Over the course of Daniel Craig’s four James Bond films he has been dressed by three different costume designers and tailored by two different brands. Because of this, Craig’s Bond has had an irregular style, and one of the places this inconsistency can be seen is in the cloths his suits are made of. For each of his Bond films, the costume designers had a different approach to the suitings they chose for Craig to wear.
The Bond character has gone back to basics in Casino Royale, and his suitings have become more basic as well. Costume designer Lindy Hemming dressed Daniel Craig mostly in Brioni suits, made of either linen for casual places and warm locales and super worsted wools for his more formal suits and dinner suit.
When MI6-HQ.com asked Lindy Hemming if Daniel Craig’s blue eyes affected the clothes she dressed him in, she responded, “Yes, it does. It made me use mostly blue, to be honest. Nearly everything he has got is navy blue, pale blue, grey, mid grey and black. But then I almost never use colour on Bond because colour dates everything.”
Of the five suits he wears in the film, four of them are dark blue. The one other suit is light grey, which is perfect for Craig’s light complexion. Light blue shirts and blue ties continue the blue theme. Ian Fleming dressed James Bond in a lot of blue in the books, and blue suits or blazers were popular with every film James Bond incarnation. As Timothy Dalton told Garth Pearce in a 1989 interview, “The clothes say so much about Bond. He’s got a naval background, so he needs a strong, simple colour like dark blue.” Hemming only saw a renewed need to stick to this colour.
Suits in Casino Royale were solid, striped or subtly checked; Bond did not wear any bold patterns. After dressing Pierce Brosnan in three midnight blue dinner suits, Hemming brought back the basic black dinner suit for Craig to wear in his iconic “there are dinner jackets and dinner jackets” moment of trying on his first proper dinner jacket.
Quantum of Solace
A new costume designer, Louise Frogley, and a new suit brand, Tom Ford, gave Daniel Craig’s Bond a completely new look with new kinds of suitings for Quantum of Solace. As one would expect from one of the highest-end ready-to-wear suit brands, Tom Ford suits are made from their own fabrics. Ford himself said in an interview with Imran Amed from Business of Fashion, “We develop all of our own fabrics. That’s very important for our customer. They don’t want to come to us and spend $5,000 on a men’s suit and see that exact same fabric in someone else’s line.”
Frogley wanted to dress Craig in mohair tonic—a blend of mohair, wool and cashmere, not the cheap synthetic-blend version—to give him a 1960s look. She told Adam Tschorn of the Los Angeles Times about it, “It was extremely popular in the ’60s; all the Mods and all the wannabe Bonds wore it. I’m sure Sean Connery would have worn it at least once.” Sean Connery did indeed wear mohair and wool blends in some of his shinier suits in the 1960s. Tschorn found out from Tom Ford that they made the mohair tonic in an unspecified Italian mill and did not source the original “Tonik” from Dormeuil.
Tom Ford did not source all of Craig’s mohair tonic fabrics with their usual Italian mills. West Yorkshire cloth mill Taylor & Lodge takes credit for the mohair and cashmere blend suitings that made up Craig’s midnight blue Tom Ford dinner suit in Quantum of Solace. Their sales director Robert McQullian even compared it to cloths that made up Sean Connery’s dinner suits in the 1960s, though Connery’s likely were not as luxurious as this one provided for Craig’s dinner suits since cashmere in a suit would have been unlikely in the 1960s.
All of Craig’s suits in Quantum of Solace are dark-coloured (midnight blue, charcoal and dark brown), which reflects the dark tone of the film and the dark emotions that Bond carries with him throughout the film. The dark fabrics are meant to tell a story about the character, though too much darkness and contrast in an outfit does not flatter Craig’s light complexion. White shirts and very dark suits move away from the brighter blues in Casino Royale that brought out Craig’s blue eyes. The darkness of the suits in Quantum of Solace is slightly mitigated by the sheen from mohair content in the suitings. The classic midnight blue dinner suit, which better matches the tone of Daniel Craig’s skin than black does, returns in Quantum of Solace.
For Skyfall, the Tom Ford relationship continued with Bond, but a new costume designer named Jany Temime took the reins. Though the cut she designed for Daniel Craig is controversial, she chose some of the most beautiful yet simple and classically Bondian fabrics from Tom Ford’s collection to make those suits in.
