Before we delve into a proper overview of New York’s Fashion Week, we wanted to share another fantastic infographic, this one about some of the unique numbers involved in Fashion Weeks…
We all know the world’s fashion capitals are New York, London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, and Sydney. But what about the world’s fashion districts? Neighborhoods famed for the production and sale of high-end fashion? They’re a dying breed, with most of the production moving all over the world, and most of the designers moving to the “fashion avenues” that can be found in many of the world’s largest cities, like Saville Row or Bond Street. But a handful of these neighborhoods exist, and although they’re mostly of historical interest, they’re still full of points of fashion interest, and you’re guaranteed to find some amazing clothes in them.
It’s been several weeks, but it’s time to come back to James Bond style!
When we last left off, Sean Connery had just come back to the world of James Bond for one more go with the poorly-received “Diamonds are Forever.” He had absolutely no intention of ever coming back to the role, at least at that point, and the producers took him at his word. Lazenby was back in Australia modelling, and the series desperately needed a shot of newness to get it back on track after such a disappointing entry. They went with someone who had come very close to getting the role back in 1962, Roger Moore.
Moore was, unlike Connery and Lazenby, already an established actor in his own right before coming to the Bond franchise. What’s more, he had a pre-existing history as a jet-setting fictional spy, in th guise of Simon Templar of “The Saint,” a long-running BBC series based on a novel series of the same name. In essence, he was bringing an entire espionage-appropriate wardrobe with him to the role!
Moore was cut from a cloth more similar to Lazenby rather than Connery. Simply put, Moore was pretty. He didn’t have the rough-hewn edges that Connery had, or even the boyish ruggedness that Lazenby possessed. Instead, Moore was prim, proper, and elegant. The Conduit Cut that had worked so well for a decade simply didn’t suit him. Instead, Moore went with his existing tailors at Cyril Castle in Mayfair. They had made the suits he had worn to great effect throughout his work on “The Saint,” and made similar suits for Moore’s first Bond outing, “Live and Let Die,” albeit with some slightly more 1970s lines and colors.
In a nod to his predecessors, Moore kept the distinctive turnback cuff shirts that Connery and Lazenby had worn, at least at first. Unfortunately, those only survived through Moore’s first two films, 1973’s “Live and Let Die,” and 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.” In addition, there was a much more relaxed sense to Moore’s Bond, with more sports jackets and slacks than suits.
The first two Moore outings were unabashedly ’70s: minimalistic, car-focused and roughly filmed. Bond had come a long way away from the glamor of the ’60s films. They both performed poorly at the box office, and an extended absence was initiated, while the series returned to form. In 1977, Moore starred in “The Spy Who Loved Me,” a gargantuan, world-spanning production that also featured a much more formal set of clothes for Bond. The full trappings of the late ’70s showed up here…
“The Spy Who Loved Me” remains the most popular of Moore’s Bond films, and 1979’s “Moonraker,” the highest grossing of his films, which had the same styles, along with some terrifying space-themed clothing…
…So the styles that showed up here stayed associated with Moore’s Bond well after the fact. But here is where there was a serious change. Moore had, shall we say, some tax issues back in the United Kingdom, starting in 1978. He moved the the South of France in the interim, and could no longer make regular visits to Mayfair.
The timing of the forced change in style was fortuitous, as after the over-the-top entries of the ’70s, the series was about to take a sharp turn back into seriousness with 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only.” Moore sought out a tailor who was willing to come to his home in France: Douglas Hayward. Hayward already had a reputation as a tailor to the stars, as evidenced by his beautiful suits for Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier and Peter Sellers. His more subtle, subdued approach engineered a look for Bond that was so timeless, it lasted all the way into the ’90s, and doesn’t look particularly dated even today.
This continued through Moore’s last two films, 1983’s “Octopussy” and 1985’s “A View to a Kill.”
After “A View to a Kill,” Moore was simply too old to keep doing the films, so the search for a new Bond was on. This switch in actors was easily the most tumultuous of the entire series, and ended with Pierce Brosnan, then of “Remington Steele,” getting the role… He was forced to turn it down, much to his horror, because of his commitment to “Remington Steele” (the same reason we have Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones instead of Tom Selleck, due to “Magnum, P.I.”). The producers were left scrambling, and settled on sort of dark horse choice in the form of Timothy Dalton, who had been approached back in 1969 for the role, but felt himself too young at the time. Dalton was a big fan of the Fleming novels, and wanted to take the character back to brutal basics. His two installments, 1987’s “The Living Daylights,” and 1989’s controversially violent “License to Kill,” remain some of the darkest, grimmest entries in the series. His wardrobe took a similar tack.
