Fashioning James Bond

We host a wide variety of events in our libraries, both online and in person for residents and visitors in Kensington and Chelsea. And colleagues who work for the council like to come along too.

Elrica, who works for the borough, came along to Kensington Central Library last month to hear author, Llewella Chapman, speak about her book on the history of the costumes and fashions in the James Bond films. Over to Elrica to hear more…

Author Llewella Chapman

Who would’ve thought that Kensington and Chelsea would be the place to be for Bond-related events? It wasn’t that long ago when we had the world premiere of No Time To Die at the Royal Albert Hall. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of attending Llewella Chapman’s book launch at Kensington Central Library. Fashioning James Bond is Chapman’s contribution that analyses how womenswear and menswear within the Bond films as iconic as the screenplay themselves.

Elrica’s photo from the night

In her talk, she explained that there are three core themes that she approached the subject matter: the agency of the actors and actresses, as well as the costume designers behind-the-scenes; the hidden labour involved in developing the costumes; and the costumes themselves. Her being a trained costume designer, she has a first-hand understanding of the work involved to use clothing to make characters more visible than others, and that there is a lot of decision-making that is not always credited.

Chapman explained how it took around seven years to conduct her research; her book is a scholarly synthesis of a variety of in-person and online archives and sources. It shows that there is a great history to be unravelled in how and what decisions were made that led to some of the most ‘iconic cinema graphics’. I was amazed at the wealth of information she read and analysed in order to write her book, more so given that she used the ‘old-school’ notebook and paper method to note down her insights.

I am excited to read her piece of work, more so being able to have had the chance to see Chapman speak so openly. During the pandemic, we have not had the opportunity to attend in-person book talks, and I am grateful for hearing Chapman speak. It was evident from her talk of the passion she holds for the Bond costumes and the people that were able to make them become the ‘icons’ themselves.

If you missed the event, don’t worry as Llewella Chapman is back on Friday 11 February to tell us how James Bond got his style from the tailors of Westminster. There’s more info and you can book a place on Eventbrite.

Many thanks to Elrica for coming along and her blog post, we’re glad she enjoyed the event! If you’d like to keep up to date with what’s happening in our libraries do subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Bond behind the scenes

Last week we had a reading list from the staff at Brompton Library all about Young James Bond. This week they’re back with a collection of books that take us behind the scenes of Britain’s most successful action movie series.

Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films

Following the highs and lows of the Bond film franchise from when it started in the 1960s up to its present day resurgence in popularity. Drawing on hundreds of previously unpublished interviews with cast and crew, a definitive guide for all fans.

Bond on Bond

Who better to give an inside look at the Bond films than everyone’s favourite Bond, Roger Moore. Giving us his inside view with his inimitable charm and charisma, Moore talks us through all the bond films and his involvement in them. Accompanied by many great shots of the gadgets, the cars and the Bonds’ themselves on the set and behind the scenes, this is the ultimate James Bond guide written by the ultimate Bond.

Blood, Sweat and Bond: Behind the Scenes of Spectre

A photographic account of the filming of Spectre with many great shots of the sets, the fight scenes and the actors at work and at play. There are also little bits of information about costumes, sets and shooting, as well as quotes from cast and crew. A beautiful book to savour over long after the film is finished.

We’ll be back with more reading lists soon, and do let us know (in the comments below) if Roger Moore isn’t your favourite Bond…

The staff at Brompton Library

Young James Bond

The staff at Brompton Library, after a well-deserved Christmas break, are back with some more reading lists – this time they’re about Bond, James Bond…

The last Ian Fleming Bond stories to be published was in 1966, two years after the writer’s death. Did you know that since then, there have been over 30 Bond novels and stories written by other authors including Kingsley Amis and Anthony Horowitz?

Not only that, but writer Charlie Higson has also created as series of novels based on the early life of the spy during his school years at Eton. Critics immediately dismissed the idea that the Young Bond novels would do justice to the iconic character of Bond but, after the publication of SilverFin, the first in the series, the critics were silenced and the whole series went on to achieve great success, including being made into a game and a series of graphic novels. There is even talk of a film being made, although this has not yet been confirmed. Charlie Higson has always said that he wanted to stay true to Ian Fleming’s vision of Bond and has only read the Fleming’s Bond stories.

Here is a summary of each of his Young Bond novels, all of which are available in our libraries in a range of formats from graphic novels to audiobooks, as well as paperbacks.

SilverFin

It’s James’ first day at Eton and he soon makes friends, and enemies. During the summer break he visits Scotland where he meets a boy called Red Kelly who’s looking for his missing cousin. They venture up the hill to Lake Silverfin where the adventure is just beginning.

Blood Fever

Back at Eton, James is now a member of a secret risk-taking club known as the Danger Society and one of his classmate’s family has gone missing. The summer brings more mystery and adventure when he travels to Sardinia on a field trip with one of his professors. He discovers another secret society known as the Millenia, a society who want to restore the Roman Empire. Is there a connection? Only Bond will find out…

Double or Die

Set entirely in England during Christmas, when a professor is kidnapped at gun point, a suspicious letter full of cryptic clues arrives at Eton leading Bond into the darkest corners of London. Once he as solved the clues, he has just forty-eight hours to save not just the professor, but the future of the rest of the world. Classic bond with Russian villains, a casino scene and a car chase, but will he get the girl in the end?

Hurricane Gold

Only danger is guaranteed in the exhilarating chase set in the Mexican jungle. Taken out of school by his aunt, James relaxes in the Mexican sun. When his aunt leaves him with the children of war hero Jack Stone, they get caught up in a political storm with gangsters, stolen government documents and a chase that leads to a Caribbean island.

By Royal Command

Following a treacherous Alpine rescue mission, Bond is back at Eton. All is not as it seems though, as his every move is being watched. He holds the clue to a sinister plot that will bring bloodshed and carnage to his school and his country. The only solution is to flee to Austria with only a beautiful but dangerous girl by his side. A nightmare reunion with a bitter enemy once again plunges him into the face of death.

We hope you enjoyed this, we’ll be back next week with more Bond books.

Staff at Brompton Library