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London’s Barbican Celebrates Bond With Style and Design Exhibition

 
This October will mark 50 years since Dr. No, the first James Bond novel adapted for the screen, made its debut. The film’s mixture of espionage, intrigue, action, exotic locales and a bit of sex, all set the standard for what audiences would expect from subsequent films in the series.
 
But the Bond movies, aside from just being movies, almost immediately carved out a niche and established themselves as a cornerstone of cold war pop culture, with each new installment in the series being a highly anticipated event. Bond quickly built an ever growing base of not just regular fans, but legions of hard-core 007 fanatics, obsessed with anything and everything Bond related.
 
And who could blame them? After all, there was so much to revere, idolize and aspire to, whether you were just a fan of spy gadgets, overly accessorized sports cars, alluring yet dangerous temptresses, the ultimate martini, or any other state-of-the-art gear that was part and parcel of the secret agent lifestyle.
 
Because Bond wasn’t just about the story and its outcome. It was the style with which he tackled and overcame every obstacle thrown his way that made audiences adore him. Equally as impressive, he always had cool stuff, and an awesome wardrobe that the average, or even way above average viewer, could only dream of.
 
And despite the fact that "state-of-the-art" has evolved exponentially over the past half century, and the changes in the great performers who have portrayed him, the distinctive, unassailable Bond style is a constant that runs through and pervades the series.
 
So it only seems appropriate that in celebration of the Bond films’ golden anniversary, London’s Barbican Centre has put together the ultimate Bond lover’s exhibition, Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style, the scope of which is so overwhelming, it might inspire fans from abroad to make a pilgrimage to London this summer, despite the fact that the city will be thoroughly mobbed out. The exhibit runs from July 6 to September 5, and then goes on an extended international tour. Its first North American venue will be Toronto's Bell Lightbox, where the exhibit will run from October 26 to January 20 next year.
 
 
Organized into 14 categories, more than 400 items are featured in the exhibition to guide viewers through the evolution of the 22 Bond films that have been produced over the past 50 years, making the film franchise the longest running in history. The next film in the series, Skyfall, will be released later this year.
 
The cornucopia of objects on display for visitors to peruse include actual costumes from various films, such as the Chesterfield overcoat and hat worn by Connery in Dr. No, Halle Berry's orange two piece swimsuit in Die Another Day, Daniel Craig's baby blue swim trunks from Casino Royale and other wardrobe created by designers Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford, Hubert de Givenchy, Miuccia Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Emanuel Ungaro and Donatella Versace, among others.
 
Prop and gadget lovers will be able to gaze upon (but probably not touch) the steel teeth from the villain Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me, and a number of iconic items bestowed upon Bond by Q including the attache case seen in From Russia with Love. Also on display are many of Bond's personal effects, including his Walther PPKs, cigarette lighter, and multiple identity documents. Other firearms featured in the exhibit include the famous golden gun used by villain Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, and the original Hasselblad gun featured in Licenced to Kill.
 
Other must-see parts of the exhibit include a life size recreation of the actress Jill Masterson covered in gold paint lying on a bed, recreating the famous scene from Goldfinger, and a replica of M's office. And to quench the visitor's thirst at the end of this Bondian odyssey, there awaits the oasis of the 007 Martini Bar to enjoy a well deserved libation in true style.
 
So for any casual fan with a healthy curiosity, or hard core devotee, this promises to be an exhibition that offers something for everyone interested in all things Bondian.
 
Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style was designed by Ab Rogers, curated by the Barbican and guest-curated by fashion historian Bronwyn Cosgrave and Oscar®-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming. The exhibition is supported by Swarovski.
 
For more information:
 
www.barbican.org.uk/bond
 
 
 

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