Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Design: Bond's Look at the Barbican (if you can find it)
Designing 007, Fifty Years of Bond Style commemorates the designs, fashion and brouhaha that goes with the worlds most successful movie franchise. It is currently at the Barbican before touring the world, and I suspect that other venues will do it more justice than the three confusing rooms of the Barbican; with each less successful than the previous. You receive a stamp for each room and if you manage to find everything you should get a reward. The second area is a showcase for the styles created for Bond villains but all the pieces are behind glass boxes that all look alike and face different directions. You will find the bathrooms before finding all the boxes. And in the third room it is unfortunate that the centrepiece is the ice hotel that looked cheap in the film Die Another Day let alone up close. It is a film in the franchise best remembered for the worst CGI in film history. Given the room also includes a large screen showing edited highlights from it, you will not want to stay long.
Overall the exhibition is a mix of set designs, scripts, notes, interviews and fashion. And it is the fashion from the films that makes for most interesting part of the exhibition. The collection of suits and outfits worn by Bond and other characters highlight the trends and trendsetting nature of the films. It also is an insight in to how collaboration with directors, designers and actors created some unforgettable images, such as Ursula Andress in a white bikini that was roughly put together to flatter her frame. And those swimming trunks worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, which were inspired by a less revealing pair Sean Connery wore in Thunderball. The latter have been recreated for the exhibition.
With gadgets, suits, outrageous dresses and spectacular set designs, there is something here for film geeks, Bond fans and people mildly interested in the enduring series. If you can find it all... It runs until early September and then will tour the world... Expect queues to see it...