouldn’t seem so alien and foreign to viewers, and fans of the older films may appreciate the return of an authentic, fur felt trilby or fedora. The only problem with it becoming a regular addition to the Bond series now, is that not enough men wear dress hats, and they haven’t been seen for any significant length of time in the movies since 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I wouldn’t count the top hats being seen in A View to a Kill and Licence to Kill, as they were worn with very specific, formal events in mind. I admit it would seem strange past a one-time situational occurrence, though, as Bond isn’t normally identified with hats, and during the 1960s they were common place enough to have not elicited much thoughts and reactions about them like they could now. When they faded out of use by the 1970s, it seemed to organically be in line with the shift of mens’ fashion in going hatless. If Bond is to ever don hats as frequently as he had during the Connery and Lazenby era, which is not to say very often, then more men are going to have to take up wearing them in order for it to make more sense in future films. I personally do own and occasionally wear a hat from my small collection of fur felt and straw fedoras. This was a long message, but I am passionate about the hobby and history of hats.
J.B. – Good to see your note on hats, that their wearing has recently increased and that you occasionally wear one. I do not think that a man wearing a dress hat in the 21st century is strange so long as it is worn with an overcoat or raincoat, when it immediately proclaims its practical function. Worn without a coat it immediately becomes a stylistic statement which many would find strange.