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The story behind 007’s shorts

Words by Rob Chilton

The name's Brown, Orlebar Brown – meet the man who dresses 007 in the pool

When Adam Brown settled into his cinema seat to watch the James Bond movie Skyfall in 2012, he had good reason to feel a little more excited than his fellow moviegoers. That’s because the swimwear company he had founded just five years before was about to transform.

Months before his cinema visit, Brown’s firm Orlebar Brown had received a request for a pair of shorts from a stylist working on Daniel Craig’s third outing as the debonair spy.

Daniel Craig in Skyfall

“I knew the film was called Skyfall so I submitted our sky blue colour shorts in the Setter cut,” explains Brown. “We knew they had been worn for a scene in the movie but we didn’t know if that scene had made the final edit.”

The film began and the action moved to Shanghai where a scene showed Craig as Bond swimming in a pool. He leapt out of the pool and – bam – there were Orlebar Brown’s sky blue shorts.

“It was phenomenal,” Brown tells EDGAR. “The company was five years old at the time and that single moment helped the business enormously. Website traffic went up, sales went up – it was huge.”

Orlebar Brown's Thunderball shorts

Especially pleasing for Brown was that the exotic and exciting world of James Bond had been a key reference point for him when he conceived the company and appeared on many of his mood boards. Last summer he even designed a range of limited edition shorts that depicted scenes from classic Bond movies such as Thunderball, Live and Let Die and You Only Live Twice.

Adam Brown

“My original mood boards for the shorts had pictures of Bond film scenes from the 1960s, there was lots of towelling, boats, islands, the colour blue, things like that,” explains Brown. “So when Skyfall came along it felt utterly natural to me.”

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