Charcoal Suit in Bilbao in The World Is Not Enough

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One of the most popular suits during Pierce Brosnan’s Bond tenure is the charcoal worsted serge suit from Brioni he wears in the beginning of The World is Not Enough in Bilbao. The cloth is made up of grey, navy and brown yarns that come together to appear a balanced charcoal. This film has the most suits of any of Brosnan’s Bond films as well as some of the best. This suit is cut full through the body with straight shoulders, a 3-button front and double vents. It has straight, flapped pockets and 4-button cuffs. The trousers have a darted front and turn-ups.

Bond’s shirt is a Turnbull & Asser “Turnbuline” in blue royal oxford. It has a spread collar, placket front and double cuffs. The tie is also from Turnbull & Asser, in a dark blue and light brown large pointed twill pattern that brings out the colours in the suit. Bond ties it in a four-in-hand knot, though it being a very thick tie makes a wider knot. Bond’s shoes are black Church’s monk shoes, and Bond wears a matching black belt. Both have silver-toned buckles.

When meeting with bankers, Bond wears Calvin Klein 718F glasses that act as a detonator.

82 COMMENTS

  1. Are the sleeves too long? The overall fit in the first picture doesn’t look as good as it usually do, or am I wrong? I assume that it is tailored exactly the same way as the other suits but why does it look a little loose in the first picture..?

    Still think Brosnan is the best dressed one!

    • The sleeves do look a bit too long. The fit is a little loose, as that was the style in the 90s. It may have been tailored fuller due to the action scenes, and the first picture shows Bond in motion, which is why it looks a bit sloppy.

      • Ok so isn’t brosnan going against the rule here wearing blue with black? His shirt is blue and his tie is black. Don’t those colors conflict with Bond’s taste of style? Dalton did it with the navy and black in license to kill. Charcoal and blue is one thing that is acceptable bc u can tell that it is just a very darker shade of grey but what do you think about this mix up Matt?

      • What rule? Does it look like they clash to you? There is enough contrast so it works very well. Connery wore the same in Thunderball. Navy and black should not be worn together because of the lack of contrast, unless the black is the shoes.

  2. Very nice choice of colours, that indeed match the winter type of Brosnan.
    Now, I thought that only Dalton could get it ‘all wrong’ as per your former post. I am surprised to notice that it took me a 13 year time gap to notice that nobody has the monopoly of sartorial mistakes or faux-pas.
    Happily enough, it clearly seems that Pierce Brosnan’s natural elegance helps to compensate this suit’s faulty elements.
    First, the shoulders –to me at least – look too wide, and would have been much better had they been styled differently, and without the Neapolitan influence. And no hard feelings, trust me I like Italian tailors.
    A Moore-era roped sleeve head could have certainly been more flattering, even with Brosnan’s rather narrow shoulders.
    Secondly the sleeves look too long, and rather hideously cover the shirt sleeves. Sad, given the great Turnbull shirt and its very nice colour.
    Finally, the front of the coat is a complete ‘mess’, and gives the impression that Bond borrowed the suit from a wrestler who just completed an Atkins diet!
    To think that Brioni, normally very skilful, had the nerve to charge something in the vicinity of USD 5K (even more shocking given the USD value back in ’99) for this suit is revolting.

    The choice of Church’s Presley monks is to be saluted, as it is much less loud than the brown Westbury model he wears later on with his linen suit.

    • The shoulders are typical Roman shoulders. They aren’t too wide, but they are built up. They balance Brosnan’s header and give his body more ideal proportions. Brosnan himself has very sloping shoulders, so a neapolitan-style natural shoulder wouldn’t give him a very Bond-like image. The coat just looks messy because Brosnan is moving in the picture and he just jumped out of a building. I doubt Connery could look much better under the circumstances.

    • Mr. David Zaritsky said that the Presley shoes are made for carpet walking .

      As the owner of a pair of Presley shoes I agree

  3. Excellent. Perfect combination of contemporary fashion and timeless style. This film came out 13 years ago, and this suit would look just as elegant today as it did then. Some might say that the three-button front looks dated, but I think it’s a pretty traditional look and flatters Brosnan’s build. I really love Brosnan’s suits in TWINE and DAD.

  4. It’s my understanding that flat front trousers go with plain hems, while pleated trousers require turn-ups. Then again, Brosnan’s legs are so long and thin that turn-ups might look better on him regardless!

