Bond Girl Shot In Back Of Taxi: Tania Mallet

Tania Mallet, in gold & black ball gown, and unknown model in a black satin and beaded gown. Photographed by Robert Whitaker in the back of a taxi on Flood Street, London, 2005.
Tania Mallet (left) in gold & black ball gown, and unknown model in a black satin and beaded gown. Photographed by Robert Whitaker in the back of a taxi on Flood Street, London, 2005.

It was way back in 2005. I wanted to do a Mum & Daughter type photo-shoot for One Night Stand to showcase dresses side-by-side. Photographer Robert Whitaker was a regular at Chelsea Manor Studios he used to hang out with Ben John downstairs so naturally I asked if he’d be interested in the job. He said, ‘Yes’.

Whitaker got ex-Bond Girl Tania Mallet to be Mum, above wearing a vintage black and gold off-shoulder ball gown by Terence Nolder, and another model as the daughter.

I can’t remember whose idea it was to shoot in the back of a London taxi; almost certainly Bob, he liked his photos to have a concept. In fact, his instinct for a provocative narrative coupled with The Beatles mischievous nature helped to get them all banned for the ‘Yesterday and Today’ album cover.

Anyway, a cab was duly flagged down and a deal was struck to use it as a temporary studio. It’s one of my favourite images.

The One That Got Away

We took more shots at the One Night Stand studio later; I'm on the left and Tania Mallet is on the right. Whitaker is out of shot with a glass of red wine.
We took more shots at the Flood Street boutique. Here we are during a break. That’s me on the left and Tania is on the right striking a pose. Whitaker is out of shot with a glass of red wine. His assistant took this photo.

Although Tania Mallet became World-famous as a Bond Girl for playing Tilly Masterson in the 1964 film Goldfinger, it was just one aspect of her career. She refused to be engulfed by the Hollywood machine and much preferred modelling. A true beauty, her looks and style turned her into an icon. 

With her beautiful bone structure and fierce blue but dreamy eyes, typical of her Russian heritage it is no wonder she was one of Britain’s top three models, the others being Twiggy and The Shrimp, Jean Shrimpton.

Joanna Doniger

Does anybody know who the blonde model is? Contact me – I would love to credit her!