Tailoring for the Times: Pierce Brosnan

26

PIERCE BROSNAN (1995-1999) 

1. Low button stance:  Except for on a button 2 suit in GoldenEye, the button stance is rather low. The button stance on a button 3 jacket is at the middle button. Costume designer Lindy Hemming had Brioni slightly lower the button stance from their usual height for a more relaxed and modern look. In the 1990s, a low button stance was still a modern style, though high-buttoning suits with 3 or 4 buttons were also popular at times.

2. Longer jacket length: Another late 1980s trend that continued into the 1990s was a longer jacket length. The longer jacket length makes the lower button stance appear to be not as low.

Pierce Brosnan’s Brioni suits don’t go to any extreme fashion trends. His bold ties in GoldenEye are what looks most dated. He mostly wears button 3 suits, a classic style that saw a resurgence of popularity in the 1990s. The style was popular at the time, but by no means is it dated. By The World is Not Enough only a trace of these fashion trends still exist, and the film features some of the most timeless suits of the series.

PIERCE BROSNAN (2002)

1. High button stance: For Die Another Day in 2002, the look was modernized with a closer fit and higher button stance on a button 2 jacket, but not to the extreme that became popular a few years later. A high button stance lengthens one’s legs to make one look taller, so long as the trousers worn with the jacket have a high rise to match. But Brosnan’s increasing waistline isn’t flattered by the higher button stance (and strained fit), and the suits he wore in the 1990s would still have looked better.

26 COMMENTS

  1. TWINE definitely had the best (and timeless) suits of the Brosnan era. My favorite is the gray suit, white shirt with dark herringbone tie he wears in Azerbaijan… great nod to the Connery era.

  2. I’ve noticed that many people here aren’t fans of Brosnan’s ties. I hate the one here wears to MI6 Headquarters in TWINE, but besides that one, no other atrocious ones come to mind. I actually like the gold tie he wears with the birdseye in GE – which I realize is not a popular opinion here.

    I wonder if some of you can explain exactly what makes Brosnan’s ties so unattractive and/or dated and what would constitute a more classic or middle-of-the-road tie design. If you wear to recommend ties, what would you recommend? Only solids or is a subtle pattern acceptable? Also, what width is considered classic?

    No offense or sarcasm intended by the way (I know it’s hard to tell sometimes in an internet comment). I’m just curious to hear you expand upon your opinions.

    • I agree with wm – I don’t see what’so bad about Brosnan’s ties. A little color can liven up the endless parade of grey and blue suits.

    • In GoldenEye it’s the printed patterns, especially the gold tie. In other ties it’s the colours the look off. Moore effectively wore some brighter ties, but with Brosnan’s some of the colours look off to me. The geometric tie in The World is Not Enough also suffers from a dated-looking pattern, though it’s a woven pattern and the colours aren’t so bad. Classic non-solid ties can be checked, striped, dotted and pin-dotted. Woven silk is generally safer than printed silk, though printed paisley ties, whether subtle or bold, can be classic too.

      • I agree about Brosnan’s ties, though to me he was still the second most stylish Bond after Sir Roger. Some of Brosnan’s ties suffer from looking cheap as well as dated and that’s down to the patterns – the yellow one in GE looks more like Tie Rack than Brioni to my eye. The patterns were too loud to be elegant – and Bond’s clothes shouldn’t really be loud.

        Moore’s 007 ties never dated (except the width – though I prefer a slightly wider tie rather than a DC-style skinny one) but some of the ones in the Persuaders did (I’m particularly thinking of the green floral one). As much as I like pink ties, Connery’s short fat one in DAF has dated really badly.

        I think with Bond what dates the outfits is often the details. Flared trousers, loud ties, bold fad colours. I remember Doug Hayward, who was my tailor for 10 years. telling me that he hated suits with turn back cuffs.

        Brosnan wore some great outfits as Bond (I particularly like the brown coat and tie in the TND Q scene) but I’ve always felt that the suits wore him as much as he wore them – which can happen with Brioni sometimes (I wear a lot of it myself). But he had a real style and leaves fashion-forward Daniel Craig and man-at-C&A Dalton in the sartorial shade. I also think Brosnan is the second best dressed Bond offscreen, he always scrubs up well at awards dos and on Talk-Shows, though his style is maybe more Rodeo Drive than Savile Row. RM, of course, just dresses as Bond. Or maybe Bond dressed as Roger Moore for a while!