    • There is no such convention. Brosnan and Craig both wear their flat front trousers with turn-ups. Connery wore pleated trousers with plain hems in Goldfinger. And if one couldn’t have plain bottoms on pleated trousers then dress trousers could never be pleated. That’s the only rule regarding trouser style: no turn-ups on dress trousers.

      • Wait I understood everything you said until u mentioned the rule. So if I buy a suit that has trousers (obviously dress trousers) then I don’t get turn ups on them???

  5. Matt,
    Apologies, I meant Roman. Somehow, a Neapolitan ‘con rollino’ would have been the ideal choice, according to me.
    Nevertheless, Roman or not, the shoulders still look too wide. Spot the left arm on the first image you posted, right under the blond woman’s mouth, there is a subduction-like phenomenon of the left shoulder hiding underneath heavy layers of padding. But as Bond once said in Casino Royale: “n’enculons pas les mouches!”

    Since you certainly have more a more immediate access to a vast database of images, I am sure you can check the state and appearance of Connery’s suits after a tough time.

    1) Connery has a nice fight with Quarrel at the beach front bar owned by Puss-Fella. Still comes out of it fairly unruffled.
    2) The train fight with Grant. No “tailor’s heart broken” here either.
    3) Connery looks fairly all right after a rather nasty fight with Oddjob in Fort Knox.
    Only noticeable trace: a slightly undone tie (slightly for today’s standards that is) and an unbuttoned collar (but as one cleverly noticed, it was already unbuttoned before entering the place.
    4) The Grey Flannel Suit at the beginning of Thunderball. He looks quite immaculate even after been hit with a fire-poker.

    Arguably, I don’t remember our Scotsman jumping from a building, except maybe from rooftops in Japan, but again little harm is made to his suit.

    The list is…endless.

    Now, of course, realism is most welcome, but aren’t audience craving and paying for some dream such as having the main hero always looking his best? I may sound very old fashioned, but I am not too keen to see nowadays 007 covered with dirt and/or coagulated blood, and could only welcome scenes such as the one where Brosnan uses a towel to wipe any drops of perspiration after a quick yet efficient fight on the yacht Manticore. That’s understatement. “Détente indeed”, but kept at its minimum.
    Thanks for your site. Great stuff as always,

    • The shoulders are the same that Brosnan always wore. Most of his suits in Remington Steele were cut like that too. I’ve never seen Brosnan in a truly natural-shoulder suit like Connery wore. And the fabric has more to do with the suit looking sloppy than the cut. Brosnan’s suits are made from modern light-weight Super cloths. Whilst Connery’s suits were also light-weight, they weren’t as light and the wool wasn’t as fine. Those cloths tailored far better.

  6. Great suit, and perfect Bondian look for 1999. However, I am not sure I am sold on the tie but it works (and a vast improvement over the tie that immediately follows at MI6 headquarters). I think the shoulders look good on Brosnan, with the rest of the fit fine for 1999, sleeves excepted.

  7. One of my favs. This movie was the biggest event of my 9th grade year. I remember it like yesterday. Funny, when I was a kid I always thought this suit was black and the tie was purple.

  8. I would hate to disagree, but in your very post on Remington Steele, the shoulders appear much more natural than what Brosnan wore in Bond movies. Moreover, while googling ‘Remington Steele suits’ images, most if not all the suits seem to have roped sleeve head shoulders.
    You are more than right about the fabric being the real ground for sloppiness. I recently chose a great Holland & Sherry (too) light weight glen check fabric for a suit, and had to have the latter altered quite a few times before it reached an acceptable level. Should one focus on collecting vintage cloths then, instead of buying new ones?
    Shouldn’t such a fact have been known to Lindy Hemming and even more to Brioni before selecting the cloth and making the suit?

    • Brosnan wore more Italian-style suits later in Remington Steele, with larger shoulders that he wore in Bond. I prefer the narrow-shoulder suits with strong roping Brosnan wore in the earlier episodes (the one’s I’ve written about), though those shoulders still had plenty of padding. Brosnan’s Brioni suits all have a little bit of roping. There are some English mills that still produce heavier, coarser fabrics, though the more popular ones seem to have gone the way of the Italians. I’m not sure why Hemming went for the fine cloths, probably for the more luxurious look and feel. But in no way would a lightweight, fine Super 150s fabric be appropriate for Bond.