These suitings follow what James Bond wore in the 1960s, with three grey suits, one blue suit and one midnight blue dinner suit. The suits are in subtle patters inspired by what James Bond wears in the 1960s films, including sharkskin, glen check, rope stripes and herringbone. All of the cloths are 100% wool in light to medium weights, ranging from 250 to 300 grammes. Despite being 100% wool, the sharkskin suiting has a bit of sheen due to the iridescent nature of tightly weaving black yarns and white yarns together.
The S-numbers are not specified by Tom Ford for the wool suitings used in Skyfall, except for the sharkskin suit as Super 110s. Typically when the S numbers are not given, the wool is of less than Super 100s grade, and in this case it is safe to assume that the unspecified wool is lower than Super 110s. Super 110s is still quite low for wools used in high-end suits today (outside of English tailors), but lower S-numbers do not mean lower quality wool, just lower finesse of the individual wool fibres that the fabrics are made from. The cloths used for Craig’s suits in Skyfall are very high quality, just not overly luxurious. That’s perfect for James Bond.
Lower S-numbers means that Craig’s lightweight suitings in Skyfall are heartier and less wrinkle-prone than the high super wools that are more common today. Heartier cloths are especially important for holding up through all the “wear and tear that goes on out there in the field”, and particularly what Daniel Craig puts some of his clothes through in Skyfall. Luxury cloths are completely unnecessary for James Bond, particularly if the luxurious cloths won’t suit Bond’s needs, will go unnoticed on screen or will look worse on screen.
Tom Ford and Jany Temime returned for Spectre, dressing Bond in more grey and blue sharkskin, striped, checked and herringbone suits. This time black was introduced for the herringbone suit that Bond appropriately wears to a funeral. The ideas for the suitings in Spectre remained the same from Skyfall, except some fancier cloths were used. The 100% wool and Super 110s wool made up a few suits again, but now two suits in a 70% wool, 18% silk and 12% mohair blend were added to the mix. This unique, more luxurious blend has a bit more sheen than ordinary worsted wool, but it does not come across much differently on screen than pure worsted wool does. The sharkskin suit and herringbone suit, despite being 100% wool, have the most sheen of all of the suits in Spectre due to the weaves.
Two of the suits in Spectre are medium blue, though the warming filters in Spectre darken and dull the blue of these two suits. In real life, these two suits in a Prince of Wales check and sharkskin, respectively, are bright enough to bring out the blue in Daniel Craig’s eyes. Though Craig wears white shirts with his blue suits, he wears light blue shirts with his grey suits to also help draw attention to his eyes.
For evening wear, the ivory dinner jacket has returned, now in faille made from a modern blend of 56% silk and 44% viscose. Viscose is a type of rayon that is like an artificial silk made from plant fibres. Viscose does not make the fabric lower quality than pure silk, the blend just has different properties. The silk and viscose blend in comparison with pure silk is more flexible and more breathable. In Morocco’s heat with Bond’s need to fight in his clothes, the silk and viscose blend is ideal for both a luxurious look and a practical application. With his dinner jacket, Craig wears black trousers in a wool and mohair blend grain de poudre, a pebbled weave similar to barrathea. The wool and mohair cloth recalls the dinner suits in Sean Connery’s Bond films, despite being in black instead of midnight blue.
The odd jacket returned to Bond in Spectre, and the cloth is not the usual fare. In the past couple of decades, blends of more than two fibres in a fabric have become increasingly popular, particularly in Italian tailoring. The fabric of Craig’s jacket from Brunello Cucinelli is made up of 51% wool, 41% linen and 8% silk, which gives the jacket durability and drape through the wool, breathability through the linen and a slightly slubby texture through the silk. In Morocco’s heat, the combination of performance and appearance could not be better achieved by any of the three fibres alone.
For outerwear in Spectre, Craig has gone more luxurious. The navy herringbone Crombie-style coat is a luxurious blend of 51% silk and 49% cashmere. Though cashmere comes to mind sooner than silk does for overcoats, silk is still a good insulating fibre, and it adds some heartiness to a light and fluffy cashmere. The other coat in Spectre, a black double-breasted bridge coat, is a more pedestrian—but nevertheless high-quality—brushed wool.