Fifty years ago this October, Ursula Andress, clad in nothing more than a white cotton bikini with a makeshift knife holster, wandered out of the surf and into the imaginations of millions of filmgoers. By the following summer — when audiences around the world had seen Dr. No, the first James Bond thriller, and Andress, the first Bond girl — sales of bikinis, which had never quite taken off in this country, finally did.
And since men are the new women, it only makes sense that for Casino Royale, the 2006 reboot of the 007 series, a different blond came in out of the Caribbean. That was Daniel Craig as Bond himself, who in a pair of short, tight GrigioPerla swim trunks caused a splash in the otherwise placid pool of men’s swimwear, the effects of which are still reverberating.
“As soon as the movie came out, we started getting phone calls from people looking for the trunks,” said John Sievers, an owner of International Jock, a large men’s swimwear and underwear website.
He got in touch with GrigioPerla to carry its line, and the suits sold out immediately, as have subsequent orders of increasing number. (One source of business: referrals from Jamesbondlifestyle.com, a fan site for the spy.)
“Short, tightfitting trunks are definitely increasing in popularity,” Sievers said, pointing to brands that have adopted the style, like Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Diesel.
And, he said, a similar trend is under way in the underwear department, where the boxer shorts popular six or seven years ago gave way to trimmer, shorter boxer briefs, which are now losing ground to shorter trunk briefs.
Last summer, bowing to customer demand, the fashionable New York swimwear line Parke & Ronen introduced its version of the Bond trunks, and Ronen Jehezkel, an owner, said that the style already accounts for nearly 30 percent of sales. Sexier and less restrictive than woven swim trunks, but not as revealing as a Speedo-style swim brief, the Bond trunks are a happy medium.
“They’re the straight Speedo,” he quipped, adding that because they are Lycra, they are easier to fit than woven trunks, which need to fit to a T.
As for Bond, word is that he will wear another pair of short trunks, speculated to be from the British brand Orlebar Brown, in Skyfall, the Bond film scheduled to be out in October.
Should you want to see the ones from Casino Royale, you are in luck: Those trunks and Andress’ white bikini (auctioned for roughly $60,000 in 2001) are on view at the Barbican in London as part of an exhibition on James Bond style.
Lindy Hemming, the costume designer on Casino Royale, said that the similarity between the his and her swimsuit scenes was no accident. Knowing that the scene would cause a sensation and that the publicity photos would be iconic, she was very careful in her choice of swimsuit, picking the GrigioPerla after a long (and, she said, very amusing) fitting session with Craig.
“He was a new Bond,” she said, “and they were going to pick images that really showed him. Everything was there in that picture.”
Don’t necessarily expect the new trunks to perform the same magic for you. Such dreams may be too much a stretch for even Lycra to deliver.