  9. I’ve always liked Pierce Brosnan’s suiting as Bond. I don’t know why, I am at heart a Connery man, but I feel there’s an elegance and statement of luxury with his suiting. He dresses more “rich” than the other Bonds, but it seemed fitting appropriate for him. If I had to have 1 suit, it would be Connery-Esque. If I could have a second, it would be Brosnan Brioni.
    But, with a slightly trimmer waist and shorter sleeves 🙂

      • Probably true. I was simply stating that I am a fan of the style of Brosnan’s suit. I don’t doubt that my colloquial use of the word “suiting” is incorrect, but not ill intended. It is probably the result of being American.

  10. Fit (and ties) aside, I like the charcoal suit/blue shirt combination that Brosnan wears here and in Hamburg in TND. Those colors really look good on him.

  11. Stan is right. The price for the result is ridiculous. I’m with Dan once again. Vintage is the way to go. You would never get such a result with a master tailor like the late Doug Hayward. Ditto Cyril Castle.

  12. Amen to that! Two good websites for Anglophiles are theenglishsquire.com and bookster1UK.com, especially for lovers of countrywear.

  13. The sleeve length is not really a problem. This business of two inches of shirt cuff showing has no tradition behind it at all. I’ve seen numerous pictures of all the ‘great dressers’ of the past with different sleeve lengths. Look at Connery’s sleeves on the train in FRWL, just before he goes to the restaurant car.

    The shorter the sleeves get with the arm down, the more ludicrous it looks when you lift your arm, with the sleeve travelling way past the cuff.. Good for mannequins, bad for real life.

    • True. The most practical reason for sleeves being shorter than the shirt cuffs is that the shirt protects the edge of the sleeve. Ian Fleming never worried about this since he wore short-sleeve shirts. The recommended length is showing 1/4″-1/2″ of shirt cuff. That keeps the sleeve as long as possible whilst protecting it with the shirt cuff. And if too much sleeve shows when you bend your arm, it’s because the armholes are too low. The sleeve should ride up about 2 inches, which does not look the least bit silly.

  14. Re the last reply “Two inches of cuff showing”? Who suggested there was any “tradition” behind that? An inch would be about the norm for anyone of discernment

  15. Debates about the sleeve length aside (I always thought 1/4 of an inch was about right, and sorry, but hyperbole is difficult to pick up in print), the front of the suit does, upon further review, look a little sloppy. But I think that has a lot to with Brosnan’s physique. My understanding is that he gained about 25-30 pounds after Goldeneye, going from about 165 to about 195, in an effort to build up some muscle in his upper body. It worked quite well, but a side effect seems to be that he also carried more weight around his stomach. His weight dropped back to about 185 for The World Is Not Enough, and then went up to I believe 215 for Die Another Day. These figures supposedly come from Brioni. And looking at Brosnan (even to this day, he can be seen around the Malibu beaches), all of that weight seems to be right around his stomach. So it may be that the tailors had to cut the suits to deal with the waistline, much like Connery’s post-1965 suits which, once in motion, causes the suit to look a little sloppy. Just conjecture on my part, but I think it holds to viewing of the films. I still really like this suit and its colors.

  16. Regarding the Brosnan dressing “rich” comment above, I completely agree and it is the thing I find hardest to take about Brosnan’s Bond. Every other Bond was well-dressed (or mostly, Dalton’s tenure and his sartorial challenges have been well-covered on this blog) and never really stood apart from the crowd unless one knows what a finely tailored suit looks like. Brosnan’s Bond, admittedly impeccably dressed, often stands out as the most obviously expensively dressed man in the room, which is inconsistent with both Fleming and his established screen persona of being well-dressed, and it pulls me out of the movie a bit. Indeed, when I saw Goldeneye on opening night in LA, and The World Is Not Enough there was laughter at Brosnan’s choice of dress in the Aston Martin and on the yacht early in Goldeneye, and then upon his straitening of his tie under water in TWINE – and it wasn’t good laughter. This is the challenge for the producers – how to take Bond’s established screen look and update it for a modern audience without appearing anachronistic. I feel that at times, Brosnan appeared anachronistic. I do think, and I know this is controversial but well-covered again elsewhere on this blog, they have struck a good balance with Craig’s suits and casual wear.
    And, Matt, this blog has proven to be a fascinating look at now 50 years of men’s fashions and the culture they reflect, and the comments of your regular readers are fantastic to broaden perspective. Keep up the excellent work.

