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Sunspel and James Bond : A Long-Standing Association

Sunspel-and-James-Bond---Cover

Sunspel and James Bond have been in close partners for a long time. Think of the navy polo shirt Daniel Craig wears in the 2006 iconic film, “Casino Royale” which was synonymous with the renewal of the English brand. I met Jean-Michel Bonin from Clusier, a men’s boutique located in Old Montréal to talk about it.

Jean-Michel-Bonin---Owner-Clusier

Mr. Jean-Michel Bonin, from Clusier Menswear boutique
Photo: Allen McInnis

For the Fall-Winter 2021 season, the brand continued its partnership with The Ian Fleming™ Estate to launch its Sea Island Cotton collection, inspired by Bond author Ian Fleming’s timeless style, which he passed on to his literary creation, James Bond.

The capsule collection takes classic Sunspel silhouettes and reimagines them with Fleming’s favourite fabric, Sea Island cotton. The latter is the rarest, finest and softest cotton in the world.

Who is Sunspel?

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The Riviera polo shirt and t-shirts from the Sea Island collection
Photo: Sunspel

Founded in 1860, Sunspel is an innovative and contemporary British brand. They create timeless luxury clothing for every day.

They created some of the world’s first T-shirts and spent decades perfecting the feel of cotton. Today, they’re the only British company making T-shirts in their own factory in the UK. And they do so in the same factory they’ve occupied since 1937.

The knowledge and skills they’ve acquired over the years are what makes their garments so exceptional. 
They are constantly refining their work, developing their own fabrics, both warm and cold. 
They pay attention to every detail. They know where their raw materials come from and how they are grown. 
They work closely with manufacturing partners who share their values.

They are proud of their history. But they don’t rest in the past, they use it to shape the future. Their clothes are the foundation of the modern gentleman’s wardrobe.

Sunspel and James Bond, a long story!

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James Bond (Daniel Craig) wearing a Sunspel T-shirt in Casino Royale
Photo: DANJAQ, LLC and MGM. All rights reserved.

Since Bond’s debut in the 1950s, both Fleming and his leading man have left an enduring mark on British culture. Fleming had famously exacting tastes and an appreciation of the finer things in life; traits he passed on to Bond. Fleming wore Sea Island cotton when writing at Goldeneye, his estate in Jamaica, and his literary creation, James Bond, can be found wearing Sea Island shirts and boxer shorts in Moonraker, Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sunspel and James Bond association wasn’t born yesterday!

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James Bond (Daniel Craig) wearing a grey Sunspel T-shirt in Casino Royale
Photo: DANJAQ, LLC and MGM. All rights reserved.

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James Bond (Daniel Craig) wearing a grey Sunspel T-shirt in Casino Royale
Photo: DANJAQ, LLC and MGM. All rights reserved.

The original Riviera polo shirt was created by Peter Hill, the grandson of Sunspel’s founder. Finding the pique cotton of contemporary tennis polo shirts stifling, he set out to develop a fabric that would be cool and comfortable in the hot Côte d’Azur summer sun. The result is a cotton knit that is not only lightweight, but also breathable and very soft. It was knitted on traditional lace machines in Nottingham, the cradle of England’s lace industry, and named Q (for Quality) 75. The Riviera polo shirt was born.

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Daniel Craig in the Sunspel Riviera Polo as James Bond in Casino Royale
Photo: 007.com

Originally designed for Daniel Craig for his first performance as James Bond in Casino Royale, the Sunspel Riviera polo shirt is the essence of Bond style. When Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming asked Sunspel to design a polo shirt for Craig, they started with a model they’d been producing since the 1950s. They tailored it to Craig’s exact measurements, slimming the cut in the chest and shortening the arms slightly to flatter his physique and allow him to move easily through action sequences. It’s made from sustainably sourced Supima cotton knit fabric and has a clean, contemporary aesthetic.

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James Bond (Daniel Craig) wearing a Sunspel Riviera polo shirt in Quantum of Solace
Photo: DANJAQ, LLC and MGM. All rights reserved.

The Sea Island Cotton Collection

Riviera cotton polo shirt Sea Island

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The Riviera Sea Island polo shirt in navy blue
Photo : Sunspel

The Riviera polo shirt originally dates from the 1950s, as Jean-Michel Bonin of Clusier reminds us, where a large part of the Sunspel collection can be found in Montréal. “Today’s iconic slim fit was tailored for Daniel Craig in ‘Casino Royale,’” the fashion expert tells us. Now available in Sea Island cotton, it’s more luxurious than ever.

Sea Island cotton-knit short-sleeved and long-sleeved polo shirt

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Long-sleeved polo shirts from the Sea Island collection
Photo : Sunspel

With a matte three-button closure and subtle rib detailing on the edges, it is an extraordinarily soft and breathable layer.

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A sweatshirt from the Sea Island collection
Photo : Sea Island

This is the rarest cotton in the world with the longest staple, making it extraordinarily soft. The result is a lighter, more refined version than the loopback cotton.

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James Bond (Daniel Craig) wearing a Sunspel T-shirt in Casino Royale
Photo: DANJAQ, LLC and MGM. All rights reserved.

The Sunspel collection may not be featured in the No Time to Die, but it is timeless and will certainly follow Bond on his future adventures.

The Sunspel brand is available at a number of retailers, including Clusier, Holt Renfrew, SSENSE or on the brand website for more choices.

Source : Sunspel

Adaptation : Normand Boulanger | Gentologie

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