Is N.Peal Cashmere-ing in on James Bond?

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On Global James Bond Day, N.Peal announced their latest cashmere collection, a collaboration with the James Bond franchise. How did this news go down with Bond fans, what were the highlights from the collection and is it now becoming an expensive hobby to be a Bond fan? 

After I received the news I immediately called up my James Bond style correspondent (that's how he likes to be called by the way) Peter Brooker, editor of From Tailors With Love. Of course he was at the event hosted at N.Peal in Burlington Arcade. 

Here are some of the exchanges we had. 

Pete, talk to me about N.Peal the brand. How has N.Peal got involved with the James Bond franchise? 

N.Peal first appeared in the Skyfall. When Bond returns home to his Scottish lodgings (Skyfall) he substitutes his Tom Ford suit for a Barbour Jacket and N.Peal Cashmere sweater. The costume department wanted a very visceral blue to bring out the colour of Daniels eyes. 

Another 3 N.Peal sweaters turn up in Spectre. Two mock turtles, one featured on the teaser poster. He is also wearing that at the end when he's takes down an entire helicopter with his Walther PPK. The second he wears when he rocks up in Austria and tells Madeline Swann he's the best chance she has of staying alive. I don't know she's even doubting him. He's just driven a plane through a log shed to save her. 

Oh and the third is that cable roll neck one he wore when he played mind-chess with Mr White. 

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Got it. So what's unique about this collection? Do you approve? 

Adam Holdsworth, the Managing Director of N.Peal is a huge James Bond fan. Even before they got involved with the franchise. So this collection has been done with candour. It's been done with a huge heart and it's integrated some very neat outfits that span the entire series. When people think Bond they might think Roger Moore safari jackets, Daniel Craig in Tom Ford suits, or Sean Connery in a 3-piece glen check suit. 

But there's been so many other great outfits worn by Bond over the years. 

Haven't Orlebar Brown already covered this? Is this just EON cashing in? 

Orlebar Brown released a great collection. They really got people talking and made some ballsy choices with their collection. The Piped Blouson Jacket from A View to a Kill for example. I love that jacket, I have it. But few people even talk about that movie let alone that outfit. What a stroke of genius. 

But what N.Peal has done here is something completely different. For a start N.Peal only produce Cashmere products, so you're not going to see any towelling Onesies here. It might be a bit more conservative, arguably more practical, but they've covered all the Bonds. Timothy Dalton is largely considered the closest Bond to Fleming's Bond, but is never rated as one of the best. Even Dalton is recognised in this collection, so there is something for everyone. 

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What about the price point? You say it's for everyone but can everyone afford this? 

You have to consider that these are luxury products. Much like you'd have to pay extra for a luxury fabric in a tailors. Cashmere is one of the most desired luxury fabrics in the world. N.Peal source only the best Cashmere and ethically from Inner Mongolia where it's widely recognised the best Cashmere can be sourced. 

What do you recommend from the collection? 

I've got the Knitted Navy Jacket, Waistcoat and Navy Tie from the Goldfinger suite. It's classy, it's really elegant and the fit on me is perfect. A classic look that has endured, perfect for our upcoming winter months.


 

Worthy of Bond | Brands We'd Like to See James Bond Wear

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What brands are synonymous with the cinematic James Bond? Typically they'd be British. They'd be handmade but ultimately, they'd be luxurious and denote quality. 

Today I want to talk about the brands Worthy of James Bond. I had a long chat with my friend Peter Brooker who has just launched a brand new website dedicated towards the style of James Bond, From Tailors With Love

He has also started a hashtag #worthyofbond highlighting brands he deems worthy of being in the franchise. Using brands from that Hashtag we cobbled a list together and welcome your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below. 

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HEMINGSWORTH

A relative new comer to the fashion industry but already making some serious waves. Hemingsworth started making tailored swim shorts for gentleman looking to look stylish in and out of the pool. 

Manufactured and designed in the UK and of course modelled by my good friend Peter Brooker who surely must be in the running for a casting call by EON himself someday? 

Didn't Lazenby start out as an underwear model? 

SMYTHSON 

The heritage Bond Stationary and leather goods brand founded in 1887. Influential figures from Sigmund Freud to Sir Winston Churchill, recognised the timeless purity of their goods so why not add Bond to that list. 

Bond has used Louis Vuitton luggage before when he visited Chateau Chantilly in A View to a Kill. More recently he carries a Globe-Trotter Original Brown suitcase in SPECTRE.

