To assemble an exhibition of Bond costumes, gadgets and props that have featured in the world's most successful film franchise, internationally-renowned fashion historian and journalist Bronwyn Cosgrave collaborated with the Oscar®-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming and experts from London's Barbican Centre. From the outset, the team's vision was clear.
"The team wanted to create an exhibition that conveyed the masterly designs which have shaped the James Bond film series and also one that conjured an exciting experience comparable to watching a Bond film. Ken Adam, the celebrated production designer who created the look of Bond for two decades, was one of the first to see the exhibition when it was originally staged at the Barbican and he gave us his blessing, which was a huge compliment. On behalf of the team behind the exhibition I can say that we are thrilled that people all over the world can experience our exhibition," said Bronwyn.
After opening in London last year and touring to Shanghai and Toronto, Australian Bond fans will have the opportunity to admire the exhibition, which is named Designing 007 – Fifty Years of Bond Style when it opens in November at the Melbourne Museum.
Victorian Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu is confident this significant event that offers a rare glimpse into the Bond legacy will be a crowd pleaser.
"I congratulate Museum Victoria and the Victorian Major Events Company on securing this tremendous exhibition exclusively for Melbourne this November. James Bond has been thrilling movie goers for more than fifty years, and his arrival in Melbourne - along with the cars, gadgets, film sets and legendary objects, will certainly be a major event. We welcome the opportunity for Victorians, and visitors from interstate and overseas, to visit Melbourne Museum and experience the extraordinary technical and creative skill that has been synonymous with the world's most famous secret agent," said Mr Baillieu.
Bronwyn, who previously worked as the Features Editor for British Vogue and is now a regular contributor to many of the world's most iconic magazines, newspapers and websites, believes that the timeless appeal of the Bond phenomenon goes back to the early Bond films, which are considered touchstones to all the films that followed and continue to be produced.
"No expense was spared making the films in the sixties and seventies and the very best designers worked on the films. Sean Connery in his Anthony Sinclair suit is the male equivalent to Audrey Hepburn in the Breakfast at Tiffany's Little Black Dress. His look epitomizes masculine chic and remains its benchmark," she said.
"Ken Adam described the on screen style as 'one step ahead of contemporary' and this has remained a constant for 007 films. So that means the look on screen almost displays to the audience what is next or what they might like to own because Bond is the ultimate aspirational male. So in terms of the costumes which have continued from the first James Bond film Dr. No to Skyfall is that the very best costumers and fashion designers have shaped the look of the film's characters. What changes is that the costumes are all as up-to-the-minute contemporary as they can be. So back in the day Hubert de Givenchy created Lois Chiles's Moonraker wardrobe and current fashion greats such as Tom Ford who has costumed Daniel Craig since Quantum of Solace works alongside the costumers. Their job is not only to assemble wardrobes for characters but to select current fashion which will not look dated when the film is released nearly two years after its making. It is not as easy as it seems."
Billed as a multi-sensory experience made possible by EON Productions granting unprecedented access to the EON archives, Bond fans will be able to admire the storyboards for Diamonds are Forever, the Anthony Sinclair overcoat worn by Sean Connery in Dr. No, the poker table from Casino Royale and multiple gadgets from Q Branch including the attaché case given to Bond in From Russia With Love. The orange bikini worn by Halle Barry in Die Another Day and Daniel Craig's sky blue trunks from Casino Royale are also part of the collection.
Vehicles and gadgets on display include the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 which famously returned to the screen in Skyfall, Pierce Brosnan's BMW motorcycle from Tomorrow Never Dies, and Pierce Brosnan's state of the art Ericsson mobile phone from Tomorrow Never Dies.
Of the 400 objects included in the exhibition, Flight Centre had to ask Bronwyn what were her favourite items.
"That is a very tough question. I have at least three - the model of Wet Nellie - the Lotus car which operated as a submarine, jaws teeth which were designed by Katarina Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick's daughter who worked in Ken Adam's art department for The Spy Who Loved Me and the midnight blue dress in which Barbara Bach as Agent XXX crossed the Sahara desert with Roger Moore's Bond in Spy. The dress was produced by Franka, a dressmaker who created clothes for Princess Anne and Ava Gardener. It is as seductive as the sequence which is one of my all time favourites," she said.
"The most precious item in the exhibition is the Tomorrow Never Dies necklace, which was conceived for Terri Hatcher to flaunt in the film by David Morris, the British jeweller. It is a decadent diamond necklace and I appealed to David Morris to lend it to us because women in James Bond films always wore real jewels."
Designing 007 – Fifty Years of Bond Style opens at the Melbourne Museum on November 1 2013.