Fifty years ago this October, James Bond began to make movie history. I don’t know about you, but I, regardless of many disappointments, am looking forward to every new Bond movie. So I’ve decided to celebrate Bond’s style here in the journal as well, starting with a Bond girl, the best and certainly the most stylish one in my opinion. Eva Green was perfect for playing the complex character of enigmatic and seductive beauty Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (she won the BAFTA Rising Star Award for her role) opposite Daniel Craig. She’s the first Bond girl written by Ian Flemming, different from all the others: “she’s the only woman that Bond falls in love with, and she shapes him and she’s going to have a great impact on his life. He’s going to become the Bond that we know, and that makes it interesting,” said Eva Green about her character.
Casino Royale informed new beginnings on the Bond franchise, from a revised Bond, both physical and sensitive, to the refashion of another key element, the Bond girl, who is becoming more and more an equal to Bond. Vesper Lynd is a much more developed character than many of the Bond girls from the previous films, and throughout the film, she goes through a complete character arc. Her costumes, supervised by Lindy Hemming are a visual representation of the path she is taking emotionally.
We don’t get to meet Vesper until midday through the film. The encounter between 007 and Lynd takes place on the train to Montenegro and her initial costuming consists of a polished black suit with high collar. She is composed and formal, and she reinforces this idea with her second look, a black Alexander McQueen trench coat, light coloured skirt suit and wide black belt. An Algerian Love Knot necklace, designed by Sophie Harley, completes both looks, and it will accompany her throughout much of the film, until a pivotal moment in the story.
In the evening of the poker game, Bond brings Lynd a dark purple Roberto Cavalli dress. He says that she needs to look amazing when she comes down so that all the players will have their eyes on her instead of their cards. “Can you do that for me?,” he asks. “I’ll try,” she answers. Only that, a little later, Bond finds a tuxedo on his bed, which Lynd got for him. It is a tuxedo that fits Bond like a glove, an accomplishment made possible by Vesper’s ability of “sizing” Bond up visually, she mentions. They are both playing their game, and their clothing, in the case of both of them, is part of the game.
When she arrives at the poker game, she is wearing the evening gown – bias cut, plunging neckline, low open back, clinging to her body. In her attractive dress and with her hair long (a much more feminine hair-do than the one she had the first two times we see her), she is a sight to be seen. But instead of entering the room from behind Bond, as she had been instructed by him, so that she would capture the interest and attention of the rest of the players, she enters from the opposite direction so that Bond sees her first. She plants a kiss on him and only then do the other players notice her. She is playing the game all right, but she is playing it by her own rules. So the dress, as alluring as it may be, plays another role, revealing its wearer’s personality and strength of character. Moreover, later on, after the fight and killing of their attacker, Obanno, take an emotional toll on Vesper and she is shown in the shower with the water running over her, the dress serves as a cover up. The dark purple colour fades off, seemingly becoming even darker, and in no way does it distract the viewer’s attention from the scene, keeping the focus on the psychological effects that the recent actions had on the character. On the contrary, Bond is wearing a white shirt, which becomes transparent when wet, shifting the visual attention to him.
The poker game is resumed the following evening, and this time Lynd appears in a black Versace gown with a low neckline and wide straps criss-crossed on the open back. She is however not wearing her hair loose anymore, but intricately made up. She is composed and formal again, despite the alluring dress. Later on, when she saves Bond’s life, it’s clear that her skills as a viable partner to Bond can not be contested.
The rest of her outfits include a mariniere top (to which she wears a pair of Versace sunglasses), a knee-length ladylike green dress and a most suggestive red wrap dress that she wears in her final scene. All three looks are a departure from the businesslike aesthetic of her former costumes, but especially so the red dress (when the omnipresent necklace from around her neck finally comes off)(her hair loose again), a sign of the new-found love and freedom. The clothes however never take center role, they only complete the character and help the viewer see beyond the surface.
Vesper Lynd is the ultimate Bond woman: beautiful, sophisticated, clever, mysterious, as complex as it gets, and her wardrobe is the only Bond girl wardrobe elegant and elevated enough to stand up to James Bond’s, a sign of the importance she plays in his life: they are a team.