Hayward left the series with Moore, with whom he remained close friends until his death in 2008. Exactly who made the suits for the Dalton films is a bit of a melange, and was the result of the work of several different tailors. In the first half of “The Living Daylights,” Dalton dons several different Benjamin Simon suits.
After around five of these, things go downhill from a sartorial perspective, and don’t come back up until 1995! Bond goes downright casual from here on, a reflection of the film’s chaotic, gritty tone, but also, apparently, Dalton’s discomfort with formal wear. It works in “The Living Daylights.” Terrifyingly, Dalton had to reign in the producers on “License to Kill.” The film centers on drug trafficking in Florida, the Caribbean and Central America. “Miami Vice” was popular at the time. You can probably guess where we’re going with this…
Of Jodie Tillen, costume designer on “License to Kill,” Dalton had words…
“She wanted to put me in pastels. Can you imagine? I thought, ‘No, we can’t have that.’ The clothes say so much about Bond. He’s got a naval background, so he needs a strong, simple color, like dark blue.” – Timothy Dalton, 1989
While that disaster was averted, the film’s plot, featuring a renegade Bond out for revenge in the tropics, kept Dalton out of suits for nearly the entire film, excepting the horrendous “best man” suit he dons in the pre-title sequence (probably deliberately hideous), and a very, very average tux he wears to a casino midway through the film. It looks like a rental, which, again, makes sense in the context of the story (Bond has no resources, and is operating on his own and without a plan), but it’s still quite unfortunate to not get to see the finery we associate with the character in one of his films.
Like we said, this sad state of affairs would not be corrected until 1995. Why so long? Well, that’s a story for next time, when we go into our fourth and final entry into our exploration of Bond’s wardrobe. Until next time!
It’s time to return to the world of spies and vodka martinis, “shaken, not stirred.” And just in time, too, because today marks the North American release of the 23rd official James Bond film, “Skyfall.” We’ll be first in line to see it!
But before we head on an adventure with Daniel Craig’s Bond, it’s time to take a trip to the past, to where we left off in the James Bond fashion chronology, all the way back to 1962. The process of bringing James Bond to the screen from the page was not an easy one, to say the least. We won’t go into the details here, it would take far too long. But the lasing legacy of the long process was the choice of Sean Connery as James Bond.
As we told you last time, Bond in the novels was a sort of portmanteau of Ian Fleming himself crossed with his former buddies in British Intelligence circles. When Fleming imagined Bond, he basically imagined a more dapper version of himself.
The film’s producers at first didn’t stray too far from the idea, wanting Cary Grant for the role. Grant, though, refused to sign a multi-picture deal, and the producers were banking on a franchise. They went through British actor Richard Johnson, Patrick McGoohan and David Niven, never able to reach consensus. They even ran a contest to choose bond, eventually settling on a 28-year-old model named Peter Anthony, who was nowhere near prepared for the role. Legend has it they even considered future Bond Roger Moore, though he denies it.
Finally, a scruffy, 30-year-old Scotsman in unpressed clothes came in to try out for the part, and absolutely oozed a macho, devil-may-care attitude. He didn’t look like the novel’s description, but he felt like the character, through-and-through. The producers knew on the spot that Sean Connery was their man.
There was, however, a problem. He had zero fashion sense, and was as sophisticated and cultured as a dump truck. Director Terence Young, himself a suave and debonair playboy of the highest order, took Connery under his wing, introducing him to the high life and high fashion of London. He took him to his own personal tailor, Anthony Sinclair, at 43 Conduit Street. The paired-down look of the suits Connery ended up wearing throughout his time as Bond became known as the “Conduit cut”: lightweight 100% wool in navy blue and shades of grey with a subtle check, “waisted” in a slimline, single-breasted, two-button format. The idea was for Bond to look well-dressed, but not stand out in a crowd, sound advice for a spy.
Connery had never worn a suit for any length of time before, and was apparently insanely uncomfortable in one. So Young had Connery wear the suits CONSTANTLY, all day, every day, during pre-production, until they felt like a second skin to him.
For all intents and purposes, Young turned Connery into a more gruff (and Scottish) version of himself, rather than of Fleming. This act has influenced the way Bond has been portrayed ever since, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, dark with a dash of humor, as opposed to the more brutal, cold-hearted version of the character from the books (although that’s come back a bit…more on that later). Bond became a fashion icon in his own right, now that his internal monologue was missing. Instead of commenting on what other people were wearing, he dressed to the nines himself, but then, so did his adversaries and allies.
