Like almost every little girl, when I was a child I was fascinated by the Superheroines like Wonder Woman. Like Carrie of SATC said in one episode, I think it was because of her costume and accessories...those cuffs, the tiara...I always loved the details! Still fascinated by the "superpowers of fashion", several years later, during a class of Semiotics of Cinema, I "met" again the Superheroes studying their aesthetic and linguistic power this time.
It's always interesting to think how much comics characters and Superheroes - despite their popular origins wich caused them to be considered as a low art form for so long - influence not only the artistic expression, but our society at all levels (they are a classic metaphor of reality, indeed). At the same time we must remember these characters are greatly influenced and redesigned around world's changes.
The inner feelings, the acts and above all the physical appearance of the Superheroes change according to what's happening around. The main body of these characters is a mutant body that change with decades and contemporary standards of beauty.
Thanks to the "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" exhibition
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York (from May 7 to September 1), during the last months the hundreds connections between Superheroes and fashion were investigate.
According to the runways and what's in the stores now, the current season and the upcoming ones will be a lot about comics characters inspiration:
Luella, Spring 2008
Gareth Pough, Fall 2008
Alexander McQueen, Resort 2009
Giles, Fall 2008
Proenza Schouler, Resort 2009
All from Style.com
From Elle USA, July 2008:
Not all of the classic Superheroes have superpowers (think of Iron Man and Batman) but they can built their body, filling the gap between human body and machine with specific elements: the clothes. Along with his inner nature, the cape, the unitard and all the fashionable paraphernalia Batman wears, make him stronger than his enemies. And must be noticed, protect him and his real identity from the world...
Fashion work in a very similar manner. Designers have always created clothes that can alterate the perception of the body, often in a flattering way but not always. Along with Postmodernism and Post-Postmodernism (abused terms, I know, sorry!), fashion shows started looking like art performances, transcending canons of beauty and limits in a radical and controversial way.
(The editorial above is from Vogue USA, May 2008.)
In an era where you can build your own body, don't forget Spiderman's warning: big powers brings big responsibilities.