Matt Spaiser is a graphic designer located in New York. After years of research, he founded Bond Suits in 2010, creating the ultimate resource for James Bond style and the first catalogue of all of 007’s outfits. He is the co-author of From Tailors with Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films, which tells the story of the celluloid Bond’s clothing and the talents behind the wardrobes through the people who worked on the films, the fashions of the eras and the meaning the clothes have within the films. The book provides fresh insights through exclusive interviews with Bond-series costume designers Lindy Hemming, Jany Temime, Jodie Tillen and Emma Porteous, the late celebrity shirtmaker to the Bond series Frank Foster, Bond film director John Glen, menswear mogul Umberto Angeloni, keeper of the Bond brands David Mason, Bond collector and experiencer David Zaritsky and many others.
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of The menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Brooker. On this episode, I'm going to talk to a returning guest, Matt spacer editor of bond suits.com. Matt and I go way back, probably want to say the second episode of the podcast. And since then, we became fast friends. And together, we decided to knuckle down and write a book on the style of James Bond. The book is entitled From Taylor's with love, and evolution of menswear through the Bond films. And I'm happy to say it's now available to buy through our publisher bear man media, or through Amazon just typing from Taylor's with love, and we should come up. Alternatively, do check out the show notes for links over at menswear. style.co.uk. And I thought I'd have a quick chat with Matt about the book. This was a project that took the two of us nearly four years to complete. So, from labours with love. Thank you, thank you. Here is Matt to introduce himself in his own words. Yeah, so about 10 and a half years ago, I started a website that is now known as bond two suits.com. So with bond suits, I have discussed pretty much all of the clothes that James Bond has ever worn. I write blogs about them get into the nitty gritty details about them. Sometimes I talk to other people about them, I try to look at every angle relating to bonds, clothing, and how it can help us be better dressed. Right. And what I loved about the blog earlier on was just how granular you got and how detailed you got. I mean, it was it was literally you were the authority on the site. There was no kind of ambiguity, there was no, oh, yeah, let's go and find out for sure. Because I'm sure he's just guessing and putting this to give us, you know, very slapdash, it was, it's always been a very concise place for people to go. And I think people have that safety when they come to you that they know that they're getting the goods. So I guess my question, my question is, like, Who taught you in a way? How did you kind of get to know all of the things that people can read about on your blog? You know, I, I spent a lot of time just trying to read about clothes, wear clothes, you know, visit clothing shops, and look at the clothes, talk to the people who make the clothes. You know, I think just any general knowledge about clothes can help with this. And I just, I just want to know everything I could about men's wear. That that helped me, you know, to identify what I'm seeing. So I guess that that's kind of what it's what it really was, yeah, just paint this Hey, no, just this it's knowing about clothes before I know about James Bond. Yeah, having that window in. And I remember back in the day, when you would, you would talk about going down to tailors and ordering swatches from them. And that kind of really stuck out to me because I thought I wonder if we're slightly losing that in today's age where you can just go into Google and you can pretty much find what you want without having any kind of that palpable tactile experience of actually touching the cloth or seeing how different cloths compared to other clubs. Do you know I mean, I felt like we can't we have blogs like yours now we can just kind of go on get the info, but we don't really have the hands on experience with these clothes. Yeah, well, I mean, that's part of it. I mean, I, I did. I remember ordering a few different cloth swatches to find out about one of the gold finger suits, there's a there's a student gold finger that no one's ever been quite sure what it is. And I ordered a whole bunch of different cloth swatches from some English, you know, some from you know, from English cloth merchants to find out, you know, just to get a better handle on what this cloth could be because it was an unusual one. But But I think Well, I mean it's it's it's all good to you know to look at swatches, but it's it's a lot more important to actually wear these types of clothes to understand how they drape how they feel how the cuts are, right? Because there's only so much you can get from from not just from looking at the clothes from even from touching the clothes but wearing them opens up all these new windows to what these things are. That you can't find out any other way. That's interesting. Yeah, that's a good point. I didn't I didn't always think of that thing. I guess if you don't always think of these things. I guess the next step up from that is to make the clothes. Remember? Yes, yeah, that's a whole other step. That's black belt. Yeah. The best I can do is just talk to tailors. And find out we'll learn from them. Yeah, now I found the best way. So Matt, well, we're gonna just fast track all the way to present day. We, we wrote a book while we had some early discussions on Would it be possible to write a book? Had you ever been approached or interested to write a book on the style of James Bond? And to take it, perhaps one step beyond the blog? And I guess my question is, have you and I should say, the book is out. It's