A modern classic: Sunspel’s Riviera polo shirt

Worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, Sunspel’s Riviera polo shirt is a Bond summer staple

Style 16 Jun 2021

Sunspel Riviera polo shirt

Sunspel Riviera polo shirt

Combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design, luxury brand Sunspel was founded in Nottingham in 1860. British workmanship is at its very core, and throughout its history, Sunspel has always innovated.

From introducing new styles – the brand is renowned for bringing the boxer short to the UK in 1947 – to developing new technical fabrics – including a lightweight cotton mesh fabric, called Quality 75 – Sunspel is a pioneer, always employing the best fabrics and creating clothes that are designed to stand the test of time.

A perfect example of the brand’s craftsmanship is the story of Q75, which has its roots in the 1950s French Riviera – a beauty spot frequented at the time by the grandson of Sunspel’s founder, Peter Hill. Enamoured with the idea of wearing smart-casual polo shirts in warmer weather – and unsatisfied with the traditional cotton piqué style, which he found to be too hot and uncomfortable – Hill desired a fabric that was soft, lightweight and cool.

Lightweight and cool, the Sunspel Riviera polo shirt is a summer classic
Lightweight and cool, the Sunspel Riviera polo shirt is a summer classic

Using a traditional lace-making technology in Long Eaton, he developed Quality 75 – a breathable compact cotton fabric that is still warp-knitted on a traditional machine to this day. The loops are knitted at an angle to give a unique diagonal mesh with diamond shaped holes. This open-knit fabric construction allows air to circulate, keeping the body cool and comfortable.

Fast forward a few decades and the Riviera polo shirt became the centre of attention once more. This time catching the eye of Academy Award-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming, who was tasked with making Daniel Craig’s James Bond ‘more casual, modern and more of a global citizen’ for 2006’s Casino Royale.

Rather than simply dressing 007 in Sunspel off the rack, Hemming went one stage further by working with Sunspel to tailor the Riviera polo shirt specifically for Craig to showcase his super-spy physique. Together, Sunspel and Hemming shortened the arms and made slight tweaks to allow extra ease of movement during action scenes. Distinctively British and effortlessly stylish, the tailored Riviera polo shirt became a way for anyone to achieve the ‘James Bond look’, without the need to don a full tuxedo.

Evolving the look for 2021, Sunspel has reworked the bestselling polo shirt, this time with a camp collar for an effortless summer look. The Q75 camp collar shirt is the perfect combination of breathable fabric and smart warm-weather style, and looks just as good paired with shorts and trainers as it does under a lightweight summer blazer with chinos.

Reaffirming its devotion to innovation, creativity and creating products that are made to last, Sunspel continues to push forward with classic styles that not only look good but that feel good too. Proud of its history, Sunspel continues to build on its heritage to shape the future. And its future is certainly looking bright.