The British beachwear brand Orlebar Brown released a new James Bond collection today in collaboration with Bond film series company EON Productions. This is one of the most comprehensive lines of James Bond-inspired clothing ever released. The pieces in the collection all take direct inspiration from items worn in the Bond films by Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. I’m pleased to see a focus on the classic Bonds rather Daniel Craig, who not surprisingly gets most of the attention concerning Bond style.
These items are not exact copies of the originals, though many are very close. Times have changed since the original pieces were featured in the Bond films, and Orlebar Brown made updates to these pieces so they can be more relevant to today’s audience. But to my surprise, most of these items are closer to the originals than I expected. Orlebar Brown updated all of the pieces with a touch of their own aesthetic and identity, and in doing so they pay respect to both the designers of the original pieces as well as to themselves.
Their 007 Collection is varied and is sure to have something for every casual wardrobe. Below are my thoughts on the items after seeing them all at an event they held in New York City on 11 April 2019.
Orlebar Brown has gifted me a few of the items below, which I will review on this blog soon.
Dr. No Riviera Blue Towelling Polo
This light blue short-sleeve polo takes the classic style of Sean Connery’s polo from Dr. No, but instead of cotton pique it is made of Orlebar Brown’s signature cotton towelling (terrycloth) material. Following the original, it has ribbed collar and cuffs, but the ribbing has a unique, exaggerated texture that gives a nice contrast to the towelling body. The two buttons on the placket are blue imitation mother of pearl. I would have preferred real mother of pearl buttons, though the original was unlikely to have those. This polo has a long fit for both a more traditional look as well as to make it easier to tuck it, Connery style.
Dr. No Mid Blue Towelling Robe
The blue bathrobe is an often-overlook Bond wardrobe staple. Quite often the bathrobes and dressing gowns that Bond wears do not belong to him but to a hotel or to a villain. This mid-blue towelling robe copies the robes provided to James Bond and Honey Rider after they are captured by Dr. No and is humourously fitted with a label inside that reads, ‘The Property of Dr. Julius No, Crab Key’.
This robe is a little darker than the original but is a beautiful shade of mid blue in a long loop Egyptian cotton towelling. It is detailed with a shawl collar, a long belt, two patch pockets on the hips and one patch pocket on the chest. The collar, pockets and cuffs are detailed with tonal piping. For a creative take on this classic item, the shawl collar and patch pockets are made with a finer towelling pile.
Knowing how much Orlebar Brown love to make clothes out of towelling, Sean Connery’s infamous towelling all-in-one playsuit had to be a part of this collection. It is a very close replica of the original that Connery wore in Goldfinger, with longer legs for a (slightly) more modest look and trimmer sleeves for a more modern look. It is made of 100% cotton towelling and has a chest patch pocket and matching belt with polished gold-effect clasp. Nobody is going to look like Sean Connery in this onesie, but I imagine it will be fun to try.
Goldfinger Mid-Blue Swim Shorts
To wear underneath the onesie, Orlebar Brown has released their standard Setter swimshort with a 4.5-inch inseam in mid-blue to approximate Sean Connery’s swim shorts from Miami in Goldfinger. It has buckle side-adjusers and elegant contrast stitching. The look is more modern and more elegant than Connery’s original and is a pleasant update.
These are being launched later.
Thunderball Cardinal Capri Collar Resort Shirt
The camp shirt is the foundation of Sean Connery’s tropical wardrobe in Thunderball, and one of the Thunderball shirts made it to Orlebar Brown’s collection. Orlebar Brown calls the rosy colour of this shirt “cardinal” and they call the camp collar a “capri collar”, but it is a very close replica of Sean Connery’s shirt. It is made of fine Italian linen with short sleeves, a patch pocket on the chest, and a straight hem. The buttons are imitation mother of pearl.
I hope they will release the rest of Connery’s Thunderball shirts in future Bond collections. Connery’s striped shirt is an especially popular one.
Thunderball Riviera/Navy Shorter Length Swim Short
To pair with the cardinal shirt, Orlebar Brown is making the light blue swim shorts from Thunderball with their characteristic button-down belt loops. These shorts have their Setter fit with a 4.5-inch inseam, and while the legs are short, they’re thankfully a little longer than on Connery’s original Jantzen shorts. They have open side pockets as well as a zip pocket on the back right. These shorts are made of 100% polyamide for swimming.
Instead of a belt to fit into the belt loops, the waistband is made in contrasting navy to mimic the look of the original belt. So we will need to source or make our own belt for these, and I’m thinking something in nylon will do. These have nothing to hold them up, neither side-adjusters nor an internal draw string.
Thunderball Washed Indigo Espadrilles
To go with the previous two Thunderball items, Orlebar Brown are using a traditional espadrille manufacturer in Spain to recreate Bond’s footwear. The espadrilles are made of a washed indigo canvas and have the traditional roped detailing around the base of the sole, an elasticated insert to provide a secure and comfortable fit as well as a branded cork insole.