In the first of Connery’s Bond films, 1962’s “Dr. No,” Bond informs CIA agent Felix Leiter that his suits were tailored in Savile Row, even though they were not, a slight nod to the books and to Fleming. The fashion in the first two films, “Dr. No” and 1963’s “From Russia With Love,” retains the basic look that Young gave Connery, all designed by Sinclair, and all accompanied by shirts from Turnbull & Asser.
The suits are remarkably simple, and, in fact, Bond never even dons a belt, so as to keep the sleek lines of the suits uninterrupted. The pants all sit at the waits, not the hip, another way to keep the lines more unified. Bond wears, almost exclusively, dark blue grenadine ties for the entire films. He frequently wears a white linen pocket square, neatly folded into the front of his jackets. And, hilariously, despite Bond’s hatred of Windsor knots, he wears them in “Dr. No,” before properly shifting to four-in-hand knots from “From Russia With Love” on.
Interestingly, the suits in the first two films are more timeless than suits in the films that followed. They could all be easily worn today. The next three films, 1964’s “Goldfinger,” 1965’s “Thunderball” and 1967’s “You Only Live Twice,” all featured far narrower lapels, muted browns, and old-fashioned three-piece cuts, all very, very ’60s, though we do mean that in a good way.
Rumor has it that some American tailors were used in “Goldfinger,” which makes sense, since more fashionable (for the time) details like pageboy waistcoats suddenly show up. The number of materials and colors also expands dramatically. But the basic cut remains the same, until the next film in the series, 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
OHMSS brought in not just new fashion, but a new Bond, in the form of Australian model George Lazenby, after Sean Connery declined to return for a sixth, extra contractual film. Peter Hunt, director of OHMSS, was a fashion-conscious gentleman in his own right, and was given broad leeway in the way this new Bond would be presented, using his own favorite tailor, Dimi Major of Fulham, London W1. Possibly because of Lazenby’s more “pretty” look, and experience as a model, as well as acknowledgement of the more brazen and colorful styles that had come to dominate fashion in the seven years since “Dr. No,” Bond was given a much larger and more colorful wardrobe. A modified version of the “Conduit cut” from prior films was still used in the London scenes, but unlike before, Bond wore more than that sleek, simple cut when out of the glare of MI6, even wearing an astonishing cream-colored suit at one point. Did we mention the ruffles?
But come 1971, Connery came back for one more Bond, “Diamonds Are Forever.” The film is a bit of a wacky outlier for the Bond series, and even though Connery brought the more muted styles and colors of his films back with him (likely along with tailor Anthony Sinclair), some of the OHMSS style remained, likely a result of the American side of the production not collaborating with the English side completely. Connery even wears a cream-colored suit himself, at one point. And even the muted, London suits are slightly changed, with the wider lapels of the ’70s making their appearance felt.
This brings us to the end of Connery’s tenure, until his brief return with the unofficial “Never Say Never Again” in 1983. Roger Moore and excesses of the ’70s are next, and we’ll pick up there in Part 3. Until next time…
Let’s go off topic, and talk sports! In case it wasn’t extremely obvious, we’re big football fans around these parts. Being based in the New York area, location of NFL Headquarters, and within 200 miles of 6 different NFL teams’ stadiums, we’re right in the middle of the action every season. The only way we could be in a more football-centric location would be if we opened a showroom inside the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio! And, of course, as we have made no secret, we’ve made suits for many current and previous NFL players and personalities, and we have pals at every level of American Football.
So, yes, we watch a lot of football, and we get invested in the insanely complicated rules, the crazy draft and trade processes, injury reports, logo designs, Super Bowl host city debates, all of it. But the one subject that has always fascinated us, and has inspired some moments of truly intense passion/hate, is the relocation of teams, and the expansion of the NFL through new teams.
The NFL is, without a doubt, one of the stablest sports leagues in history. That might have something to do with all of those “record profits” we keep hearing about. The NFL hasn’t contracted, that is to say, shuttered a team, since 1952. The other three major sports leagues in North America have all come close in the interim, and none of them expanded at anywhere near the speed, or with the success, that the NFL did. This stability extends to relocation, too. When a team moves to a new city, it’s almost always an extremely acrimonious affair that utterly breaks the hearts of the city being abandoned. Multiple NBA, NHL and MLB teams have all relocated in the past few years, while the last NFL relocation was in 1997, with only another four going back to the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 (six if you count the Raiders leaving Oakland and then coming back). Relocation is serious business for the League, and expanding into a new market is always a risky affair, threatening to dilute the talent of the player base nationally.
