Matt Damon as Jason Bourne dons the simplistic sophistication of a well-fitted Crombie later on during The Bourne Supremacy (2004), but Karl Urban kicks off proceedings with near 007 chic dressed in a natural linen tunic shirt – perfect attire for the travelling assassin in Goa:
Natural linen overhead tunic shirt, rever collar with two button fastening, notched hem, full length sleeves turned up slightly, plain cuffs. Ethnic styled bracelets and necklace to compliment.
The tunic shirt has experienced a resurgence in recent years, for both men and women. It is now a staple of the summer season and normally sold in either linen, cotton, a linen/cotton mix or treated cotton to keep naturally occurring creases to a minimum. The modern tunic shirt evolved from the smock-like Kurta, traditionally worn throughout Asia because of its cooling loose fit.
By the late 1960s headstrong western youth had rebelled against establishment conformity, instead seeking the uncomplicated, indigenous dress of faraway climes such as Russia and India. Designer Thea Porter introduced Middle Eastern kaftans to her London boutique during this time. By the early 1970s hippy girls were all wearing them, while guys teamed tunic shirts with increasingly outrageous flared jeans.
Though, back to The Bourne Supremacy and, as Bourne himself notes the moment he spies Karl Urban’s Kirill accessorising canvas manbag with ic! berlin shades, “It looks wrong”.
As a hitman, it is true, Kirill hardly blends in. Goa’s locals and backpackers are all in bright colours, Madras check shirts or plain tees, like Bourne. Kirill looks as though he has read GQ’s guide to Dressing Ethnic and Deadly Abroad then decked himself out at the airport.
Nevertheless Urban wears it comfortably. The fabric drapes on a sturdy physique like only quality linen can; with the olive cargo pants and leather work boots adding just a whiff of hard man masculinity.
Costumes for The Bourne Supremacy were designed and sourced by Dinah Collin. While much of her attention was undoubtedly spent on maintaining Bourne’s look, this unembellished tunic shirt highlights a supporting player with barely more than fine fabric and a simple cut. That it also informs the narrative is a bonus; Kirill does stand out, but only because he is supposed to.
© 2009 – 2013, Christopher Laverty.