| LONDON, July 5
LONDON, July 5 Suave, sophisticated, sexist -
James Bond has meant many things to many people since he first
hit the screen 50 years ago. A new exhibition marking the big
anniversary looks at another side of the fictional secret agent
- his role as trend-setter.
"Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style" opens at London's
Barbican Centre on Friday and traces the importance of fashion
and design in the 22 official Bond movies released so far.
It is one of a series of events celebrating 50 years since
the release of "Dr. No", the first in the record-breaking film
franchise that starred Sean Connery in the main role and
launched one of the most famous characters in movie history.
Bond-mania is likely to go into overdrive when "Skyfall",
number 23 in the series and the third Bond featuring Daniel
Craig in the lead, hits theatres in October and November.
"I think it is an aspect that is sometimes overlooked, and
the show points out how influential Bond's style and design has
been through the decades," said Neil McConnon of the arts
division of Barbican International Enterprises.
He worked alongside co-curators Bronwyn Cosgrave and
Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming to put together the
exhibition, which will tour internationally over the next three
years, underlining the movies' global appeal.
"I really do think the film franchise has been ahead of is
TAILORING AND TRAVEL
As well as influencing the cut of men's suits and whetting
viewers' appetites for vintage sport cars, Bond also opened up
the world with his globe-trotting, death-defying exploits.
"The influence can also be seen in terms of tourism," said
McConnon. "Bond's exotic locations have inspired people to
travel and explore."
On display are dozens of original costumes, props, set
designs, dresses and other Bond paraphernalia, and, thanks to
the agreement of EON Productions which makes the movies, there
are film clips and audio to illustrate the exhibits in action.
Bond himself is seen as the epitome of sophisticated yet
understated style - tailored suits and tuxedos or less formal
"Bond girls" are known for everything from bikinis to
shimmering ball gowns, while villains adopt the severe look by
buttoning up their jackets to the neck.
The white bikini worn by Ursula Andress emerging from the
sea in "Dr. No", one of cinema's most celebrated scenes, has
been loaned by Planet Hollywood International to hang alongside
that worn by Halle Berry in "Die Another Day".
The curators were spoilt for choice when it came to props
and set designs.
Included is the 1964 Aston Martin DB5, the most famous Bond
car, the only surviving version of Scaramanga's golden gun that
appeared on screen in "The Man With the Golden Gun" and Ken
Adam's drawings for the set inside Fort Knox in "Goldfinger".
Oddjob's lethal hat, the actual Tarot cards used in "Live
and Let Die", ski outfits and even the model of a shark's head
from "Licence to Kill" are among the other highlights of the
show spread across 14 rooms.
The Daily Telegraph, which is a media partner on the show,
gave it four stars out of five in an early review.
While some of the exhibits were dowdy and tatty, including
"spongey tailors' dummies", "it is also a show that, despite its
flaws, anyone who has ever thrilled to a Bond movie would be
foolish to miss," wrote critic Mark Monahan.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)