However, there are some glaring gaps in the current NFL map, and the NFL’s incredible stability means it very well could handle another expansion or two in the near future. To that end, let’s prognosticate, and look at where teams might be added, what teams are in danger of leaving and to where, and what teams actually started somewhere else (some of these are VERY surprising).
WHO’S FROM WHERE?
You hear the words “Chicago Bears” and it sounds downright eternal. Meanwhile, say the word “Oilers” to someone under 25, and they’ll likely stare at you blankly. Most of the older, legacy teams in the NFL started out somewhere else than where they are now. In some cases, even their team name changed! And yes, some of you reading this are nodding your heads sagely, saying, “OF COURSE I know the Rams were originally from Los Angeles.” Yes, they were. By way of Cleveland. Like we said, there’s been a lot of moving over the years. Ignoring all of the old, small market teams that defined the early NFL and mostly closed up shop (the Packers are the only one of these left with the same name and city as back then), let’s go over who’s actually who here.
- The Chicago Bears were the Chicago Staleys were the Decatur Staleys (what the heck is a “Staley”?)
- The Arizona Cardinals were the Phoenix Cardinals were the St. Louis Cardinals were the Chicago Cardinals
- The San Diego Chargers were the Los Angeles Chargers (yes, L.A. lost even more teams over the years)
- The Kansas City Chiefs were the Dallas Texans
- The Indianapolis Colts were the Baltimore Colts (do not mention the name “Irsay” within 50 miles of Baltimore if you value your life)
- The Detroit Lions were the Portsmouth Spartans
- The New England Patriots were the Boston Patriots
- The Oakland Raiders were the Los Angeles Raiders were the Oakland Raiders (we swear Al Davis was just messing with the League here)
- The St. Louis Rams were the Los Angeles Rams were the Cleveland Rams
- The Baltimore Ravens were the Cleveland Browns… Sort of (do not mention the name “Modell” within 50 miles of Cleveland if you value your life)
- The Washington Redskins were the Boston Redskins were the Boston Braves
- The Tennessee Titans were the Tennessee Oilers were the Houston Oilers
And, just to make your head spin more, the New York Jets began life as the New York Titans, and the Pittsburgh Steelers started out as the Pittsburgh Pirates. And we haven’t even mentioned the plethora of now defunct teams from back in the day!
WHO’S GOING WHERE?
Now, on to the meat and potatoes. What teams are in danger of leaving, and where might they go?
Buffalo has lost huge portions of its population over the years, just like the rest of the Rust Belt. But combine that with Buffalo’s poor economy and intense, agonizingly painful football history (even the Cigarette Smoking Man plots against them), and you have problems. The Buffalo fan base is dedicated, though, even with four years of Super Bowl hell. But the team is not profitable. Seats at Ralph Wilson Stadium are the cheapest tickets in the league, and the merchandise is among the poorest-selling. But the biggest issue here is that the owner, Ralph Wilson, is 93. And though he has no intention of moving the team, when he’s gone, the next owner likely won’t feel the same way.
Where might they go?
Believe it or not, The Great White North. As the only major North American league in just one country, the NFL desperately wants to expand into Canada, CFL or no, and they’ve been testing the waters by having the Bills play a Regular Season game in Toronto yearly, soon to be two games. And Toronto is a good sports town, as well as the fifth largest city in North America. The writing is on the wall here.
The NFL may have made a mistake when they awarded one of the two new 1995 expansion teams to Jacksonville. Jacksonville is a big city only on paper, with most of the metro population spread across a huge, mostly rural area. Meanwhile, Florida already has two other NFL teams with built-in fan bases, and North Florida is far more interested in college football, like the rest of the Deep South, than the mostly Northern-transplant-populated South Florida. Add in seventeen years of near-futility, and you end up with a partly empty stadium for every game, resulting in local blackouts, where people in Jacksonville can’t even watch their own team!
Where might they go?
The second biggest American city without an NFL franchise, San Antonio has been on the NFL’s radar for some time. After Katrina made the Saints temporarily vulnerable, a definite effort was made by the city to lure the team from New Orleans. Texas is football-crazy as a rule, and has more than enough people to support three teams.
