As top ski house BOGNER announce a Fall 2022 partnership with James Bond to mark the latter’s sixtieth anniversary and the rich movie and costume partnerships they have shared since 1969, the history of Bond and BOGNER has never been downhill. With the BOGNER x 007 capsule collection poised to celebrate the ski-world pioneer’s work, designs and associations with our man James, the House of Bogner have one of the longest partnerships with not just Bond, but alpine sports, the Winter Olympics and German leisure fashion.
It was not only Willy Bogner’s own Olympic experience in alpine skiing, but also his outstanding camera skills that ensured the film’s spectacular ski descents through bobsled runs and crevasses were captured for the cinema audience. Building on the success of the first collaboration, Willy Bogner would go on to work on three more James Bond productions: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), For Your Eyes Only (1981) and A View To Kill (1985).
Bogner’s father – himself a 1930s Winter Olympian – first set up the Bogner brand in 1932. In 1936, Bogner Sr. and his wife Maria kitted out the German team for the 1936 Winter Olympics held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany’s Southern Bavaria). In the 1960s their son Willy Jr. began to turn the family name in a different direction. With one eye on the piste fashions and commercial scope the burgeoning ski scene of the 1960s created, Willy Bogner Jr. produced Skifaszination – a 1964 showcase of where the ski world was headed, and where choreographer and cameraman Bogner could take it. Drawing on his own Winter Games experience – in California’s 1960 Games in Squaw Valley and then 1964 in Innsbruck – Bogner Jr.’s very 1960s documentary showcased his choreography and skills at crafting new ways of filming ski action and winter sports. The film no doubt became a valuable calling card for the likes of EON Productions when wanting to source someone to oversee the ski work in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). It is also worth noting that the likes of 1969’s OHMSS, brought alpine pursuits onto modern cinema screens. Until then the world’s TV audiences had only really seen such events on black and white television every four years whenever a Winter Games was held in the early TV hours of the 1950s and 1960s.
Bogner Jr. continued to produce and mount various film documentaries – including 1974’s SkiVision – which clearly formed the forerunner for a lot, if not all, of Bond’s ski work seen in subsequent films and title sequences. Most notably of those is 1985’s A View to a Kill – which was one of the first mainstream movies to depict snowboarding as masterminded by Willy Bogner Jr. and featured skiing as part of its title sequence designed by Maurice Binder.
Cinema audiences memories and recollections of James Bond often involves 007 skiing. It is not used nearly as much as the spoof makers would suggest, but it is Bogner Jr. who is predominantly responsible for those iconic blasts of action imagery that is still a vital part of the action and style DNA of the sixty year old Bond franchise. In 2015 and with that alpine Bond iconography in mind, BOGNER and Bogner Jr. himself helped launch EON Productions 007 Elements installation in Sölden, Austria. The staff all wore BOGNER clothing – including a ski catsuit with matching down jacket and a men’s freestyle outfit. The ‘B” on Bond’s ski wear in the Roger Moore 007 bullets always stood for BOGNER – and not ‘Bond’ as us 1980s kids always assumed. The “B-zipper” is an icon of the BOGNER brand and in 2002 Willy Bogner Jr. was invited to open the newly re-designed Brandenburg Gates in Berlin – where the world’s biggest “B zipper” was hung from a hot air balloon (and no doubt accidentally tying in with the “B” of Brandenberg).
In 1990, Bogner Jr directed a highly ‘1990s’ adventure romp called Fire, Ice and Dynamite – which was one of the first films to showcase extreme alpine sports which were less familiar to world audiences (just as contemporary skiing was to cinema audiences in the late 1960s – 1968’s Downhill Racer being a notable exception). Fire, Ice and Dynamite also starred one Roger Moore as the head of the Megathon Foundation. In fact, it is still a tragedy how every Winter Olympics is not launched by this message from the late Sir Roger…
Bond, Bogner and the Winter Olympics have met more than once. The Games formed a backdrop to OHMSS, 1981’s For Your Eyes Only (filmed at the location of the 1956 Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo and 1999’s The World Is Not Enough was shot on location at Chamonix, where the first Winter Olympics were held in 1924.
Bogner Jr. continues to spearhead his company, kitted out various Winter Olympic athletes, designed the official winter-wear for the German 2014 Sochi team and chaired the Munich 2018 Winter Games bid campaign. But, of course the Bond master of skiing and ski-wear was the late, great Sir Roger Moore. No-one rocked a canary-yellow ski-suit more than Roger. No Bond possibly sold more winter breaks, sixth form salopettes and ski-lodge glamour fantasies than Sir Roger Moore. Maybe someone somewhere can remember the man as they throw themselves down a luge run, ski jump, piste, curling arena or ice hockey match – because he was the master of them all. Somewhere in the universe, Sir Roger has already made it back to the lodge, has opened the fireside Bollinger and is waiting for some help to fold that Union flag parachute back into its BOGNER backpack.
The BOGNER x 007 capsule collection will be available from the Fall 2022.