Designing 007: James Bond exhibit opens in Dubai

More than 600 pieces of secret agent memorabilia form a new show that opens at Burj Khalifa today.

Robert Chilton November 14, 2016

A white tuxedo jacket, a razor-edged bowler hat and an Aston Martin DB5 – it can only mean one thing: James Bond.

Hundreds of incredible pieces – including props, costumes and gadgets from the biggest movie franchise of all time – are now on display in Dubai.

Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style is a travelling exhibition that’s been all over the world since opening in London in 2012. In true secret agent style, EDGAR was given a sneak peek of the fascinating show at the Burj Khalifa Annex. 

Visitors are greeted by the Aston Martin DB5 from 1964’s Goldfinger, which was so brilliantly brought back to life in 2012’s Skyfall, complete with its original numberplate (BMT 216A, fact fans). 

Once inside the exhibition, a golden figure sprawled on a bed replicates the famous scene from Goldfinger in which Jill Masterson is killed by the villain by being painted head to toe in gold paint. The deadly bowler hat belonging to Goldfinger’s sidekick Oddjob sits nearby – one of the most iconic pieces of Bond memorabilia.

There are numerous costumes from the films, including the Day of the Dead outfits worn in the dazzling opening sequence of Spectre. Roger Moore’s classic white tuxedo jacket from 1983’s Octopussy is also on show as are gowns worn by the women of the franchise and the famous orange bikini worn by Halle Berry in Die Another Day.

A major part of the exhibition is the work of production designer Ken Adam who worked on most of the early Bond films and set the tone for the franchise’s look for decades to come. His sketches of Fort Knox in felt tip pen and the lairs of Bond villains are a highlight. Cleverly, TV screens show clips from the movies that feature items which correspond with pieces on display. 

Three jackets belonging to Bond villains form a particularly interesting exhibit. The outfits worn by Dr No; Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies; and Oberhauser in Spectre remind fans that Bond villains never wore ties. The theory of the jacket, according to the exhibition’s guest curator Bronwyn Cosgrave, is that the villains were too busy taking over the world to worry about what to wear. 

The exhibition runs until February and will delight Bond fans, as well as those who enjoy the craft of costumes and set design. It also demonstrates that, when it comes to style, the character of James Bond and his movies remain unparalleled in Hollywood history. 

November 14 – February 13, 2017. Entry: AED 125