Life’s a b***h. So am I.
One of my earliest memories with regards to film is when I was allowed to see Tim Burton’s Batman Returns (1992) in which Michelle Pfeiffer played the awkward bullied secretary to Max Shrek (Christopher Walken) who is pushed to her death and is reborn thanks to a clowder of felines into Catwoman. Most audiences would be focused on the remarkable transformation of Pfeiffer into her anti-hero, I was however transfixed on her wardrobe designed by Mary Vogt.
Enter the catsuit
The vacuum packed black latex suit set the standard for Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
In 1992 Versus (Gianni Versace) designed a printed catsuit (now described as vintage) that offered the wearer a breathable and fun alternative to Vogt’s creation.
Autumn 1991 and Winter 1992 trends were predominantly catsuits and playsuits designed by Karl Lagerfeld, Rifat Ozbek and Donna Karan.
The catsuit has graced the screens and wardrobes of those more daring since the 1960’s with Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman in tight leather Avengers (1961-1969) and has stayed. Its stern femininity evokes notes of strong sexuality and danger on and off the screen for the past fifty years and looks to continue to do so.
The catsuit has held its own in cinema and on runways alike. Donned by the likes of Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington in Austen Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider And the Cradle of Life (2003) and Denise Richards as White She Devil in Undercover Brother (2002).
The catsuit is sexy, body hugging and unforgiving to those of us without an A-list personal trainer yet consistently features on the catwalks of major designers. Are audiences in love with the idea of attaining the figure to pull off such a risqué outfit or the sheer beauty of those that are able to wear it.
The Underworld (2003) franchise; where we were introduced to Selene (Kate Beckinsale) a human/vampire hybrid locked in a continuing battle with the lycan foes dressed in a skin-tight lycra catsuit accompanied by a leather corset. Are catsuits evolving?
Alexander Wang Fall Winter 2017 collection brought back the catsuit of the 90’s with a modern twist the body-hugging piece had baggy sweater like sleeves that alluding to the era of the catsuit. Similarly Pam Hog’s Spring 2018 collection consisted of sheer catsuits and transparent trench coats. The catsuit has come a long way from its spy thriller beginnings.
Versace Spring 2018 saw Kaia Gerber with vintage Vogue covers and Warhole depictions of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. It seems that the catsuit is here to stay the effigy of felinity.