January 2014 Note: The swimming shorts identified as being in Thunderball discussed in this article later turned out to be no such thing, despite appearing in the Designing 007 exhibition.
In two of the three Daniel Craig Bond movies James Bond has appeared in brief scenes clad in nothing but swim shorts, but going back to the early Bond films reveals that this is nothing new. In both Casino Royale and then Skyfall 007 wears blue swimming trunks, in the first by Grigioperla and more recently in a pair by Orlebar Brown, but way back in 1965 Sean Connery wore a pair of blue swimming shorts during Thunderball.
Replica created for 50th anniversary exhibition
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the James Bond film series last year, British clothier Sunspel was approached by Eon Productions to recreate Connery’s swimming shorts for the exhibition at the Barbican. However, there was one small problem; the identity of the supplier of Connery’s Thunderball trunks are lost in the mists of time. While Sunspel became well known for their navy polo shirt worn by Bond in Casino Royale, they had actually never before tackled swim wear. However, rising to the challenge the company’s designers set to researching the styles available at the time in order to recreate them as best they could for the exhibition. According to the company, they spent months researching the kinds of a swim wear worn at the time as well knowledge of designing high quality clothes to create their first ever swim short.
Sunspel launches ‘refined’ version of the Thunderball swim shorts
As well as showing the replicas of Connery’s swimming trunks at the exhibition, Sunspel announced in May 2013 the release a refined version of the design in pale blue made from a modern fast-drying fabric. Being as they are from Sunspel, this swim short is out of the budget of many, but there are many collectors who are sure to be interested. The launch price is £120, which is €132 for those in the Eurozone or $160 in the United States. The shorts are a tailored fit with side pockets and a front pocket with a key holder, which is always very useful the beach. They are made from polyamide, which is resistant to chlorine and salt water, has a concealed zip fly, and can be adjusted by drawer cords that feature metal ends to prevent fraying.