done, you and I have finished the project that's taken near on four years to complete. From Taylor's with love and evolution of men's wear through the bonds film, so available on Amazon, by the time you're hearing this, I guess my what I wanted to ask, have you ever thought about writing a book before you and I met? You know, I had thought about it. It didn't take long after starting my blog for people to ask me to write a book. Right? My fans would just be asking when you're going to write a book on the subject. And, and I know I've been doing the blog for less than a year by that point. Oh, interesting. I remember someone actually printed out your whole blog and sent you that right. He said to me, just told me about it. He printed out and put it into like a binder. That's mega. Oh, yeah. Oh, no, I was quite flattered that when he started selling it on eBay, though, that's what I do prefer that people look at it on the internet. And rather than print it out, because sometimes they do go back in and make some small tweaks to things. And, you know, as I learned more, I might go back and update something or might add something that I left out before. So it's, I think it's something that people can should go go back and check up on rather than print it out. And just look at the hardcopy, yeah, no, it's interesting. I think, for anyone that's listening to this, that actually spends a lot of time on their blog or on their website, they might appreciate that it's never ever going to be finished. Right? It's like the claddagh familia is the cathedral that people will keep on building and won't be done in your generation. Because there's still stuff to learn, there's still stuff to find out. I mean, only in the last couple of years has been the fundamentals. website, which for people that are not familiar, is the unofficial James Bond picture archive where a gentleman called mark, he started collecting a load of photos, stills production behind the scene photos of James Bond. And eventually, it became kind of overtook him, you know, this huge groundswell of photos are now being dated and uploaded to a database. And you can go in and you can find out new things about clothes that way, you know, angles on the clothes that you've not seen before. So there's, there's always stuff out there that you can learn and implement and add to the blog. Yeah, that's one thing. One of the good things about a blog is that it's never done. And you can always go back and change things add to it, fix it. Whereas with a book, once the book is out, it's out. I mean, you can always make another edition of the book, but it's pretty much done once once you've published it, isn't it? Yeah, no, this, this one's done. And you and I had many, many late additions to this book. So we are, we had a good publisher in the end, whose It was quite understanding and flexible with our late additions. Cuz I mean, we here we are, let's, perhaps I can ask you. What were the most challenging parts of the process for you, when you think back on the book now? Was there anything that stood out to you that you thought Crikey? This is this is a lot of work now. Yeah, I don't know. It's I think a lot of it was I think it's probably just the most challenging thing was just getting in touch with a lot of the people that we wanted to talk to what, right, Pete? Yeah. Yeah, I think that getting in touch with the people that we wanted to talk to was probably the most challenging because it was the thing that was that we had the least control over. That's true. I mean, so early on, we we've soon stumbled upon the idea that it was going to be the story of the tailors and the brand and the costume designers, rather than maybe an extension of your blog, which you'd already covered so well, which is to describe the clothes. This was going to be a story told from the people that made the clothes and we're involved with the process of these clothes, and getting hold of some of these people. I mean, like I say, a lot of them, sadly, aren't with us anymore. The ones that are, you know, they're not always front and centre and available on Instagram. They're not like out there on a website waiting for us to give them a call and find them. So it it was difficult, and we had to find a few nifty tricks, a few inroads, you know, to actually get some of these people on the phone. So yeah, you're right. I think that was certainly one of the most challenging parts was to actually get hold of the people in in the first place. Yeah, but I would say that that was probably the most satisfying part of this was was talking to these people learning from them. That was yet. Absolutely. I mean, the people that did actually come. I mean, we've interviewed I think over about 40 people offhand. I think it's about 40 odd people that we managed to ensnare to tell us a story. And you know, we would the costume designers, like, for example, that did some of the Roger Moore films. You know, we would actually sign up to IMDb, wouldn't we? for like a month? Yeah. Right. The IMDb pro site. Yeah, that and I think I got stuck stuck with a bill because I know that there's a trial period. And then there's that it's very expensive. And I think I got stuck with that bill. But I believe I was able to get the refund on that. But it was, it was worth it. I whatever it was it was worth putting up with dang it. Yeah, I didn't get the refund. So yeah, well, both of us. So anyone out there this is this was actually a very handy tool. First, we signed up to IMDb, and of course, all the actors and all of the cast members. It's a it's a brilliant site, IMDb, I think it's probably taken for granted. But there really is such a welter of information about the movies on there. But the people involved as well. And then, you know, if you sign up to the pro package, you can get the number for example of a PR person or an email for a contact agent. And then