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Five decades of James Bond gadgets and design go on display at Barbican

PUBLISHED: 11:59 05 July 2012

Halle Berry

Halle Berry

Archant

Eagerly-awaited exhibition showcases hundreds of exhibits from the films

»It has been 50 years since Sean Connery burst onto our screens as James Bond in the first instalment of the iconic franchise.

Six actors later and as filming for the 23rd film draws to a close, the story of Britain’s favourite spy’s five decades of celebrated style and design goes on display at The Barbican Centre in Silk Street.

From gadgets which were the envy of men everywhere, to the white swimming costume worn by Ursula Andress in one of cinema’s most celebrated scenes, several hundred exhibits will be showcased in Designing 007 – Fifty Years of Bond Style.

Screen icons, costumes, production design, cars, gadgets, special effects, graphics, exotic locations, weapons, stunts and props – and the design process behind them – combine to showcase Bond style over its 50-year history.

The exhibition, which opens tomorrow, is the result of the Barbican joining forces with EON Productions, which has made every one of the Bond films, fashion historian Bronwyn Cosgrave and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming, who has worked on five films in the franchise.

Ms Hemming designed all the costumes during Pierce Brosnan’s Bond tenure – including Halle Berry’s famous orange bikini – as well as those in Daniel Craig’s first film, Casino Royale, such as the famed skimpy blue swimshorts.

With her co-curators, Ms Hemming has scoured the EON archives and the rest of the world for Bond treasures to create the most comprehensive display of its kind to date.

Ms Hemming, who recently moved to the City from her home of 40 years in Bewdley Street, Islington, said: “We are sampling something from each film.

“I’m very fond of Q’s old battered briefcase which he takes around the world with him, and I really like the very early costume drawings we found in a museum in Paris.

“Grace Jones is sending over her dress from A View to A Kill and another really exciting thing is we’ve got the iconic white bikini that Ursula Andress wore in Dr No. It came from the people who bought it at an auction for something like £50,000 to £60,000. It has now arrived, very old and battered.

“For the very early films, we’ve had to recreate some of the costumes and scenes, as not many of them were kept.”

Her recreated items include the trunks Sean Connery wore in Thunderball and the suit he donned when he first appeared as Bond in Dr No; Goldfinger’s golden dinner jacket and Pussy Galore’s golden waistcoat.

Vehicles and gadgets on display include the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 which famously returned to the screen in Goldeneye, Pierce Brosnan’s BMW motorcycle from Tomorrow Never Dies and the attaché case featured in From Russia with Love.

Ms Hemming added: “I think people will learn something new. They will understand how scenes were arrived at, for example that the briefcase that character walks across the scene carrying wasn’t just bought from a shop, but how designers had to work to create it.”

The exhibition is open daily from 11am to 8pm (10pm on Thursdays) until September 5, when it will go on a three-year international tour.

- Standard tickets cost £12 and can be bought from www.barbican.org.uk

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