Orlebar Brown’s 007 Collaboration

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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.

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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.

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Goldfinger Onesie

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

43 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Matt. I think this collection is very exciting. Clearly Orlebar Brown “gets it,” and although the prices are high, I think the uniqueness and stylishness of these pieces make one or two of them essential for any fan of classic Bond style.

    I purchased the DAF shirt to start. It should arrive today.

    One question: Do you think the pink shorts are still too short to be worn outside of a resort-type setting?

    • I think you can wear the pink shorts as if you’d wear any most other shorts. But with any shorts I don’t know how I’d wear them outside a resort-type setting.

  2. This is a really stupendous collection. I am amazed at the number of pieces they have issued. Not only did they do the poster swim shorts but to recreate the pieces that were worn in the movies is shocking. I say that since this is rarely done to this extent and I think that is what fans want and the general public may buy without the Bond branding jumping out at them.

  3. All items look wonderful, I especially like the white pleated shirt and the pink one with the camp collar.
    Unfortunately they are IMO outrageously overpriced : for the price of swimming trunks or a « casual » summer shirt, you can buy yourself a bespoke shirt in France (I presume the Foster shirts are sensibly of the same price range) or just a simple T&A shirt, which I am sure has a better quality and construction.
    For simple and casual summer items, I am disappointed. I know this is a luxury brand but still… it may be worth it on sale.

    • I agree the price is a bit much. I’m willing to tolerate it from some of the heritage brands (Sunspel, T&A, etc), but OB is too new on the block for me to spend that much on. $475 for a polo is hilarious.

      • Mason and Sons sell something similar for half the price. I’d recommend one of those.

  4. I’m surprised they decided to make the Goldfinger playsuit. IMO that’s tied with the denim leisure suit for the most ridiculous thing Bond has ever worn.

  5. Matt, can you explain what you would expect of Italian linen (as seen in the Thunderball Capri Shirt/OHMSS Dress Shirt) and the differences between Irish linen/French linen? I’m not as familiar with linen from Italy as opposed to the more famous ones.

  6. I was disappointed at the sizing of all of these products – the irony being that none would probably fit Sean Connery with a 46 inch chest. Their XXL just hits 46 inches but would probably be very snug.

    • That is indeed ironic. I do wish they’d expand the sizing a bit since Bond fans come in all shapes.

      The only bespoke pattern we’ve seen of Connery’s indicates he had a 44 inch chest and 36 inch waist. He may have been 46/32 when he was a bodybuilder, as a friend of mine has a similar drop at his best.

  7. I expect I’ll be in the minority here, but what an absolute train wreck of a collection.

    Firstly, the prices. Of course I understand that they’re a licenced collaboration and so one or two more palms have to be greased, but oh my god! Following your blog for years as I have, I’m a zealous advocate of paying a good price for great clothes. That said, £250 for a pair of swim shorts seems like the sellers are making fun of their customers. It’s just silly money. You’d have to really want one and be a bit carefree with money and that’s being kind.

    Some of the pieces are, frankly, laughable. The safari jacket, please – that was ridiculous to wear in the eighties, let alone today. The tracksuit top from A View to a Kill was made fun of back in 1985 and hasn’t aged that well since. Then there’s the shirt from Diamonds are Forever. This is the shirt that poorly hid Sean Connery’s 1971 middle-age spread. Is that a look to chase?

    Then we have the towel-cloth onesie. Jesus wept. Sean Connery was, in 1964, about the most macho man you could choose, and this made him look like someone’s lecherous uncle. There is quite literally nobody alive who can wear this today who won’t look like they need to get permission from the police before going on a foreign holiday.

    Then we come to the more tasteful pieces, such as they are, some of the more subtle pairs of shorts and less ghastly shirts could be passable, until one again looks at the cost. The fat end of £300 per shirt and £200 per pair of shorts. It reminds me of when Givenchy took to selling white cotton t-shirts for £320. The people who bought those were fools and they’ll have something new to covet for a while now. Again, it feels like the folks at Orlebar Brown got together to think of a creative way to take the mickey out of the more ‘eager’ fans of the series. At least now they’ll be easy to spot, in their pink shorts and safari jackets, propping up the end of the bar at Trader Vic’s.

    I think if you’re looking for the most expensive and risible fancy dress outfit – look no further. If you want to look like you dress yourself, perhaps give this lot a swerve.

    • Personally I think you’re not far off on the prices; they are ridiculously high. The playsuit is definitely an interesting thing to include, as it isn’t good for much but cosplaying Sean Connery at his worst-dressed moment. I suppose it could be good for a gag, but the price is rather high for that.