that just get you the next step down the road. I mean, there's still a lot more work to do to get hold of the people that you want to get hold of. But these are the doors that can be open for you. And it's just, yeah, that I do remember that process and the actual thrill, I think of getting the people to tell these stories that, you know, are nowhere else that you know, some of the people that we go on to talk about the clothes of James Bond. I mean, I'm just so thrilled personally, that we've managed to get these people to tell their story, because the it's the otherwise they'll just be lost in the ether. You know, they're not documented anywhere else. So yeah, so that you're right. I think that was one of the most frightening parts for me anyway, for this process of the book. Yeah, I think it's the that was the that's the best part is the the reason to read this book it. It's because we wanted people to tell them, they told us these stories, and we're just passing them on. And these are the stories that are worth telling. You know, any good story is a story about people. I think the story about a suit is generally not going to be as exciting as a person's story. Yes, yeah, no, that's true. It's very much a people so and I like how you phrase it all the time, the most interesting stories are always the ones about people. So whilst This is a journey about men's wear, James Bond and the clothes, it's really about the people that made the clothes and why and their lives and the and how interesting their lives were. I mean, that is something that critics will bring up about the dino Craig era of the James Bond series and how it's it's much more character driven story than bond ever was before. Although for me, I still prefer the older Bond films. But but but, but but the critics, at least, they'll probably they approve of the character driven story. Here's a question for you. And certainly just come to front of mind. But do you think that you get on better with some of the people in the James Bond community, the ones that like, the James Bonds that you like, for example, I know you're a huge fan of Moonraker, a huge fan of Roger Moore. And that's not everybody's go to when they think of James Bond, but the people like, I mean, for example, you know, that my favourite bond is Roger Moore. And I feel like we've had a good foundation of friendship built upon that. Whereas if someone else comes in and they go, you know, I'm a bit more of a bit more of a Craig fan. It's it. Do you feel like you have to work harder to kind of get things out? Yeah, probably. I think that it's just, it's it's so different. I mean, being being a fan of any of the James Bonds before Craig. I feel like I can relate to that more than I can to Dino Craig. Daniel Craig bonds, Bond films, the character, it's a lot different than it was before. Is it the character that you're not a fan of? Is it the clothes you're not a fan of? Or is it kind of a an amalgamation of a belief? It's more of the character. I mean, there's some of the clothes I love and some I don't. And I think we talk about these clothes from we at least from the book. I know we tried to not bring our own opinions into it. And when we understand that people love the Daniel Craig clothes and in the clothes has such a big impact on on fashions past 15 years. So and we can't ignore that Yeah, yeah, that's, that's interesting. I know, when we gave a press copy to a friend in the community, he said that he was very tempted to rush to the Daniel Craig era, because the book does have to tell its story, it has to go through chronologically of, you know, Connery, leaves and be more etc. And it's interesting, if your favourite bond is Daniel Craig, for example, you might be tempted to rush straight to the final third of the book or, but I think it's there is. So my point is we had to pay a lot of attention to each of the bond and kind of give each of them the story that they deserve. Right, and, but without kind of overdoing it for each for each bond. But it's also one continuous story. And Daniel Craig is just one business, the last part of the story, it's like it, you can't just skip to the last part of your story. If you, you put on a film, and you and you just want to go watch the last, you know, 20 minutes of it. It's great. If you want that after you know the whole context of the film, you can you can go back and watch that. But you know, the last, you know, that last big battle of you know, in, in like automatic Secret Service, it's great scene, I want to go back and watch that again, because it's just such an exciting moment. And it's so much fun to watch it. But But if I just went to do that the first time watching the film, it wouldn't have any meaning. And I feel like, you know, the this book is the same. It's the same thing. You can't just go skip to the end, because then you won't have the context. Yeah, that's true. I like that. But most people don't. But if you want to go back and read it again afterwards, you know, to it, because if that's your favourite part, you want to go back and read that again. That's great. Yeah. Is there a favourite part in the book for you? I mean, maybe it might be an interview. Maybe it might be a certain film. But is there something for you? When we got to the part in the book that you really liked? I think it's probably going to be well. I mean, I don't know if it be, I'd say it's probably the stuff that has to do with Roger Moore. It's not just because Roger Moore is my favourite bond. is because I, I was just, I felt like, this is the stuff. These are the clothes I'm very interested in. I think we got some really interesting terreal about the tailors, the shirtmaker, who worked on these. So those are probably some of my favourite thing. Just I mean, there was the I mean, there's the whole Frank foster shirtmaker chapter. Yeah. And because that I mean, that is, of course, one of