Given the importance of James Bond’s art of living in both the cinematic and literary Bond incarnations I’ve always been surprised by the lack of availability of merchandise associated with the lifestyle.
Certainly there have been the odd trinkets, a martini-shaker here, a plastic cap gun there and even sunglasses named after the veritable spy; but never anything en masse, never any major line of clothing and accessories for Bond fans to indulge themselves in. Despite the absence of one uber-brand, I recently happened across evidence of the world of James Bond influencing the world of fashion. And I’m not forced to ask myself, has James Bond brought back the belt?
Summer has hit the Southern Hemisphere and people are back in the shops en masse. Personally, I never left. And it’s only through roaming various shopping blocks that I’ve noticed a the influence of James Bond upon women’s summer fashion.
It all started during a search for a bikini. Obviously the garment was not for me, but if a female friend wants my fashion opinion and in turn twirls around half naked, I’m more than happy to lend a hand. When it comes to bikinis, you can never overlook Seafolly. Available in the UK, Australia and various European countries they have a wide array of women’s beachwear. Their range is extensive, extending from the revealing string bikini to board-shorts, yet this seasons line-up included something I hadn’t noted before; the belted bikini.
Ursula Andress made the belted bikini a classic icon in James Bond’s first cinematic outing, Dr No. So classic the image, Lindy Hemming used it as the basis for Izabella Scorupco’s bikini in GoldenEye and then again for Halle Berry’s in Die Another Day. But with the belted bikini in their range, Seafolly have taken every mans fantasy a step closer to reality.
Of the bikinis in Seafolly’s range, I first came across the ‘Urban Sport’. A sexy little blue number its hipster pants sported a minimalist belt. As soon as my eyes fell upon them Andress’ exit from the Jamaican sea sprung to mind, and they were soon on my companions ‘to try on’ list.
Despite the obvious connotations that the belt evoked, the ‘Urban Sport’ line felt like it just didn’t quite reach the Bondian ideal. Perhaps it was the powder blue colour or the striped belt, but as sexy as it was, the ‘Urban Sport’ just didn’t quite reach the standard Ursula Andress had so effortlessly set.
Then I came across the ‘Diva’. Another belt sporting line, yet this one came in white with its halter neck top even sporting slight ruffles. The ‘Diva’ was it, the closest thing to the ideal, the bikini for all real world Bond Girls.
But despite the obvious prominence of belts in Seafolly’s range, it didn’t conclude that they were Bond influenced, nor that James Bond had brought back the belt. After all, I am a Bond fan and my connection between these bikinis and anything in the celluloid Bond could have all been some deep Bond induced fantasy in need of thorough psychiatric attention.
It was another shopping experience that affirmed my belief. This time, the belt featured on a skirt so short it would certainly be the zenith of every boys fantasy, were it not for the fact it was in a ghastly green colour. Despite its general lack of material, the designers had still managed to incorporate a belt. But how exactly does a skirt evoke a Bond girl image, let alone one based upon a bikini? Well, this one succeeded quite well. For the belt buckle was something you’d only have previously found on Halle Berry in Die Another Day. For unlike previously unmanufactured buckles this one formed the letter J, in the exact fashion of Berry’s.
Perhaps Bond has brought back the belt after all.