I think Bond could mix it up a little. Surely a man with as many stamps in his passport as Bond would have some back-up luggage for worst case scenarios. 

LONDON SOCK CO 

As worn by Daniel Craig so I'm lead to believe. You may have also heard me wax lyrical about the London Sock Co company in a previous article on my blog. 

It's a great gifting item because you can record a 60 second video (displayed within the box) that will make you feel like a super spy. 

OLIVER SPENCER 

Oliver Spencer offers great casual wear, and features UK design with around 40% of the collection is made in England. I think Bond would have championed his plucky spirit, abandoning his education in favour of opening a stall at Portobello Market. The kind of entrepreneurial spirit on which this country was founded. 

HAWKINS AND SHEPHERD 

And lastly but leastly! Whilst we're talking about entrepreneurial spirit. Whilst we're talking luxury and British design? My Hawkins & Shepherd shirts are made of the finest quality cotton. With some of my new range being a mix of cashmere and cotton. 

I do a range of Tab Collar shirts, a look favoured by Daniel Craig in the photos we saw when Prince Charles went to visit him at the Pinewood Studios. Make sure to check out the video I did with my friend and co-host of the From Tailors With Love podcast Pete Brooker on what makes a quality shirt. (You might find an amazing discount code tucked away in the show notes). 

Get in Shape Like James Bond: Nutrition & Diet

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If you've caught my Instagram stories of late you would have seen I've been investing in some new cook books. Nutrition is going to be a massive thing for me in the year 2019 and today I want to talk about one man’s diet in particular, James Bond.

You may have seen stories circling the press recently about Daniel Craig giving up drink in preparation for the role of James Bond. (Although he was seen drinking Stella at the golden Globes right?) Truth is he would have been getting into shape for Bond 25 months ago.

Today I want to talk a little bit about nutrition and what you can be implementing in your diet.

PROTEIN

We all know that protein is a must when it comes to developing and packing on more muscle. Simon Waterson (Daniel Craig's trainer) will attest that you should marry the amount of protein you eat with the weight you aspire to be.

Your protein diet should consist of skinless chicken, eggs (the literary Bond loved his eggs) kale and of course, protein supplements.

I also have a lot of red meat from the grill, this is an excellent source of protein but of course, not everyone will prescribe to eating red meat in today's society.

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SNACK FOOD

It's nuts, its low sugar fruit. Almonds have a great sweet taste, that will nullify your sugar craving and provide your body with some Omega 3's.

I wish I knew back then what I know now about fruit. Juices, even freshly squeezed juices are packed high in sugar. It peaks your blood sugar levels and your body is thrown off course. I tend to keep it simple. Eat apples, get the fibre and the natural sugar.

They're also good for your teeth. Bond has amazing teeth in all his films. In the novels Bond had a 160- a day smoking habit, Moorlands being his favourite. I bet he had teeth like one of those case studies they put on a pack of cigarettes.

REBEL BOND

In the movie Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery gets ordered to Shrublands to undertake a detox. However, he does manage to sneak in a whole suitcase filled with naughty treats. One of which being Foie gras. This is a misstep as Roger Moore actively campaigned against the use of Foie gras claiming it cruel and inhumane.

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GLUTEN 

Bond loved to lather up his huge chunks of bread with marmalade. The word is out on bread, it bloats you, it doesn't move around your body well. To substitute this I've moved over to sun-seed bread. It's a bit tough, it's like Ryvita’s but it's wholesome and plugs that bread gap. Available in all supermarkets apart from mini Co-Ops it appears.

BOOZE

'How much do you drink?' - Madeline Swan

'Too much'. - Bond.

Love that line from Spectre. But how true. The calories and the sugar content in alcohol can be off the chart. And please don't think you're dodging that bullet by ordering a slim line tonic for your Vodka.

Just remember Bond only gets drunk in the movies once. Considering how much he drinks, that's quite a feat.

That's it for now. Remember working out is important, especially if you're going heavy on the protein. But nutrition is about 2\3rds of the battle. Let me know your thoughts and how you're getting on with your 2019 body goals.

 

MASON AND SONS | Tailoring House of James Bond

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The company that has single handedly resurrected the original tailoring house of James Bond. Mason & Sons are an established e-tailor that house many concessions from established British fashion houses such as John Smedley, Baracuta and Fred Perry to name but a few.

They also provide a bespoke service run by appointment only from their Headquarters in Montagu Square, the very building where John and Yoko resided in the 60’s and was subsequently owned by Ringo Starr.