    • I thought the sweater and ascot outfit at the beginning of Goldeneye was excellent. Only unsophisticated people with no sense of history scoff at ascots – as Tom Wolfe says, there is a reason why most men’s outfits through the centuries find ways to cover the neck, one way or the other. Besides, this isn’t the first time Bond has worn an ascot – both Lazenby and Moore wore them, and they are the most sartorially sophisticated of all the Bonds. I agree that Brosnan should have buttoned the DB blazer on the yacht – that was a surprising oversight. As for adjusting the tie under water in TWINE, that was a welcome throwback to the days when Bond was FUN!

  17. Any information about Bond’s cufflinks from this scene? They are not the same design as the one he wears in the rest of the film. Any good pictures of them?

  18. Good points Christian but, just one reference that intrigues me. To be perfectly honest, I don’t recall anything funny about Brosnan’s apparel in Goldeneye which you refer to. Unsophisticates will always snigger at people with more polish than they have. Who cares? If they don’t want an impeccably dressed action hero then why go to a Bond movie? It’s how the character was always envsioned, at least (mostly) cinematically. The TWINE moment was, i’m sure, just the actor being ironic.

  19. Once again, it seems that Dan’s sentiments echo my own almost to a tee! “That was a welcome throwback to the days when Bond was FUN!” Absolutely. What is wrong with that harmless 3 letter word? The modern world has become increasingly serious and depressing. Wouldn’t it be great to see a Bond portrayal which exuded style, charm, grace and sophistication once again instead of the diametric opposite? However, the Broccoli clan don’t concur with die hards like Dan and myself so I don’t see that happening.

  20. David and Dan,

    I agree with both of you (though I personally don’t care for the ascot at the beginning of Goldeneye, I didn’t think it “funny”). I was just relating the audience reaction to Bond’s dress and self-conscious irony. The producers are in the unenviable position of having to adapt Bond’s 1960 style to a modern audience (which I don’t think expects Bond to dress down and appear as John McClaine/Bruce Willis of the Die Hard franchise) but also not to appear a prisoner to or a parody of the past. Based on box office, they are succeeding and keeping Bond relevant to today’s post 9-11 cultural scene.

    I agree, David, that the Bonds could use a dose of “fun”. I enjoy almost all of the Bonds and Bond movies – I find their varying tones allow me to find a movie to suit my viewing need at that particular time, and I am a fan of the last two. But I do look forward to the series hopefully lightening up a bit in Skyfall, with Craig remaining “the suited hero” he appears to be in advance photos, debate over the cut of his suits aside.

  21. I’ve heard a lot of debates about the exact nature of the herringbone tie – some say it’s black, others say it’s purplish with tinges of yellow. Matt, you mention you have a friend (Chris Laverty?) who knows Lindy Hemming. Do you think she would be willing to clarify on this topic?

  22. Thanks that would be great if you could ask her about it! Not sure if it would help jog her memory, but the black one would’ve been off-the-rack, whereas a dark purple/yellow that some suggest would’ve had to have been a bespoke order.

  23. This suit, shirt, tie, and the shoes were just listed with Christie’s for their upcoming 50 Years of James Bond auction. To me the tie looks like a pattern of brown and black, which would make this outfit closer in color to the TND Hamburg suit than I’d ever thought. Interesting, as I’d always thought that this tie was either black or a sort of aubergine color.

    It is on page 100 of the catalogue.

    http://www.christies.com/eCatalogues/Index.aspx?id=FED2AB1BC1BFAAD785257A6F0051913F

    • I saw that earlier today. I spoke with people who worked on the Bond films at Turnbull & Asser on Jermyn Street back in July and they confirmed that the tie is not black. It’s not a surprise that the colours are similar to the TND outfit, as Lindy Hemming recycles her colour combinations in different ways in different films. The semi-solid navy suits in GE and TND are very similar outfits, as are the TWINE and DAD navy semi-solid suits.

  24. I am desperately seeking the brand of cufflinks worn by Brosnan in Bilbao. I know with certainty that they are not of Dunhill. Can you help?

      • it is true that it has been 14 years, but in this blog were treated clothes and accessories much more dated. I still hope that by making use of your funds you manage to help me. Thanks anyway.

  25. It ‘s true, it has been 14 years since the film, but you have also dealt suit accessories and much more dated within the blog.
    Too bad, I was hoping that through your sources I could go back to the brand of cufflinks.
    Thanks anyway.