      But putting aside the prices, the pink camp shirt, the toweling camp shirt, swimming trunks and especially the bathrobe are all very nice. Their associations with Bond are subtle; most people won’t recognise them as movie pieces, and yet their close enough to the originals they could well be replicas.

    • I couldnt agree more. All of these are clothing of the types who can holiday away in exotic places with rich friends who may appreciate the flash shorts and unique pieces. Nothing about this collection captures the subtle man that Bond is supposed to be. One of the OB crew is part of a famous reality TV show named ‘Made in Chelsea’ which took away all credibility from these clothes the minute I seen them all over their Instagram campaign!

    • For what it’s worth, there is a way to express your dislike of the collection without belittling those who might have purchased one of the items. It’s rather poor form, particularly for one who is claiming to have good taste.

      • I agree with FS. The pieces are stunning when you see them in person, and it brings back what’s more important than simply being well-dressed – this collection is more about how we’re reminded of our love to the franchise, love for Bond as a fictional character. We shouldn’t forget that just as much as Bond is famous for his dinner jackets, he is famous for his less well-dressed moments too.
        I personally went to buy the Diamonds are Forever terry shirt in one of their stores and I must say as loungewear, it’s a perfect piece. It’s the same idea as buying something from Tom Ford, giving up a bit more money than usual for the experience, happiness, and quality.

      • Hah, I did not. I did purchase the DAF shirt and I imagine it will get a lot of use for years to come.

    • “The safari jacket, please – that was ridiculous to wear in the eighties, let alone today.”

      I’m curious, would you be saying that if it were called anything other than a safari jacket, had a different colour, or was worn over a button front shirt? Matt owns a modern take on that garment and it hardly looks ridiculous on him.

      I also must second FS in saying that there’s a good way and a bad way to state that you don’t care for this collection. Maybe it’s just not for you. *That’s okay.* It’s not okay, however, to make all sorts of negative associations with people who like these styles or will pay full price for them. I don’t have the disposable income that, say, David Zaritsky has for his Tom Ford clothing. Some of what he buys isn’t even my style. Nonetheless I am happy for him because he’s able to buy things for a hobby he enjoys.

      I will direct you to this comic that succinctly encapsulates my feelings on this sort of thing: https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1489949-let-people-enjoy-things

      • It isn’t the name that makes it a ridiculous garment (though it doesn’t help). It isn’t a garment I admire on anyone in 2019, colour and circumstance irrespective. I’m reasonably confident that the wider populace would agree, though that isn’t a challenge.

        I’m not a fan of corporate cynicism and, to me, whether you agree with me or not, that’s how I see what Orlebar Brown is doing. It’s price gouging – and people are and will reward them for it. That makes me sad because it attaches value to things to level they don’t deserve (OB swim shorts are nice, but they aren’t £250 nice) and, perhaps more importantly, it encourages such behaviour in the future.

        I don’t think anyone was as harsh as I was about it in the comments, but I think the fans are of the view that the collection is lacking in value.

        Brands I admire earns their stripes or deliver a great product to charge that price. I suppose I’m just not seeing it here.

        Reading my comments a day later, they were a bit harsh. But come on, who spends £300 on a towel cloth onesie that isn’t self aware enough to know they’ll look daft?! I liked your meme and I agree, to a point.

      • “I don’t think anyone was as harsh as I was about it in the comments, but I think the fans are of the view that the collection is lacking in value.“

        What fans are these, Pete? This is like when politicians say they are speaking for “the people,” when in reality they are only speaking, at most, for the fraction who agree with their point of view. Indeed, the collection is selling out, and quickly.

        As a general point, I agree that the prices are too high. But OB is overpriced to begin with, so the markup here didn’t me since I was already familiar with the brand.

    • Pete J – your post at 18:45 was quite frankly the funniest I’ve ever read on this blog “permission from the police” indeed – priceless. Amongst my general mates the term we use is “Operation Yewtree”.

      As an aside, I loved the Moonraker trunks but spat my tea and twix over my laptop when I saw the price. Sorry kids I can’t feed you this month, I’ve bought a £245 pair of swimming trunks, but they have Sir Roger, Richard Kiel and Lois Chiles on them! The only time I’d ever wear them would be at my funeral (after the wife had killed me).

  8. Just took delivery of the Thunderball Cardinal shirt and Dr. No bathrobe. Very pleased with both.

  9. What an amazing ,stylish, cool collection…Unfortunately so ridiculously overpriced that it’s not even funny. While I understand that it’s an official collaboration with EON and all that but £165 for a toweling polo or £295 for a merino polo…Good luck to them, I’m sure there are people out there that have more money than sense as my grandma used to say and will buy this merchandise.. BTW I own several OB pieces (bought on sale heavily discounted) and the quality is ok to good but not amazing to justify to full retail price.

