Continuing my trend of going to exhibitions in the eleventh hour, I went to Designing 007 at the Barbican the day before it closed.
The exhibition was to mark the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise by tracing Bond’s design and style. My expectations were high, after all the design of Bond is iconic. For all that the exhibition covered a wide range (sets, costumes, props, storyboards etc), it was like a martini without the vodka – something was missing. It may be that they tried to smoosh the exhibition into the winding corridors of the Barbican, or that they were too ambitious. But it didn’t feel like you had seen anything of importance.
The highlight was the costumes of the sidekicks and villains. As well as displaying the, frankly kick ass, costumes (think Madonna fencing, Electra as the torturer and the silver teeth of Jaws) they were screening the scenes in which the costumes appeared and showed who designed it and their inspiration. And then came the little blue short shorts of Daniel Craig & Sean Connery – lets just say that they drew a crowd.
On a slightly different note, whoever designed the Barbican was a deranged genius. I was lost for quite some time – even when given directions it took me over half an hour to get out. So if you have anyone you don’t like that wants to meet for coffee, tell them to go to the Barbican. You will never see them again.