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Sean Connery: A Bittersweet Eulogy

2020 was marred with misfortune from the outset. We struggled to break free from the shackles of a global pandemic. Lives were lost, livelihoods affected, and the world as we knew it was tipped on its head like never before. 

Amidst the chaos, we also learnt of the unfortunate passing of the venerable Sean Connery. Alas, it is with bittersweet nostalgia, that we recall the style, charm, charisma and ineffable confidence of the inaugural James Bond, and lay bare his legacy as not an arbiter of style, but an architect of style.

For Sean Connery didn’t abide by the status quo. Instead he challenged it at every juncture. He allegedly lost his virginity at age 14 to an adult woman. He sported two tattoos in a time where they were certainly less socially acceptable than they are today. 

And he wore his ruggedness - perhaps the product of his working class background - as a badge of honour. Throughout his life and career, Connery eschewed the idea of conformity, and for this - his steadfast sense of self - we pay homage.

 

A Man of Magnetic Charm and Charisma

"From the moment he first appeared in 1962's "Dr No," Connery gave Bond his ice-cold wit, panther-like elegance and sexual charisma." says Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times.

Indeed, Connery wielded a certain masculine magnetism to which people were drawn. 

He was at once intimidating and intoxicating - so effortlessly seductive in fact, that the esteemed American film critic, Pauline Kael, said in 1989 that Connery "looks absolutely confident in himself as a man. 

Women want to meet him, and men want to be him." A more befitting summary of Connery there has never been, as though he may be the benchmark for Bond and a barometer of men's style, the legacy of Sean Connery is very much intertwined with his character.

Clothes Made Not The Man

Thus, the sartorial story of Sean Connery is not so much about his stylistic sensibilities - of which one could wax poetic indefinitely - but rather, about confidence from within. In Connery's case, it was not clothes that made the man, but the man that made the clothes.

He wasn't an aficionado of tailoring in the same vein as his successor in Roger Moore - who was known to patronise the atelier of esteemed English tailor, Douglas Hayward, even outside of his role as Bond - or Cary Grant whose on and off-screen identities were very much intertwined with his iconic sense of style. He was of course, elegant - effortlessly so in fact. 

Who could forget the light blue one-piece terry towel ensemble, or the iconic three-piece suit in grey glen check, or the white dinner jacket replete with a red boutonnière that he wore in the 1964 classic, Goldfinger? But style took a back seat in the case of Sean Connery. 

Style was something he could have done away with. Could we say the same for the aforementioned two in Moore and Grant? Perhaps not.

The Legacy of Sean Connery as an Architect of His Own Style

This is all to say that style is more than mere clothing; that it is instead about character and the confidence that comes from within. 

Yes, style endows us with confidence, just as it commands attention and respect. But more than that, it is an extension of self. And it is through this lens that we pay homage to Sir Sean Connery and his style. Sean Connery was, from the outset, the architect of his own style. He was a man who marched to the beat of his own drum. 

Thus, the legacy of Sean Connery transcends style, status and cinema. In a way, the legacy of Sean Connery is one that celebrates non-conformity and individuality. So this season, we implore you to channel the legacy of Sean Connery - to be the architect of your own style and accede not to conformity - for in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”.