  10. Leaving aside specifics of what I think is a mixed bag collection (I like some [the pink camp shirt and swim trunks), dislike others, and think one or two are ludicrous, but to each their own), the prices are a non-starter. (the Espadrilles alone are, IMO, the most overpriced given what they are meant to do – get wet). Most of the pieces, at least in look, can be had elsewhere from quality manufacturers for a lot less. The navy long-sleeved polo (which I like) isn’t exactly tough to find half the cost. Nevertheless, I commend Orlebar Brown on what seems a passion project, EON is learning to monetize, and many of the pieces are apparently sold out, so people are buying.

    • I couldn’t agree more about the espadrilles. Even though their products are clearly targeting people that have a pretty comfortable income, pricing simple summer items made in non luxury cloths (linen, merino wool etc.) is like making fun of customers to me.
      Especially the kind of people that read or comment this blog, since we often have
      pretty vivacious debates about the right price of an item and for example going Brioni Vs Tom Ford Vs English bespoke.
      In most cases the answer is it depends.
      Well here I don’t think it is.
      And we will at least all agree that the price for the espadrilles is similar to a T&A shirt. Or that the long sleeve polo could pay us made-to-measure trousers. or more than one Frank Foster bespoke shirt.
      It gives me vertigo !

  11. “What fans are these, Pete? This is like when politicians say they are speaking for “the people,” when in reality they are only speaking, at most, for the fraction who agree with their point of view. Indeed, the collection is selling out, and quickly.”

    That’s the first time I, a fairly liberal Brit, have been compared to Donald Trump and it happened on a blog about James Bond’s clothes. Yikes! I wonder if that’s some new version of Godwin’s law? Either way, I feel dirty and need a shower. “There’s a way to express your dislike…” etc etc!

    Have a scour of social media, read the comments here – ‘overpriced’ comes up. A lot. Mine’s an oft-taken position.

    “As a general point, I agree that the prices are too high. But OB is overpriced to begin with, so the markup here didn’t me since I was already familiar with the brand.”

    You compared me to the Donald before agreeing with me. Does that make you the sartorial Mitch McConnell? 😉

    • There are good points on both sides. Many people aren’t concerned about the cost of the clothes and many others are. The clothes are not a good value, nor are they supposed to be. I think everyone understands that. It is clear that this is official Bond merchandise and thus there is a premium for it. We talk a lot about bespoke clothing here. In many ways it is often worth the cost, but when a much less expensive suit can get close it isn’t a good value. There are many ways to look at the costs of clothing, and there will always be differing views. I don’t comment on price much because it’s not a fair way to compare the clothes themselves. And I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about being compared to anyone in particular. Donald’s not the first and will not be the last politician to fit that description. Unlike Donald, I think we can all be more civil here.

      • Well said, Matt.

        And for the record, I was not invoking a comparison to any specific political figure. Donald did not pioneer that particular rhetorical device.

  12. I’m absolutely loving your blog. A question – do you think camp collar shirts are still relevant in today’s fashion? That said, what do you think about a summary on Bond’s camp shirts (including Lido collar) and your word on what’s hip and what’s dated?

    • I think camp collar shirts should be part of fashion today as they make more sense than the trendy short two-piece collars. I don’t care much about what’s hip. Something that’s dated is something that is both of its era and unflattering. Camp collars are flattering on many.

      • Do you think the reason they are considered out-of-style is because of their association with Hawaiian shirts and other tacky patterned shirts? Most people associate camp collars with slobbish Boomers in floral shirts, though they look every nice in solid colours.

      • I don’t know if that’s it because young people wear loud shirts too, just with two-piece collars in too-tight fits. If the show fits well, it will look current. Camp shirts are often oversized, and that’s the biggest issue.

      • Matt, do you happen to know any brand that would sell non overpriced camp collar casual shirts ?
        Between the overpriced EON stuff and cheap but tent-like shirt from US makers, it’s difficult to find the gem.
        I am French but most European brands have a correct fit but a skinny, short camp collar, or worse just a basic skinny two piece collar.
        The camp shirt as a basic summer item should be accessible to everyone, not only to the ones with Tony Soprano’s build !

      • One of the most quintessential brands in America, and now a Bond brand as of Bond 25, Tommy Bahama sells camp shirts in all sorts of fabrics, colours and patterns at reasonable (but not cheap) prices. I don’t know how the cost will be in Europe. The fit will be baggy, but you could always tailor it. If you ever find yourself in South Asia, it’s something the shirtmakers could do well at a low price. Peter Brooker just recently had some interesting shirts made in Vietnam that we will be discussing on the next podcast.

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