Al Davis’ death has made an already tenuous situation more unstable. The Raiders now play in the second oldest stadium in the league (after the storied Lambeau Field), share a media market with a more popular team (the 49ers), and have years of bad blood with the city government in Oakland. Davis, infamous curmudgeon that he was, made no secret of mulling over departing Oakland for greener pastures, just as he did for the exact same reasons in 1980 and 1981, before he took off for Los Angeles in 1982.
Where might they go?
Wait, what? Really? BACK to Los Angeles? After going BACK to Oakland FROM Los Angeles? Good God, Al Davis is flipping off the League from beyond the grave!
All kidding aside, L.A. has been without a team since 1995, when BOTH of its teams split at the same time. Los Angeles is the second biggest city and media market in the United States, third biggest on the continent. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but the League has been dragging its heels for years. The more cynical amongst us have suggested this is deliberate, in order to use L.A. as a club with which to frighten cities into ponying up for new stadiums and facilities, lest their team bolt for L.A. The less cynical opinion is that A, there’s no stadium of sufficient size and modernity in the area, and B, the NFL wasn’t exactly a slam dunk last time. L.A. is not a sports town, it’s an entertainment town, and the teams that succeed there, like the Dodgers and Lakers, understand that, and use it. The NFL didn’t. But this is a much richer, flashier NFL than back then, and they’d be fools to pass up such a gigantic market. And there is a solid stadium proposal with backing from the City of Los Angeles on the table. Stay tuned.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams have been having a terrible few years. Bad season after bad season. Losing their longtime owner and hometown girl, Georgia Frontiere. Winding up in a new, but poorly designed and perpetually dark stadium. Being based in another one of those drying up Rust Belt cities, this one best known for its rampant crime problems. Rumbles that they’d leave St. Louis have been circulating for a while now, especially as fan support erodes. Quite a sad state for what was briefly “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
Where might they go?
Oh, come on, really? Them too? What, did the Rams and Raiders just want to make L.A. jealous?
Honorable (dishonorable?) mentions go to the Minnesota Vikings and the San Diego Chargers. The Vikings have been struggling with a stadium on the verge of falling apart, and if the state refuses to build a new one, there could be a relocation in their future, but we really don’t see the NFL allowing one of its popular “old guard” franchises to end up somewhere else. But then, we thought the same thing about the “old” Browns. As for the Chargers, they too suffer from placement in one of the oldest and most decrepit stadiums in the League. And, just like in Minnesota, it all depends on the government building a new one. But also like the Vikings, we’d be shocked if they actually moved.
WHO’S GETTING A NEW TEAM?
First of all, as we said, expansion is unlikely in the near future, but possible. There are quite a few markets the NFL wants to be in, and we highly doubt that all four of the teams above will move. Los Angeles, San Antonio and Toronto all want teams. The League wants them to have teams. But who else could support a brand new franchise? And there’s a definite limit here on the number of new teams that could be created: too many would dilute football talent, and the League is loathe to ruin its perfect 4x4x4x4 Conference structure. But if they did go ahead with it, these are the most obvious choices, discounting the ones above.
Columbus: Could Ohio support three teams? Probably not, but Columbus is exploding, and has a fantastic sports tradition, albeit at the collegiate level.
Las Vegas: The largest city in America without a single “major league” sports team, Las Vegas is ripe for expansion, but its recent housing market collapse and population of mostly transplants does not a solid fan base make.
London: No, we aren’t crazy, the NFL itself has suggested this madhouse of an idea. The International Series played yearly at Wembley Stadium seems to be just for the purpose of testing the concept, and the Londoners have been very receptive. The biggest city in Europe, full of loyal, sports-crazed fans? Perfect! …Except for the logistical nightmares involved. How on Earth would, for instance, the 49ers deal with a road game eight hours ahead, with a ten-hour flight in each direction? And while the British love one game a year, would they REALLY support sixteen?
Oklahoma City: Another exploding Sun Belt city, OKC has been bit by the sports bug of late, with the NBA’s Thunder moving into town from Seattle a few years ago. The support seems to be there, but the city is close (in Plains State terms) to Dallas, and Oklahoma is a state dominated by high school and college football. Time will tell here.
So, there you have it, the past, present and future of the NFL in one neat package. Now… Where’s our snazzy futuresports? Come on, people, it’s 2012! Where’s our Rollerball? Our Velocity? The gigantic Laser Tag arenas those commercials in the ’80s promised us?