      • I wouldn’t say his ties are particularly out of date. Etro has printed ties these past few seasons and the geometric ties in Tom Ford and Canali both bare resemblance to the patterns used in the Brosnan films.

        The most dated look is simply jacket length. But I’m sure in 5-7 years that will not be as much of an issue.

  3. Tend to agree with the above observations (esp. James St John Smythe’s astute comments. Hayward as your tailor for a decade. Are you, in reality, Sir Roger under a cunning pseudonym?!) and I love the comment – 100% apt – re: Craig and Dalton’s “style”. I think there’s a tie (no pun definitely intended) between Brosnan and Lazenby as to who was the second best dressed 007 (I still rank Moore as No 1 for an innate, effortless sense of style) and yes, Brosnan always looks dapper in his private life as does Sir Roger. Re; the low button, longer jacket style of the Brioni suits you mention, yes, they are far more flattering on Brosnan than the higher buttoning version and a nice style (IMO) overall. I eagerly await fashions swing back in that direction and until such time I will continue to have my own suits tailored in that way regardless.

    On the issue of the ties, I can’t remember feeling that Brosnan’s choices were any way over fashionable at the time particularly as during the 1990’s some very garish floral and abstract patterns were de rigeur on neckwear.

    • Am definitely NOT Sir Roger though I did used to see him in Haywards sometimes and witnessed an amusing exchange between him and Hayward about a pale blue Brioni blazer Moore had worn, which Hayward wasn’t impressed with at all. The newspaper obits did not exagerrate the great and the good that poured into 95 Mount Street and over the years I met George Hamilton, AA Gill, Hugh Grant, Joan Collins, Jackie Stewart, Tony Bennett, Michael Caine, Christopher Lee and many more in there. Hayward once told me that he thought Moore’s house must be overflowing with 2 button navy blazers. He also said he’d made stuff for Moore prior to FYEO (not for films) and had been friends with him long enough to go to his third wedding in 1969.

      I initially came to Hayward after seeing a piece in The Mail about them being Roger Moore’s tailor. That was about 1996. I still pop in sometimes but none of the old guard are there. Les Haines made me a black blazer late last year just before he left Hayward – he’s now in Sackville Street.

      Sorry to hijack that thread!

      • Very interesting James. For information, can you tell me if the people you mention now in Hayward would cut jackets in the same way as Hayward did with Moore’s 007 suits (high gorge, soft shoulder, low button stance and same overall look)? I have a bespoke Hayward navy flannel suit from the early 1980’s (same as Moore’s FYEO flannel one, just different colour) which I bought on e bay for €150 and I love it. Timeless.

      • In theory any tailor can cut anything but the Hayward house style under the new management is the old Kilgour one – as that’s where the new guys migrated in from. Les Haines, who cut my black blazer just before he left, cut it in the classic Hayward style (low button stance etc). Les is now at #7 Sackville Street on Mondays and Fridays.

  4. I’m sure by now that it’s no secret that I am especially fond of Pierce Brosnan’s style as James Bond. Matt points out the main reason I like his suits so much– they don’t go to any extremes. Some of the details like tie widths and trouser pleats vary a little over the years, but the more “fashionable” trends of the 1990’s are avoided– Bond isn’t dressed like Niles Crane, and his suits really have aged well. The World is Not Enough in particular features suits that look good in any era, and a lot of my own personal style has been influenced by the Brosnan look. His Bond turned me on to a lot of great things like Turnbull & Asser ties, Persol sunglasses, and the Omega Seamaster.

    I do like the Die Another Day suit you posted here too, especially in comparison with the new Skyfall suits, but I agree that it is not as flattering on Brosnan’s build at this point in his career. Still pretty timeless though, and I love that tie.

    This post makes me wish Craig had stuck with Brioni, or at least the cut of Tom Ford suits in Quantum.

    • Not only do I agree that I would have preferred to see Craig stick with Brioni – I would like to see a more consistent approach to Craig’s wardrobe, period. Each movie is like a style makeover in terms of the cut of the suits, the type of shirts, etc.

