The Black Shawl-Collar Dinner Suit in No Time to Die
No Time to Die tries to include many of classic Bond tropes or twists on them, and it would hardly feel like a Bond film without the obligatory black tie Tuxedo scene. This time it’s for a stylish mission at a SPECTRE party in Cuba.
This dinner suit was provided to Bond by Paloma, played by Ana de Armas, just as they are preparing for their mission. She presents it in an olive Bennett Winch S.C Holdall. ‘S.C’ stands for Suit Carrier, not Simon Crompton of Permanent Style who provided the brilliant idea this product.
Of Craig’s five dinner suits in his five Bond films, this is the third one that Bond acquires last-minute without having been tailored to him. The first is in Casino Royale when Vesper Lynd provides Bond with a Brioni dinner suit in the same manner, and Bond is surprised how she bought him a tailored garment. The second is in Quantum of Solace when Bond finds a perfectly fitted Tom Ford dinner suit in a locker, and it coincidentally closely resembled the entire black tie outfit that Sean Connery wears in Dr. No.
Bond receiving and putting on his dinner jacket in Casino Royale is one of the film’s most important ‘Bond becoming Bond’ moments. When Bond receives his dinner jacket in No Time to Die, it’s a similar moment. Bond had been in retirement for five years, and with putting on this dinner jacket he’s becoming his old self again.
Craig’s Bond may have been lucky to get perfectly fitted dinner suits the first two times, but on the third occasion in No Time to Die the fit is not so perfect. It’s his overall size and has the look of a high-end ready-to-wear suit, but it does not look like it was tailored to him. The collar stands away from the neck, and the sleeves are a bit too snug, but otherwise the fit is good for a garment that was just given to him.
Seeing as all of his Tom Ford suits in No Time to Die have the same fit issues, the imperfections in the fit were likely not on purpose. Can we excuse the dinner jacket’s issues based on Bond’s in-film circumstances? No! This is James Bond and no matter how he acquires his signature dinner jacket, it should always fit him perfectly. It’s part of the mystique of the Bond films.
Costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb told in the official 007 podcast that she looked back at previous suits from the Bond films for inspiration. She had less time to plan than usual, which could be one explanation for the fit problems. She also said she had limited fabric, which was just enough for 33 examples for Craig, the stunt doubles and the deteriorated suits. She makes it sound like 33 suits was just enough and they could have benefited from having more examples.
The dinner suit is very similar to the one from Quantum of Solace. The biggest difference for the No Time to Die dinner suit is in the black fabric, which does not have the luxury of the former suit’s mohair and cashmere blend. The No Time to Die dinner suit is made of 96% wool and 4% elastane. Elastane should have been present in the too-tight suits from the last two Bond films to make up for the tightness. Elastane gives the fabric a bit of stretch, and it also can reduce wrinkling. But it also does not tailor as well, as unlike pure wool it cannot be shaped as much with an iron. The beauty of some of the Tom Ford shape is compromised with elastane.
This dinner suit is black, but in some shots in the film it looks midnight blue. This is down to cool lighting used, but unlike many black cloths, the cloth for this suit never has a brown tint under artificial lighting. It is a very rich black and signifies a high-quality cloth.
The dinner jacket is the Tom Ford ‘Atticus’ model, which has a dramatic shape with wide shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a medium-wide shawl collar and a low button stance. This is similar to the Quantum of Solace dinner jacket, and the details are similar too. The non-traditionally pick-stitched shawl collar, the jetted pockets, the gauntlet (turnback) cuffs and the covered buttons are all trimmed in black silk satin. But like the Skyfall dinner jacket, this jacket has a single vent instead of double vents. The shawl collar has a straight buttonhole like Craig’s dinner suit in Quantum of Solace has, but the buttonhole is angled upwards towards the shoulder rather than being straight across.
The black trousers have a flat front, straight narrow legs, black silk satin stripes down each outseam and a wide black silk satin waistband that is designed to take the place of a cummerbund. There are slide-buckle side-adjusters on the waistband seam.
Craig wears a white cotton poplin dress shirt from Tom Ford with a pique cotton bib. The collar and cuffs are in white poplin. It has a short point collar, ‘Dr. No’ cocktail cuffs, and a French front with mother-of-pearl buttons. There are darts in the back.
The dress shirt’s front is designed to take studs, but the buttons instead of studs mirror the buttons on the cocktail cuffs. It would have been odd to use studs on the front and not have matching cufflinks. On the other hand, buttons on the ultra-formal pique front also look odd. The shirt’s design looks a bit confused, and ideally it would have had a plain or pleated front and cocktail cuffs, or studs and double cuffs with cufflinks. But ultimately this is a matter of taste.
The black bow tie is a slim batwing. He wears a folded white pocket square. Unlike in Craig’s previous three Bond films, he does not wear a cummerbund in No Time to Die.
His black barathea braces are from Jermyn Street-retailer T.M. Lewin and are made in England by Albert Thurston. They have dual ends in black leather that allow them to be used with either buttons or clips. The clips have been removed from Craig’s braces, which is part of the native functionality of these braces. These braces are not the most sophisticated choice for black tie, but they work well because they are all black. They can serve double-duty with a dinner suit and a lounge suit. They aren’t what Bond would usually choose for black tie—they don’t resemble Bond’s previous choice for white moiré—but Bond did not choose these braces himself.
Craig wears the Crockett & Jones ‘Highbury’ three-eyelet plain-toe derby shoe with his dinner suit, reviving the derby shoe for black tie like he did in Casino Royale. The shoe in black calf rather than patent leather is not the most traditional choice for black tie, but Bond wearing derby shoes for black tie goes back to the Connery era. The long, plain toe has an elegant look that befits a dinner suit. The shoe has a black Crockett & Jones’ Dainite ‘City’ sole, which is a trim rubber sole that has textured circles on the bottom. It has the perfect combination of elegance and grip for James Bond’s action sequences.
The dinner suit could easily pass for the Quantum of Solace dinner suit. Many of the clothes in No Time to Die can pass for clothes that Craig wore in previous films, which follows the film’s theme of being the connective tissue that ties up the loose ends of all of Craig’s Bond films. Though the film has a new costume designer in Suttirat Anne Larlarb, she carefully makes sure that Bond’s wardrobe in No Time to Die looks like it belongs to the same character that was dressed by three other costume designers.
Likewise, this black tie outfit resembles something that Sean Connery could have worn as James Bond. The dinner suit resembles the Dr. No version, with a shawl collar and gauntlet cuffs. The narrow batwing bow tie is like the one Sean Connery introduced to Bond in From Russia with Love. Wearing a cocktail-cuff shirt for black tie originated with Connery in Thunderball, but before No Time to Die Bond last paired them with a dinner jacket in Moonraker 42 years earlier. Craig’s outfit not only recalls his previous Bond black tie looks but recalls other Bond looks too.