Bond girl glamour is timeless. The irresistible combination of style and charm makes her more than a match for 007 – as accomplice or foe. So captivating are these women that buyers are prepared to spend a small fortune on items that were part of their seductive arsenal.
Solitaire’s tarot cards from Live and Let Die – shuffled by Jane Seymour’s long, pale fingers – sold at auction for £30,000 in 2012. Honey Ryder’s legendary white bikini from Dr No sold for £35,000 in 2001. Bond-girl memorabilia casts a strong spell, but her jewellery is perhaps the most bewitching of all. For the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, fashionable 1960s jeweller Charles de Temple created a two-tone gold wedding ring for Bond’s bride, Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo. The unique design spelled out part of the words from Louis Armstrong’s song We Have All the Time in the World, the romantic leitmotif from the movie’s score.
The most dazzling of Bond-girl treasures was created for Ursula Andress (pictured) by Grima jewellers: a stunning Lei necklace, winner of the De Beers Diamonds International Awards in 1965 and consisting of gold textured wire set with 16.84 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds. In 2011 Jojo Grima recreated this design (price on request) in a one-off edition. Grima creations continue to be highly sought after and the cocktail rings are some of the most exquisite designs I’ve ever seen: cabochon moonstones, harlequin opals and green tourmalines all surrounded by pavé-set diamonds. Grima has a fascinating heritage and counted members of the original 1960s jet set – such as Jackie Onassis, Princess Margaret and Estée Lauder – as admirers. This is conversation-piece jewellery at its most polished.
The sartorial style of Bond girls was no less high octane. Embellished gowns and sequin capes float across the screen for as long as 007 can resist the women wearing them. The Bond connection adds a certain mystique that continues to resonate with today’s fashionistas: for her 30th birthday celebrations, Kate Moss wore the same midnight-blue paillette dress that Britt Ekland wore to the London premiere of The Man With the Golden Gun in 1974.
Phoenix-based Vintage Fashion has an original 1960s Donald Brooks design for sale that would suit Domino’s monochrome wardrobe in Thunderball, featuring a plunging neckline festooned with giant Swarovski crystals ($1,800). To emulate Solitaire’s more bohemian look, the boutique has a 1960s Jean Patou kaftan in emerald-green silk ($7,500). Dr Kananga would surely approve. These garments retain their allure thanks to their impeccable craftsmanship and – despite the artistry of modern designer collections – there is something irreplaceably chic about original vintage dresses.
Bond-girl style amounts to much more than suggestive names and furtive backgrounds. Whether ally or villainess – and usually lover, regardless – these women express a particular kind of glamour that is best experienced through the uniquely beautiful clothes and jewellery of their time.