  5. I can do nothing but agree with Kyle and treadstone! And I really like Brosnan and his ties. I think it’s nice with a little color, and when you wear it like Brosnan… If you have seen some of the Turnbull ties, like the Thames boat chase, Hamburg break-in or the DAD Q-tie, you have to agree that they are amazing! I bought them in 2006 at Turnbull in London, and you could still find them there last year. I see that they have them in their online store as well!
    I suppose I will always rank Brosnan as the best dressed one, perhaps a little because of how he moves in his suits… (Even though that goes with Sir Roger as well of course)
    It’s a shame that they changed costume designer again for SkyFall, and that Mr Ford and Craig obviously has to much of a say in the design. Furthermore, I consider that Jany Temime must be replaced.

      • Ford did have a say as they have created a whole new silhouette specifically for the Bond films. The silhouette will be available to the public but much like the base C and base D bodies. It will be limited in exposure.

      • But it was made to Temime’s specs. It resembles none of Ford’s own designs, but the actual one they are selling doesn’t fit as tight and as short as Craig’s suits. I saw it in a department store, and they said it was the model for Skyfall. You would need to size down in chest and length for the suit to fit like Craig’s.

      • Tom Ford choosesall his own silhouettes. The company in total has less than 30 people in it. There are several bodies that he offers that do not match the primary look that he is going for in his general look.

        Craig’s are mtm Ford and not off the rack. Compared to the base A and B in his collection the suits are dramatically different.

      • I’ve never met Ford personally, but other makers I’ve talked to who have worked for big films told me they have had to take all direction from the film’s costume designer. I’m sure Ford worked with Temime to make what she wanted. I’ve seen Ford speak. He is a perfectionist and I don’t think he would settle for all the wrinkles in Daniel Craig’s new suits. He has also made it clear that he’s not a fan of the style Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall. In a documentary last year he said “I like a big lapel. I’ve always hated little skinny lapels. It doesn’t mean I haven’t ever done them before, but I’ve always felt they feel a little sad like you don’t have enough fabric.” I really get the impression that Temime stuck with Tom Ford for the same reason Lindy Hemming went with Brioni: they provide top quality and a capability to make a large number of suits very quickly. Temime clearly didn’t use Tom Ford because she wanted to use his signature style. The style is very similar to what Colin Firth wore in A Single Man, but the fit is very different. It’s far more flattering on Firth than Craig. I’ll see what more I can find out about Tom Ford’s involvement in Skyfall.

  6. I work with a company that deals with Tom Ford. As far as we know, Ford designed the body for the film. Ford does like wide lapels, but that is his preference and he doesn’t want to separate his business by focusing on a specific clientele (IE: mod cuts.) We know that Ford being a huge film buff, wanted to get involved in the 007 series, partially to get his name out there and partially because of his love of film.

    Yes the Craig style does not fit the normal Tom Ford look. But neither does the “Weatherby” model which he has had for several years, that is a double breasted, slim lapel with a significantly shorter jacket.

    Ford is exclusive, some might argue even more so than Brioni. He doesn’t do anything that he doesn’t want to do. I’ve seen Memos that he dictates that any Tom Ford suit sold should have a 2″ cuff and that the is no compromise on that issue.

    Ultimately, I’m thinking its a combination of Ford recognizing that the film gets his name out into the world, having a multi-picture contract to provide clothing with the 007 franchise and Daniel Craig putting his two cents in to what he would like to wear.

    I would not be shocked if the next Bond film changes the designer entirely as to distance itself from this current era. If anything, it does showcase the costume designers ill informed and backwards ideas as to silhouettes for specific body shapes and types.

  7. I hate to say this because I love Bond and Daniel Craig is a good actor but I think he looks a mess in the Skyfall trailers – after QOS I felt depressed because it just wasn’t 007 any longer and things don’t seem to have changed. Just my view.

    • And a good view it is in my opinion. Casino Royale was enough for me. Bye bye Mr Bond, after that. As you say “it just wasn’t 007 any longer”, at least the version I grew up with, in any form. I won’t, naturally, bother with this film either but from the photos stills, the outfits, for anyone with a sensibility towards real tailoring, are appalling.

  8. If im young and i wear geometric patterned 90s ties like brosnan’s GE, TND and the patterned one in TWINE with my suits today, could i look dated or out of vogue?

  9. Matt,
    Are you a fan of the show Frasier? I’m fairly certain that many of the suits worn by Frasier in Season 7 and 8 are the ‘Augusto’ Brioni style worn by Pierce… but would be curious to hear what you think.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.