  26. It’s a bit off topic I know, and I apologize, but does anybody happen to know some websites where small sizes (36, 38 US) Brioni suits are available at discount/sale prices ? On Ebay there is really some choice for Brioni suits of size 40 US and (mostly) more, which is a bit annoying for slim students like me…

    • eHaberdasher has Brioni suits for sale at a discount, but currently the smallest size in stock seems to be 40R.

    • Fantastic photos on that link…the “extreme close-up” view (clicking the magnifying glass icon the second time) brings up an incredible level of detail. Looks like any lingering questions about the tie are solved (looks like navy with purple tones with orangey-gold lines) and it’s interesting to see how the wool has a “streak-y” pattern to it.

  27. Does anyone think turnbull and asser will ever release the necktie used in this scene? I have written to them several times, but they have completely ignored my inquiries. I didn’t even get an auto reply…

    • In one of the recent Bond Experience videos, the gent at T&A mentions there’s a few in store for release next year…. here’s hoping this is one of them.

      There aren’t that many left I can think of off the top of my head. Main ones that come to mind is the jacquard one at the beginning of TND and this one. I can’t remember if the “Hong Kong” tie from DAD is from T&A, but that’s the only other one worth mentioning.

  28. Brosnan wears this superb suit with sheer class. As a previous commenter has stated, this suit would still look great today. Miles better than the sausage skin suits worn by the latest ‘Bond’

  29. In looking at the shirt from this scene that went up for auction, one additional detail I noticed was that there are gauntlet buttons.

  30. In November, it will be the 20th anniversary of TWINE. Perfect time for T&A to release the tie!

    Matt, also maybe a good opportunity to revisit this suit, being one of your earlier entries to this blog (quite enjoy the lengthier breakdown nowadays).

    As we approach almost 2 decades since the last Brosnan movie, I think it’s pretty safe to say in retrospect that TWINE has held up the best (sartorially). This outfit in particular.

  31. What is Turnbuline? I notice it does not say this on the collar tag of the shirt sold at auction (although that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t).

  32. I just noticed the Georg Jensen cufflinks worn in this scene were also worn by Pierce several years later at a UNICEF party, right around the time of DAD.

    http://pbfiles.net/DAD/unicef-70502g.jpg

    I guess he was either allowed to keep them after TWINE finished filming, or they were part of his personal collection to begin with. I did always find it a bit unusual Hemming chose a pair of cufflinks discontinued in the mid 1980s…

    • This picture in itself could be worth an article ! Brosnan here looks impeccably dressed and devilishly handsome, I personally prefer this black tie outfit to the one he had in DAD.

      • Jovan, just a personal opinion. I didn’t like pleated front with a hidden button placket (I prefer a pleated front with mop buttons, or a marcella front with either studs or a fly front, like in Casino Royale), and I think a white pocket square (or light colored) is always welcome with a dinner jacket. Nothing to criticize about the DAD dinner jacket though, it’s timeless ! It was mostly the shirt I wasn’t fond of.
        My favorite Brosnan dinner suit is the one in TWINE. I think I found the DAD DJ outfit a bit too simple and since it’s Brosnan’s Bond last movie I expected something different. Now you know everything !

      • Interesting thoughts on dress shirts. I like fly fronts on pleated shirts more than on marcella. I think the formality of marcella is best with studs, and all of Bond’s marcella shirts take studs. The shirt in Casino Royale is made of a textured cloth and does not have a marcella front. This is my favourite kind of dress shirt to have a fly front, and my herringbone shirt is like this.

    • Thanks !
      I think the combination of a fly front with pleats looks a bit cheap, I would not know how to explain it.
      I agree with you that the formality of the marcella cloth would imply studs but I saw once a Dunhill evening shirt that had a marcella bib front and simple mother of pearl buttons. It was simple and understated and worked very well.

  33. I couldn’t find that shirt on their website. I see a similar one, but it looks lighter blue than the blue royal oxford. Any suggestions?

      • I agree, something is a little off with the outfit. Probably not the right shade of blue for that tie.

    • The combo Brioni 3-button suit with a T&A shirt and tie really works perfectly for Brosnan. Still a black suit as here is a bit bland and doesn’t work with the colors. Dark grey or navy would have been way better.

    • I really think they might have been, Tredstone. I know actors have been known to keep costume pieces from their movies before, but they’ve also put their own clothes into them as well. Like Craig’s rumoured infamous leather gloves from Skyfall or Brosnan’s sunglasses at the start of Die Another Day.

      I think this is the latter case. They’re very “Brosnan”, and not very “Bond”. I doubt they were found and specifically picked for the film.

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