The Bond Girls Have A Whole New Look

She’s come a long way. Since the 1960s (and even through the early aughts), the Bond girl was remembered more for her bikinis and innuendo-dripping names than her butt-kicking nuclear-science, pilot, or diving skills. But she’s had a transformation in recent years, and in the upcoming Bond film, Spectrein theaters November 6 — she prefers if you call her a Bond woman. “It’s a tremendous challenge,” says Jany Temime, the costume designer tasked with creating the image of a new, more feminist Bond woman (you may have seen her work in, ahem, six of the Harry Potter movies). “The public expects this beautiful James Bond girl, but you have to update it and make it exciting and make it new.”

Spectre features two seriously badass ladies in more-than-sidekick roles. At 51, Monica Bellucci is playing the most mature James Bond woman to date, a mysterious mafia widow, and Léa Seydoux, a 30-year-old French starlet, is playing a feisty, high-powered psychologist whose father was previously Bond’s nemesis. So, says Temime, they need much more than just languid evening dresses and sexy bathing suits. We asked Temime to give us a sneak peek at the new Bond women. Ahead, see what she had to say.

What's the first thing you do when dressing a character?
"I speak a lot with the director. I was so lucky to work with Sam Mendes, who is extremely interested in the psychology of his characters. When you understand a character, it's easier to design for them because you know what the character is and, by extension, what she will wear for each situation. From that point, you can start designing and then taking into consideration the color, the situation, the decor — all the things that make up the costume."

How did you decide what Monica Bellucci's character would wear?
"Monica plays an Italian widow at the funeral of her husband. So of course, the style was a little bit defined before we started: I had to design something demure but still oozing of sexiness. To do that, I decided to add some mystery to the traditional black. The most important thing in the costume is the veil attached to the hat. I wanted Bond to look at her and not immediately know who she was, because it's a surprise for him like it is for us, and it creates a moment of suspense where you slowly discover her."
There's been a lot of talk about Bellucci saying she's a Bond "woman" and Spectre being more feminist than other Bond films. How did you show that through the costumes?"
I wanted to show you can be a James Bond girl in something other than an evening dress. I thought it was very important for the image of the woman in the 21st century to show that. For example, Léa Seydoux, who plays the Bond girl that James falls for, is a professional woman. She's a psychologist; she has an important job in a clinic. So she has clothes that we would wear to go to work."

But we do see Seydoux's character in this beautiful ice-blue gown.
"Yes, of course. The first time we see her and establish her is at work, and then we see her on holiday, and then suddenly she's in the middle of nowhere and has this crazy, sexy evening dress. But it builds up — and that's what I worked really hard for."

It definitely pays off.
"I think suspense is so important as a woman — to not show everything of yourself in the beginning but build up a sort of suspense. That's what I did with her. Ultimately, I just wanted to show that you can be very sexy every day, feeling good and feeling powerful and being yourself from 8 o'clock in the morning on. Being confident in your skin, having a powerful job — that makes you a Bond girl."

More from Movies

R29 Original Series