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Fifty years and 23 movies have come and gone since Dr. No, the first James Bond film released by MGM in 1962.
Skyfall due in U.S. theaters November 9, will extend the franchise, and the public’s love affair with the super-spy with heavy doses of the essentials: global bad guys, bikini-clad women, and plenty of bling—the luxurious cars, liquor, jewelry and gadgets flashed onscreen.
“For two plus hours, the films take you out of the plainness of your life,” says David Zaritsky, an avid fan and collector of Bond memorabilia.
Bond also sells: placing a product in James Bond’s hands can be one of the most effective advertisements a maker of luxury goods could hope for.
London is turning out big time for Bond's cinematic 50th anniversary. “Designing 007,”an exhibition at the Barbican celebrating Bond fashion and design, opened in July. From Sept. 28 to Oct. 8, Christie’s is hosting an online auction celebrating 50 years of Bond, drawing from the archives of the films’ casts and of EON Productions, the company behind the films. (An additional evening auction is scheduled for October 5 in London.) All auction proceeds will benefit UNICEF’s work for children and other charitable causes.
Bond films “are without doubt the best-dressed films,” says Bronwyn Cosgrave, curator for “Designing 007.” “It’s just fantastic eye candy,” she says.
Click ahead to see the accoutrements of the Bond lifestyle, past and present.
By Heesun Wee
Posted 26 Sept 2012
Bond’s amazing cars are an iconic contribution to automobile lore. Bond has spent a much of his half-century zooming around perilously high, curvy roads in a variety of makes, but his signature ride is the Aston Martin.
Christie’s is auctioning a 2008 Aston Martin 6 Liter V12 DBS 2-Door Coupe, used by Craig in Quantum of Solace. The car is silver with a black interior and features a 48-valve engine. It’s estimated between $160,000 and $230,000, according to Christie’s.
Aston Martin first appeared in Goldfinger (1964). Other car brands showcased in the films include Lotus Esprits, Bentley, Ford Fairlane, Range Rover and Alfa Romeo, according to Bond Lifestyle,a web site for all things Bond that’s co-owned by Zaritsky. He’s also the site’s chief correspondent.
Products that appear in Bond films over the years have been curated by Bond franchise gatekeepers EON Productions and the Broccoli family, since Hollywood producer Albert Broccoli helped create Dr. No in 1962.
For a recent, sly product placement, consider Casino Royale (2006). Bond meets Vesper Lynd in a train car. Between barbs about colleges attended and manly attire, Vesper discreetly sizes up Bond’s watch. Vesper: “Rolex?” Bond: “Omega.” Bond-branded Omegas retailfor roughly $2,600 and up.
Another option is an automatic Omega “Planet Ocean” worn by Craig, and specially made in titanium for action scenes in Skyfall. Christie’s estimates the watch at a value of $9,100 to $12,000.
During the 1930s, the Walther PPK pistol became popular among European police agencies and civilian shooters because it was reliable and easy to conceal, but of moderate power, according to Zaritsky.The PPK pistol retailsfor about $626 and up.
Foiling international terrorists is exhausting, stressful work, and Bond likes to relax with a high-end snack and a drink—often before a fight. In Casino Royale, Bond hits the Bahamas and orders champagne and caviar. He then quickly leaves a new lady friend and jets to Miami to pursue the bad guy.
His libations, in addition to his customary vodka martini, have included Talisker Whisky and chilled Bollinger Champagne. For munchies, 007 prefers Beluga caviar.
A bottle of Bollinger can cost around $100 to several hundred, depending on the vintage. Beluga caviar will set you back roughly $50 for a one-ounce jar or up to several hundred dollars for a larger tin.
For some fans, collecting Bond-related items is not enough. Joseph Darlington models his vacations around the Bond lifestyle. Darlington has visited hotels and other sites featured in the films such as the Ocean Club in the Bahamas as seen in Casino Royale.
Darlington has played poker and attended bartending school. He’s even bungee jumped off a dam in Switzerland - inspired by the opening scene in Goldeneye (1995). Darlington turns his Bond adventures into books, podcasts, articles and posts for his website, Being James Bond.
In the Bahamas, Ocean Club rooms cost about $500 a night, with villas around $7,950 a night, depending on dates and availability. Though not featured in a film, there’s even a Bond-themed suite at the Hotel Le Seven in Paris. Cost is from $550 a night.
Bond’s foes love to plot their evil from a yacht, and they typically prefer Sunseekers, handcrafted vessels manufactured in the United Kingdom. “To own a Sunseeker is to buy into a style and to make the ultimate lifestyle statement,” says the Sunseeker website.
Even a pre-owned, modest 74-foot yacht can set you back $3.5 million, not including shipping, staff and maintenance costs. What do they run? If you need to ask, you probably can’t afford one.
Bond girls, when they aren’t being painted in gold, are often dripping with diamonds. Vesper Lynd, heroine of both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (2008), wears an Algerian love-knot necklace designed by Sophie Harley.
An 18K gold version with diamonds retails for about $25,700, though the necklace spawned affordable knockoffs.
In the final scene of Casino Royale, Bond, seated on a yacht, stumbles on Vesper’s handbag. Revealed inside is a bottle of Santa Maria Novella perfume, which retails for about $84, according to Bond Lifestyle.
Christie’s is offering a pair of colored diamond and diamond pendant earrings and ring by Stephen Webster, and worn by actress Bérénice Marlohe as Severine in Skyfall. Christie’s estimates the jewelry at $3,100 to $4,500.
In tropical locales, Bond’s first fashion move is to don a fetching pair of swim trunks. Christie’s is offering a pair of trunks by La Perla, worn by Craig in Casino Royale. The navy and powder blue nylon trunks labeled “GrigioPerla” are made in Italy. Christie’s estimates the trunks at $4,600 to $7,500.
Christie’s is offering a two-piece suit of charcoal serge with light blue rope-stripe by Tom Ford that Craig wears in Skyfall.
“The suits are indestructible,” film costume designer Jany Temime reveals in a Skyfall videoblog.
They also look dashing with a pale blue handkerchief folded in the breast pocket. The suit estimate is $4,600 to $7,500.
From Bond’s first screen appearance he has appeared in evening dinner suits, but even 007 can learn a lesson, as he does in Casino Royale, about how to wear one.
Christie’s is featuring a two-piece dinner suit in navy wool by Tom Ford, worn by Craig in Skyfall. The single-breasted jacket features black satin lapels and a navy silk lining. The suit is estimated at $4,600 to $7,500.
Of course fans note Bond films are about much more than sartorial details. The franchise endures because their storylines are timeless—a good guy battling villains, a gentleman agent fighting for country and honor.
On the big screen, Bond acts the way fans perceive they would like to prevail, when the chips are down. Says Bond fan Darlington, “He stays with you because he’s the ideal male.”