It’s argued that the brands USP is their ownership and revival of classic heritage brands such as Mr Fish and the original tailor to James Bond himself, Anthony Sinclair.

I reached out to Elliot Mason (the ‘sons’ of Mason & Sons) and asked him how they managed to acquire the lost brand and what are the younger generation looking for when it comes to tailoring.

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How did Richard Payne, an early apprentice of Anthony Sinclair get to inherit the Anthony Sinclair brand?

In the 1980's Anthony handed down the keys to his shop and his shears to his apprentice Richard Payne. Richard was there when Anthony was making suits for Connery, he knows all the tales and legends of Sinclair.

When Anthony passed away Richard carried on the business, cutting suits with the Anthony Sinclair label in, this went on for many years. Sadly, Richard fell ill and for years, the company fell dormant. When Richard was fighting fit again some years later he started cutting suits but putting his own name in.

 

How did your father David Mason get to meet Richard Payne and inherit the brand from him? 

My father was on Savile row and they (Richard and David) followed each other round the tailoring houses and they became quite good friends, and in 11’12 Richard unearthed how he was Anthony’s apprentice and owner of the business.

My father obviously couldn’t believe this and encouraged Richard to start up again and in 2012 together they relaunched. That same year the barbican announced the exhibition ‘50 years of Bond Style’ and went on its world tour. EON productions approached Richard and my father to recreate the Dr. NO midnight blue dinner suit and the Goldfinger suit.

 

How did they get blueprints to replicate the suits?

Well funnily enough there was one customer of my fathers who owned a suit from You Only Live Twice. It was a light grey suit in a herringbone and Holland and Sherry still make the same cloth because we’ve made them for a few other customers.

So Richard was able take the pattern from that suit, it was an original Connery suit. I don’t know how many are still alive, maybe one of two suits that are still in existence or that anybody knows where they are.

 

Are the younger clientele looking to dress more Connery?

For the past 3-4 years any of my friends that would need a suit for interviews would come in and ask for the conduit cut. They are taking inspiration from the way Connery dress. (Elliot is 25).

Nowadays most men want a slimmer fit, suppressed waist, less flare in the skirt, less drape in the chest, in the past 6-9 months its going the other way. Our clients want less fitted trousers. They’re adding pleats to their trousers, pleated trousers always have a wider fit. People don’t want the shrink to fit in the jacket so there is more drape in the chest. It’s going backwards, these things are cyclical, we’re almost at a halfway house between Connery-Craig, and its going towards Connery in terms for fit. 

They tend to take some time, so you’re see them on  the catwalk, pleats on the catwalk but will take some time to hit the high street.

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Can you give me an update on the Mr Fish collection please? I noticed it’s not on your website anymore.

Our first collection on Mason & Sons was a collection of printed shirts and we sold out. Then we did a collaborative version, that was always going to be for a limited time, now all those styles are available under the Mason & Sons label.

We are currently working on a new collection of Mr Fish ready-to-wear whilst working on bespoke orders for customers. More Mr Fish tailoring will revolve around double breasted garments. 

Michael sadly passed away last year in August. We are very much in contact with his family and they are in full support of what we’re doing.

 

Who is your favourite Bond when it comes to style?

Outside of Sean Connery it would be late Sir Roger Moore, he came to Montagu square, we made his clothes for his last few years of his life. I had the pleasure of answering the door and letting him.

My favourite scene is Goldfinger when he’s about to be chopped in half. The glen check 3 piece is the most iconic and is my favourite. Also in that film, he wears the casual long sleeve black polo that is very similar to the one John Smedley does now. So elegant.

 

And the next thing for Mason & Sons?

The next thing for us we’re remaking the barleycorn hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. It’s taken a very long time to perfect, but it’s there. We’ll do made to order for our customers.   

Catch the full interview with Elliot Mason on the From Tailors With Love Podcast available to download now in iTunes. 

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From Tailors With Love – The New Podcast Dedicated to the Style of James Bond

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Recently launched, From Tailors With Love is a new podcast available on iTunes that's dedicated to the style of James Bond, hosted by my good mate Pete Brooker from Human Research and editor of The Suits of James Bond, Matt Spaiser. 

Not only do they talk about the suits from the James Bond films, but they also do news bulletins from all the brands associated with the James Bond franchise and educate the listeners on the fabrics, the weaves, the patterns and the cuts of the suits worn by the cast. 

