Make It Sew: The Costume Blog

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This Kitten Has Claws!

 For my first Costume Blog I wanted to get people’s opinions on one of the classic characters in the pantheon of comic book characters.

Catwoman made her debut in the premiere issue of Batman (#1, Spring 1940). As “The Cat,” she wore no mask or special outfit. Since that time she has evolved through at least nine lives with a wide variety of looks from her seductive early film noire persona to the Catwoman we know today.

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Personally I find it difficult to pick a favourite. In “The Dark Knight Rises” I loved the simplicity of the catsuit and thought the cat ears that flipped down to create goggles was a stroke of genius. Seriously, how else could you fit kitty ears into Chris Nolan’s GothamCity?

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman wore a handcrafted catsuit stitched together in a fit of madness. I giggled a little as she pulled a trolley needle from her sewing kit and slipped it onto her finger as the first of her claws, yet I have not worn one since without that image flashing through my mind. I have, however, resisted the urge to buy nine more.

For pure sex (kitten) appeal I’m not sure that Julie Newmar’s look could be improved upon which is perhaps why almost 50 years later she is widely regarded as the definitive Catwoman. The cinched waist, stiletto heels and shimmering metallic claws made her look seductive and timeless – and the saxophone underscore didn’t hurt!

Some looks were not quite as successful. There was the “Playboy Kitty” look with it’s Dracula like collar, the uninspired purple unitard with thigh high black boots, and of course, perhaps the worst of all, Halle Berry’s inexplicably bizarre costume in her ill fated turn as Catwoman…which wasn’t really Catwoman…but…well…you get the idea.

Got a favourite? Least favourite? Sound off!

15 Responses to Make It Sew: The Costume Blog

  1. For style, definitely Julie Newmar. I’m partial to the gray bodysuit with the cat cowl and gold belt. Makes her look like a Siamese. Anne Hathaway’s costume did fit the tone of The Dark Knight Rises. It was designed for stealth, flexibility yet protective, and had little burglar gadgets like the goggles that were well-incorporated. Better still, I don’t recall anytime in The Dark Knight Rises where they specifically refer to Selina Kyle as “Catwoman.” I thought that was subtle and added to her mystique.

    Because of the Hathaway costume, I have to go with the “aviator” look featured first in the above collage. She looks like she is ready to scale the tallest buildings in Gotham then jump off their roofs with high-flying acrobats and flair.

  2. Nate_The_Prate

    I like them all, but I would like Michelle Pfeiffer’s more were it not for the white stitching.

    I know, it’s a very Tim Burton asthmatic, but to me, it just looks ridiculous. I’m probably in the minority here, but that stitching is just a deal-breaker for me…

  3. Nate_The_Prate:
    I like them all, but I would like Michelle Pfeiffer’s more were it not for the white stitching.

    I know, it’s a very Tim Burton asthmatic, but to me, it just looks ridiculous. I’m probably in the minority here, but that stitching is just a deal-breaker for me…

    Evidently the inspiration for the costume was a calico cat – hence the patchwork idea. I kind of agree about the stitching. She had a well stocked sewing kit…she just might have had black thread.

  4. As much as I love a woman in heels, I always found it a little weird for female characters that don’t fly to wear them. I mean, talk to any woman who has worn heels and you’d know that while it may be sexy (may? what am I thinking? they ARE sexy), they are not good for running and/or jumping, much less engaging in a fight with anyone.

    Therefore, I am partial to the all black with the boots. The one most prominent in the artwork above. Have been since the first time I saw it in the comics. That in inspired the Hathaway costume in the movie is a bonus, but I still prefer the comic book version.

  5. Anarchangel Anarchangel

    Worf:
    As much as I love a woman in heels, I always found it a little weird for female characters that don’t fly to wear them.I mean, talk to any woman who has worn heels and you’d know that while it may be sexy (may? what am I thinking? they ARE sexy), they are not good for running and/or jumping, much less engaging in a fight with anyone.

    Therefore, I am partial to the all black with the boots.The one most prominent in the artwork above.Have been since the first time I saw it in the comics.That in inspired the Hathaway costume in the movie is a bonus, but I still prefer the comic book version.

    Yeah I’ve gotta agree with Worf. For me, the black one with boots IS Catwoman. I’ve just never been able to take her seriously before this one. It’s the only one that makes sense for the character.

  6. Pfeiffer’s is by far the worst. Did you know she was actually vacuum sealed into it?
    She couldn’t be in it for too long or she’d pass out.

    Hathaway mentioned that her catsuit was one of, or the worst costume she’d ever worn.

  7. I’ve not seen the grey outfit before – possibly a little too close to the 60s Batman colour scheme to be around for long? Quite good, though. The purple / green one is of it’s time but it’s clearly a Silver Age costume, and not a bad one at that (although purple and green are the oddest colours to associate with cats…) And yes, definitely Julie Newmar as the definitive Catwoman – camp, slinky and mischievous.

  8. fuzztone:
    I’ve not seen the grey outfit before – possibly a little too close to the 60s Batman colour scheme to be around for long?

    The grey outfit is from Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995). It had a very 1930s / Art Deco style to it. Really good stuff. The tone and shading more than compensate for the “plain” characters.

  9. I really like the skirted example… Why? Because 1) it’s more catWOMAN than the others! and 2) It has some Style to it, it’s not JUST a jumpsuit!

  10. First of all: “Make it Sew” as the title for the costume discussion column of the blog? Brilliant!

    Live action, I’m torn between the more classic Lee Merriweather costume or the somewhat sexier, no-mask Julie Newmar version. Anne Hathaway’s costume was definitely more Lee Merriweather (with the cat ears formed by the night-vision goggles in the up position), but in this one case, the old ’60s TV show was better than the movie version.
    Cartoon and comics, I am a bit partial to the aviator goggles and leather catsuit mentioned by Atomic Punk.

  11. William A. Peterson

    I like the Julie Newmar costume just fine, and she wasn’t a bad Catwoman. On the other hand, while it might not have involved a different costume, how could you forget Eartha Kitt as Catwoman! Meee-owww! {She also does a better job on “Santa Baby” than Madonna…} ;)

  12. William A. Peterson:
    I like the Julie Newmar costume just fine, and she wasn’t a bad Catwoman. On the other hand, while it might not have involved a different costume, how could you forget Eartha Kitt as Catwoman! Meee-owww! {She also does a better job on “Santa Baby” than Madonna…}

    Didn’t forget about Eartha at all, but her costume was basically the same as Newmar’s. I agree that she was a brilliant Catwoman – loved the growl.

  13. Mmmmm, Julie Newmar!

  14. michele phiffer however you spell that was my favorite, that was one hot pussy cat!

  15. William A. Peterson:
    I like the Julie Newmar costume just fine, and she wasn’t a bad Catwoman. On the other hand, while it might not have involved a different costume, how could you forget Eartha Kitt as Catwoman! Meee-owww!

    Eartha Kitt was my all time favorite Catwoman. Absolutely evil and fabulous, she made a much more worthy foe for Batman than Julie Newmar’s flirty kitten.