The best villains in movies had great style. No one does flamboyant evil than a James Bond Villain. This theme is being celebrated in Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.
I enjoyed this exhibit over the weekend while learning about the history of espionage. While the museum was curated to cater to the Hollywood idea of spies, the interactive design was highly educational and fun.
The Bond Villain exhibit was the start of the museum. It highlighted costumes ad props worn in the film like Famke Janssen's curvy leather Russian operative uniform to Christopher Walken's tailored suit as Max Zorin. For Bond villains, accessories are functional additions to your look. Think lethal footwear that had switchblades or guns embedded and a "dream" mask worn by Toby Stephen's Gustav Graves in "Die Another Day".
Funny how life imitates art. Many of the tricked out spy gadgets ended up inspiring real gadgets used in espionage. I did see umbrellas that could shoot poison pellets that were used in actual assassination plots. There were blades designed for close combat stitched into lapels.
One of the most important things a spy learns is their cover or "legend". Both the International Spy Museum and 50 Years of Bond Villains proved that your costume and your looks are a vital part of that.