Toronto kicked off the North American premiere of the much-anticipated Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style last Thursday night with a media preview and gala at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Officially opened on October 26, the world-class exhibition is the most comprehensive James Bond exhibit to date, and explores the craft and back story of the classic series’ intriguing villains and femme fatales, tailoring and costumes, set and production design, gadgets and special effects. Of course the occasion drew an assortment of the city’s suave Bond-esque men and accompanying little black dress-clad femme fatales. The TIFF Lightbox was dressed to the occasion, offering a luxurious setting to display five decades of Bond.
After a cocktail (there were no shortage of martinis), the evening officially began with a special presentation that included a discussion of the exhibit by Jesse Wente, head of film programs at TIFF Bell Lightbox. He outlined some of the talking points the audience would later find in the exhibit, like Solitaire’s dress, the golden gun with the bullets etched with 007, and Oddjob’s razor-edged hat. A special performance included the still pint-sized Sheena Easton, who performed the hit title track theme song for 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, and later sat down for an interview where she talked everything from awkward on-set Bond moments to declining offers from Playboy.
The party continued through the sprawling multi-level space, which featured a third floor VIP area complete with an oyster bar, a second floor that housed a golden cocktail lounge with shimmery gold costume-clad dancers, tables draped in gold cloths and gold wallpaper and even a casino area discreetly tucked away on the floor’s east end. Other highlights included the beloved photo booth and Kobo Ice lounge that featured snow cones made with your personal choice of liquor.
The main floor featured the exhibit, highlights of which included a recreation of Jill Masterson’s golden body that looked so lifelike we initially thought it was a real person, an assortment of actual costumes and storyboards, and the poker table from Casino Royale. Not far from the exhibit’s entrance, an impressive multi-person live band, “The Big Sound,” played classic James Bond theme songs and other favourites for the dancing crowd, who stayed well into the evening.
Featuring some never-before-seen Bond paraphernalia, Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style is curated by the Barbican Centre, with guest-curation by fashion historian Bronwyn Cosgrave and Academy Award-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming, and designed by Ab Rogers. Presented by Barbican Centre, London, in partnership with EON Productions, the exhibit makes a great date idea or even a night out with mom and dad thanks to its multi-generational appeal and exploration of Bond’s legacy and influence on style, fashion, technology and popular culture over the course of five decades.
On our favourite day of the week (Thursday), starting on November 1, 2012 and running until January 17, 2013, yours truly, along with The Grid, present “Bond Martini Thursdays” every Thursday at seven (007) restaurants located in the King and John area of downtown Toronto. Each restaurant will offer a 25% off coupon to the exhibition for every purchase of a Bond-themed martini. Participating restaurants include the TIFF Lounge served by Oliver and Bonacini, Gabby’s on King, HUSH, The Ritz Carlton Toronto, Hey Lucy, Fred’s Not Here and Marben.
The exhibit runs until Jan. 20, 2013.
To see the evening’s full gallery, click here.