Thunderball Pink Day Shorts
In replicating Connery’s pink Jantzen swim shorts for Thunderball, Orlebar Brown took a different approach than with the blue shorts. These shorts are not designed for swimming and are 51% cotton and 49% linen for wearing out on hot days. Like the blue shorts, these have button-down belt loops without a belt, but in this case it is accurate because Connery forgot his belt with these shorts. These have side pockets and a button-through pocket in the rear on the right. These shorts are in the Bulldog fit with a 6-inch inseam, so the leg is slightly longer than that on the Setter.
Thunderball Navy Merino Polo
Sean Connery wears a black long-sleeve polo for sneaking around at night in Thunderball, first at the Shrublands health clinic and later at Largo’s Palmyra estate. Instead of black, Orlebar Brown made theirs in a more elegant and versatile dark navy. It is made of merino wool and has chevron racked rib detailing at the cuffs and hem. The three buttons on the placket are made of blue imitation mother of pearl. Along with the Dr. No robe, this is the only piece of the collection for those who need cool-weather clothes. Though Orlebar Brown is a beachwear brand, they still have clothes that work beyond warm locales.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service White Pleated Dress Shirt
Though George Lazenby wears a white dress shirt on the beach in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, it is an unusual item for a beachwear brand to make. Because this shirt is a favourite of Orlebar Brown founder Adam Brown, it is in this collection. They’ve modified this shirt from a dress shirt into a creative beach shirt that can also be worn for dressier casual occasions in the tropics.
The Frank Foster original was designed for black tie, not for the beach, thus Orlebar Brown’s shirt is inspired by Lazenby’s shirt and does not copy it. Instead of cotton voile, this shirt is made of fine Italian linen. It has button cuffs instead of double cuffs. The front has pleats but no ruffles. The point collar is shorter than the original and has edge stitching instead of the traditional quarter-inch stitching but still has collar stays. Like Lazenby’s shirts there are darts in the back for a close fit. This is ultimately a more fashion-forward piece, but nevertheless a fun one for the collection.
Diamonds Are Forever Matchstick Towelling Shirt
The towelling shirt that Sean Connery wears in Diamonds Are Forever was a natural choice for this collection, considering Orlebar Brown’s love of clothes made of towelling. This shirt is made of 100% cotton in a beige colour called “matchstick” and is detailed with pleated military-style patch pockets with button-down flaps on both sides of the chest. The front has a folded placket, and the back has a box pleat with a locker loop. The buttons are imitation horn. This piece does justice to the 1971 original while still looking hip today.
The Man with the Golden Gun Sage Safari Jacket
The safari jacket in this collection is inspired by Roger Moore’s sage green safari shirt in The Man with the Golden Gun, made by Hong Kong tailor Jimmy Chen. Orlebar Brown had the original shirt to work with from EON’s archives, which EON purchased at auction.
Instead of a lightweight plain-weave shirt, Orlebar Brown interpreted this piece as a safari jacket and made it out of a soft 51% cotton and 49% linen twill. It is unlined and has the same details as the original: military-style flapped patch pockets, shoulder epaulettes, button cuffs, side vents and a half belt in back. This jacket adds the traditional safari jacket detail of pleats in the back. The colour is very close to the original, but perhaps slightly warmer—more olive.
I think that this will be a more versatile piece as a jacket instead of a lightweight shirt like the original was. It can still be worn Roger Moore-style as a shirt with nothing underneath, but for a more modern interpretation it can be worn over a t-shirt. One could even dress it up with a shirt and tie for the Lazar look from The Man with the Golden Gun.
Moonraker Bulldog Mid Length Swim Shorts
Continuing from the four Bond film-poster swim shorts that Orlebar Brown previously made, they’ve now added Moonraker to the collection to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary. This one has a darker look than the others and is based on Dan Goozee’s poster. These are made of 100% polyester and has Orlebar Brown’s signature side adjusters. I think this design works quite well on the shorts.
I’m sure many readers of this blog prefer to dress like Bond, but there are many people who aren’t interested in dressing like Bond but want to show off their love of Bond in a more obvious way, and this is for them.
A View to a Kill Navy Piped Towelling Jacket
Orlebar Brown has something for lovers of 1980s style and replicated Roger Moore’s dark blue Fila tracksuit jacket from A View to a Kill. They made it of their signature cotton towelling instead of the original velour to turn it into something to wear when getting out of the pool. The jacket has a hand-polished metal centre-front zip, contrast white piping details and a rib baseball collar.
Skyfall Sky Swim Shorts
For this collection, Orlebar Brown has re-released their Setter swim shorts in “sky” blue. These are the same swim shorts that Daniel Craig wore in Skyfall and after years of not being available, they are again now. These have a 4.5-inch inseam and buckle side-adjusters.
These are being launched later.
A Future Collection?
I’ve been told that Orlebar Brown are planning another phase for their 007 collaboration. I hope to see more shirts from Thunderball in Orlebar Brown’s next phase of their 007 collaboration along with some representation of Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. There are so many more exciting pieces in the vast Bond catalogue.
You can visit Orlebar Brown to learn more.