my favourite parts, because he's someone that that made that make sure it's for me, as well. And it feels very personal. But I think I think some of the information that we're able to find out about Roger Moore's Taylor's, Doug Hayward and Cyril castle, though, though, you're some of my like, I think some of the best stories, most interesting stories, the ones that I'm most interested in. Yeah, no, I'm with you on that? Well, I mean, because we've had to, not only did we write it, but we had to proofread it and go over it and kind of iron out creases. And I mean, we were in this sandbox for about four years. And I know that after many a proofread, whenever I'd get to the Virgin, more section, I would go, I just knew that we had something. I knew that this is the point where I'm going, I'm unsure if this is any good. Is anyone going to be interested in? Is this just for us? Is this just for bond fans? Is it just for menswear fans. But as soon as we hit a couple of the stories in the Roger Moore section, this, this kind of came to life for me. And I think that is largely in part to some of the interviews that we've had, like you say, the Frank foster interview. For the people that don't know Frank foster is no longer around anymore. You went down, and you interviewed him back in the day, and you got about, I don't know how, two to three hours of him on tape. And that chat was just some of the most interesting and I mean, he was just so charismatic. He had so many great stories. He was such a talented shirt maker. And it just everything that kind of came from him was just perfect for the book in so many ways. Yeah, that's just, I mean, I got to go back and listen to that whole interview again. Because we didn't we did not include anywhere close to all of it in the book. But yeah, we want to include the stories that that that tell stories about himself about many of the famous people that he worked with, and how he dealt with them. I think that's what makes it specialists. It's not about the people that he that he that he made sure it's more of it's about how he worked with those people and put up with them. Yeah, I feel like that That's that's the that's the good part about about this because it's not just you know, it's not just about, you know some story about about Cary Grant. It's a story about about how he, you know, how about how he worked with Cary Grant in a very unique way off his own. Hey man, Tony. Yes, yes. The Tony COVID story is worth the ticket price alone for this book. You know, I, I do hope that that people can know that this book isn't just for people who are fans of James Bond clothes, because we wanted this to be a book for people who are just into men's wear in one of this be a book for people who are just into James Bond. Yeah. And for and also, it's a great kind of, it's a great layout of history. I mean, it's called the evolution of menswear through James Bond films. But as you know, it has the evolution of the tailors that moved from different tailoring houses, to different places within London. And, you know, there's photos in the books of all of these places like he, Ian Fleming's tailor, that's, you know that that photo of the actual building is in the book. And you can almost use this book as something of a roadmap if you're going around London, and kind of looking at some of the shops that you'd otherwise not even look twice at. But so much history has gone on in some of these buildings. And I think again, that said, I would like to say that this book is kind of got many different tools and uses for many different people. Yeah, that's what I hope. Yeah. Well, Matt, thanks for coming on. It, it does feel a little bit surreal to kind of interview you about this. Week, I want to talk every day. So we, we were we're familiar with the textbook in the material, but I was gonna ask you, would you ever consider making another book writing another book? Now? This is all kind of done and dusted? Yeah, I would I would consider it would have to be something much different, though. You know, the Mission Impossible clothes? Say something something a little more even more different than that. Right? Would you stick to tailoring or do you think it would be something completely different? I think I would try to find some other something else about clothing to write about? Probably not with film. Okay, I would, I would, I would write another menswear book. All right, why not? Buy? I bought and you'll have to come back on maybe in another three years. we'll have you back on where every 100 episodes you'll have to come back on. Alright, brilliant. Well, that people can obviously check out your blog, Bond seats.com the place to go and on all the socials. That's where they can find you. And of course, the book, which is now available, available to buy, just type in from Taylor's with love into Amazon will come up and enjoy it. It. It took a long time to get together. But we're we're very proud of it. And also, all the links can be found over on the show notes at menswear startup UK. Matt, thanks for coming on. great talking to you. Thanks for having me. All right. Thanks, Matt. Once again, the book from Taylor's with love and evolution of men's wear through the Bond films available to buy on Amazon. I host a podcast called from Taylor's with love. It's a weekly show that talks exclusively about cinematic style, if you want to check that out. And Matt runs the blog bond suits.com where you can learn more about the style of James Bond. I want to thank my editor Craig here for allowing us to promote the book on this show. Don't forget to check out the show notes over at menswear. style.co uk, and we're also on the social app menswear style. If you want to be a guest on the show, tell us about your brand. Tell us about your journey. Maybe Tell us about your book. You can email us here at info admin twist out or Koto, UK okay until next time