For James Bond fans, Skyfall is tough to beat. A great story, a memorable villain, a complex and humanized Bond and, of course, the triumphant return of the DB5.
For menswear fans though, the 23rd installment of the franchise is like a style Mt. Everest, one that is almost impossible to top. (Seriously, how many navy blue tuxes have you seen on the red carpet since?)
Thankfully Jany Temime, the mastermind behind Skyfall's brilliant style, is back for another round, having designed all of the costumes for James Bond 24, a.k.a. Spectre. We spoke with the legendary French costume designer, whose resume also includes Harry Potter, about collaborating with Tom Ford, the minimalist style of Christoph Waltz's villain, and how many suits it takes to shoot a 007 action scene.
This is your second collaboration with Tom Ford on a Bond film, who seems like a natural fit for 007's elegant style. What is it like working with him?
It's very nice for me because I can design what I want and he just does what I like. Because he's a director himself, he very much respects the role of the costume designer. So he manufactures everything I need for the film – the shoes, the suits, the shirts, and one of the outfits for the snow – and doesn't push his own ideas. And that's a wonderful collaboration. What we do is, I design what I like, then I show him what I want, and then choose the fabric from his own collection, because he has great fabric. Then he manufactures what we need, and all of the fittings are done by his Italian tailors. We have two fittings with his Italian tailors, and that's how it works. And then after that he just sends me an email saying I did a good job, or when he doesn't send me an email, it's because… [Laughs.] No, but it's a fantastic collaboration because it shows a lot of respect for my work, which is very different than fashion.
How difficult is it to design a suit that holds up during the action sequences?
Well, for every single action sequence we have a different stunt man. Usually Daniel [Craig] has a stunt double for everything, so it's not the same guy who is driving the fast car, or riding the motorcycle, or jumping from the building. Each one of those stunts has a different type, so we have to make the suit in different sizes, and then we have to prepare them. So for instance, when it's playing from the back, we have to reinforce the back. When he is running, we put some special fabric between the legs so he can run faster. And we make the hem of the trousers longer. Everything is prepared for the stunt that has to be performed.
How many suits do you have to make for each action scene?
We have up to 30 suits, which is what takes up a huge amount of the costumes that we have. Like with the white tuxedo, because of the fight scene, we had like 20 white tuxedos in five sizes for Daniel and all of the stunt men.
Speaking of the white tuxedo, it's such a great throwback style moment for Bond. Was that intentional?
Yes, we were shooting for the white tuxedo jacket, but I was very afraid. Because I thought the tuxedo in Skyfall was so beautiful, it's going to be hard for me to do something better. But I didn't want to go back to a dark tuxedo again, because I really thought the one for Skyfall was perfect. So I thought I had to go in another direction. And then luckily we were shooting in Morocco, and the minute I thought Morocco, I had that scene in Casablanca in mind, and all of the romance of that country. And the vintage look of that film with Humphrey Bogart, and immediately I thought, yes, it had to be a white tuxedo. And I think that a white tuxedo looks so good on any man.
Bond has such a specific framework in terms of his style, is it challenging to keep things fresh because of that?
The character of James Bond is one of a very confident man. Very well prepared, sure of himself, very well groomed. When you take that on board, you can really design a little bit of whatever you want. Because as long you catch the essence of the character, then the rest is just taking into account the location and the story.
What was your process in designing Christoph Waltz's costumes, obviously his character is very different from Javier Bardem's in Skyfall?
Well, I didn't want to again do a very colourful villain. Because Christoph Waltz is a very introverted man. And his character is also very introverted. I thought that he's so devious and so bad that I'm going to make him extremely minimalist. Because his character is beyond horrific, so it doesn't need much. Everything comes from the inside out. So I sort of refused more and more and more, because I thought that his personality would shine through, and that was enough. The bad he is playing is in his natural form.
Was there one piece in particular that you really loved in this film?
You know, every single costume was a challenge in this film, because we were shooting in different locations. It was not like you go in and default to one costume. Every single scene in every location involved another costume in another decor, another setting. Like the ski outfit, which was a great challenge because I didn't want to have it be boxy. I wanted to have something really smooth, and I was very pleased to find the trouser that Tom Ford made for it. I was very happy with the design of that jacket. But my favorite is the white tuxedo. When I think about it, it was a victory for me because I was really stuck after the lovely dark blue tuxedo from Skyfall. But I must say, I am completely in love with that white tuxedo.
This article was originally published on Esquire.com