In the latest episode Matt and Pete talk about the Brioni suits that both Tom Cruise and Dwayne Johnson wore to their respected premieres. Mission Impossible Fallout and Skyscraper. Brioni provided the suits for the Bond franchise from Goldeneye up until and including Casino Royale

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Dwayne Johnson is wearing a silk and linen blend bespoke suit estimated to be worth $10,000 whilst Tom Cruise opted for a 3-piece midnight blue single breasted Brioni suit. Interesting features are the 6 button waist coat, not often seen or encouraged on short men. However, Tom looks the absolute business here. 

About the podcast Pete Brooker told me:

"It's a lot of fun to do. It combines two of my favourite things, fashion and James Bond films. Matt is really the authority and I'm just happy to play second wheel, chiming in with the odd crass reference about Bond boning Moneypenny. 

It also gives me the excuse to talk to people within the Bond universe. For example we spoke to Adam Brown, founder and creative director of Orlebar Brown, about the new 007 Swim short collection. He gave us the exclusive on a new Bond-based collection he is releasing next Spring so that's all coming up in the next episode out mid-August". - Peter Brooker

From Tailors With Love is a fortnightly show, 30 minutes long and available every other Wednesday from iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud. 

 

Top 5 Awesome Bond Locations just outside London

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Think of how many click bait articles about James Bond there’s been since Spectre. I think even at some stage even I was tipped to play the fictional British Secret agent. (Ok so I started that rumour, but that’s all by-the-by). After all the exacerbated hyperbole, it was recently announced that the next person to play James Bond, was the old person who played James Bond. How stunningly anticlimactic.

But one thing that remains resolute are the James Bond locations. Even if they get burnt to the ground, (like M's house in Henley from On her Majesty's Secret Service) there is still the ground itself that can be worshipped. Or the door to the ground. Or the ground leading to the door.

Here are some well-known and some lesser-known James Bond Locations around London.

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Wraysbury Lake - A View to a Kill

The film gets a couple of sniffy reviews, (not from me I might add) but this lake is a gem of a location. The lake is private - you'll need permission to get in and there is a security gate that you won't be able to negotiate no matter how determined you are.

The location is famous for the scene where Zorin and May Day pushes a 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II with a dead Tibbett and an unconscious Bond inside. It's lost the gravel upon entrance but other than that the slope into the lake is just how you'd imagine it. There is a sign by the slope entrance recognising the location and the lake itself is just idyllic.

Postcode: TW19 5EP

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Pinewood Studios - The 007 Stage

It's worth a visit even if you can't get in. The studio sign itself just brings tingles and if you poke your head over the railings you can see the John Barry Theatre which does all the screenings for various Bond meet-ups. You might want to keep your distance of about 20 yards or else a perfectly affable security guard will tell you in no uncertain terms to get back, or risk having your photos deleted forever!

Postcode: SL0 0NH

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Stoke Park  - Goldfinger

Just four miles away from Pinewood Studios, the 5-star Spa and golfing resort played host to two James Bond movies, Goldfinger (1964) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). The famous 17th and 18th hole where Bond and Goldfinger duelled it out for the purse of a gold bar are located behind the complex. If you're not a member (annual fee of £3,570 plus a joining fee of £2,500) then it takes a certain amount of tenacious sneakiness to reach. Really it's just a walk around a footpath, but you stand a better chance of penetrating the non-existent security if you stick to the Stoke Park dress code. Which means no tucking in trousers to socks or anything else camp or conspicuous.

Postcode: SL2 4PG

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Stoke Poges Church - For your Eyes Only

Whilst you're in this neck of the woods it would be criminal not to check the Stoges Church, the location for the pre-title sequence in For your Eyes Only. Roger Moore is visiting the grave of his beloved Tracy before he gets called away on a fateful mission. The church is quaint and a quick walk around the back gives you a gorgeous panoramic vista of Stoke Park.

Postcode: SL2 4NZ

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Stonor Park - The Living Daylights

Lastly Stonor Park, which has been home to the Stonor family for 850 years. It also doubled as the Bladen safe house in The Living Daylights. Acres of sublime inscrutable countryside surround this wonderfully kept stately home. Just a few hundred yards down the road you'll also find the wall where the poor milkman got strangled by Necros.

As someone within the tour party quipped, 'Why was a milkman delivering milk to a dairy farm? No wonder people say Bond is far-fetched'. Well quite.

Postcode: RG9 6HG