Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond wardrobe brought Bond’s suits and coats up to the new standards of the 1990s. Lighter weights had become the standard in luxury Italian suits, which were at the height of fashion at the time. And by this time, super wools were no longer special; they had become the standard. Consumers were demanding the softest hands from their worsted wools. The full cut of the time that showed off a surplus of the finest fabrics was the height of luxury in the 1990s.
Luxurious Lightweight Suitings
Brosnan mostly wears suits made of lightweight superfine worsted wool in blue birdseye, subtle blue and brown patterns or greys with hints of brown and blue or the occasional subtle pinstripe or windowpane. Brosnan’s pinstripes are subtle like how the Italians or Americans prefer theirs, in comparison to the thick chalk stripes that the British and James Bond traditionally prefer. Brosnan also also wears a couple of lightweight worsted flannel suits, which are made of combed worsted yarns but has napped finish liked flannel has. Compared to traditional woollen flannel, worsted flannel can be woven in a lighter weight and is harder-wearing in the lighter weight.
These worsteds and worsted flannels give Brosnan’s Bond the look of modern international businessman and less of the look of a refined English playboy that Sean Connery’s and Roger Moore’s suitings gave them. The re-occurrences of many of these cloths define the look of Brosnan’s Bond.
When not wearing his businesslike suitings, Brosnan’s Bond has a penchant for sand-coloured linen suits in warm locales. And in damp, cool Scotland, Brosnan appropriately wears a tweed suit. An article in Chicago’s Daily Herald mentions that Brosnan wears suits in The World Is Not Enough made of Irish linen and cheviot tweed. Irish linen depending on if it is referring to the cloth or the yarns does not necessarily mean that the cloth was made in Ireland or that the linen was spun in Ireland, but there is some Irish work involved. Cheviot tweed at one time meant that the wool was from Cheviot sheep from Scotland or northern England, but that is no longer the case.
For evening wear, Brosnan wears a black barrathea wool dinner suit with satin silk lapels in GoldenEye. In his three subsequent Bond films, Brosnan wears midnight blue dinner suits with grosgrain silk trimmings. In Tomorrow Never Dies his dinner suit in barrathea wool, and in The World Is Not Enough it’s a shinier wool and mohair blend.
For his outerwear, the traditional heavy armour-like melton wool English coats were a thing of the past for Bond. Most or all of Brosnan’s long overcoats are 100% cashmere. While there may be more luxurious and softer wools like vicuña, cashmere follows the modern mainstream idea for a luxurious coat. Cashmere has a soft hand and feels comfortable and flexible even at the weight of an overcoat.
Cloth from the British Isles
Though Pierce Brosnan’s Bond is known for wearing Italian suits from Brioni, at many of the cloths his suits were made from were sourced from England. Costume designer Lindy Hemming spoke about Italian tailoring being necessary to updating Bond’s look in the 1990s. She said of Brioni, “The new Brioni clothing that Mr. Brosnan wears in Tomorrow Never Dies establishes the James Bond character as a totally modern man of international taste, dressed in classic but contemporary proportions”. Though Brioni did exchange Bond’s English tailoring for Italian, England was not uninvolved with the suits.
Suitings for GoldenEye were sourced from West Yorkshire, the heart of England’s cloth-making industry. An article by Peter Curtain in the Yorkshire Post named William Halstead, Bower Roebuck & Co and Schofield & Smith as sources for the suitings in GoldenEye. William Halstead is credited for the black cloth of the dinner suit, while Schofield & Smith proudly claims the navy birdseye as theirs. Schofield & Smith mentions on their website that Brioni made thirty suits of their navy cloth.
The article mentions Bower Roebuck & Co along with Schofield & Smith as providing the material for Brosnan’s daytime outfits in GoldenEye. Excluding the navy birdseye suit, this leaves the blue and sand check and the charcoal windowpane cloths as likely examples of their work, and Schofield & Smith attribute the checked cloth to Bower Roebuck. The linen suit from Cuba likely was not made from a Yorkshire cloth.
For Tomorrow Never Dies, Brosnan wears another navy birdseye suit, and it is from one of the most well-known of English cloth merchants, Holland & Sherry. Brosnan went Italian for his charcoal suit, which is a lightweight worsted flannel from Loro Piana. Though flannel is a traditional English cloth, the English had not yet in 1997 mastered how to weave a flannel cloth as lightweight as the Italians had.
Sources for suitings in Brosnan’s other Bond films are not known.