Superheroes and Fashion, to me, go hand in hand. The thought we can transform and protect ourselves by something as simple as an outfit or costume— regardless if you’re a Superhero or not— is a theme that intertwines in many ways.
The Met Gala is probably my favorite event of the year. It’s deemed the “Fashion Oscars” even though there are no awards given; that’s the CDFA Awards, folks. Held on the steps of the MET, it has the most grand Red Carpet that is beyond luxe.
In 2008, curated by Mr.Armani and Anna Wintour, the theme was “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.” To date it is still my favorite exhibit the MET has ever shown (with a very close second in the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty”). If you didn’t have a chance to check it out (shame on you, I saw it twice), you can pick up the MET’s publication here. Cathy Horyn did an excellent retrospect on the exhibit for The New York Times as well, take a look.
Much like the exhibits juxtaposition between Designer looks and Superhero costume, I felt it appropriate now that we are exactly a month away from the US release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to show a similar juxtaposition between singular Avenger characters and today’s Runway looks.
Whether it be a look that evokes the feel of the character or obvious elements— embellishment, rockets shooting out of a skirt…you get the point— there’s a little of Superhero in every look and everything.
So take a look, check out the poll, and enjoy!
Iron Man AKA Tony Stark,Robert Downy Jr.
Tony Stark describes himself as “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” and honestly, it pretty much sums him up. Robert Downy Jr. brings such charm and presence to the character it’s a no brainer why he was cast as the charismatic leader of The Avengers. With such self-confidence and self-love, each of these looks represents Mr.Stark’s “look at me, I’m shiny” attitude.
The above Antonio Berardi is the most literal of the looks in comparison to Iron Man’s suit. Everything down to the Gold and Red combo of those killer heels reflects his physicality. Like the iron of his suit, the strong shoulders, intricate beading, and touches of metallic give a hard edge to this dainty dress representing strength and leadership.
The strips and texture on the Louis Vuitton dress are also reminiscent of Iron Man’s armor as is the embellishment on the mirrored McQueen and Tom Ford numbers. That Tom Ford mini in particular just oozes Iron Man, doesn’t it? Overall shape and structure of the Mcqueen coat also give an armor feel reflected in it’s cocoon shape.
Looks, left to right: Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, and Alexander McQueen
Chris Evans AKA Steve Rogers, Chris Evans
For Captain Steve Rogers, it’s a bit of an obvious choice, but I found that all American vibes were the way to go. Red, White, and Blue with a dash of denim— what screams American Fashion more than that? I couldn’t be happier for fellow Boston Boy Chris Evans for taking such control of the character, distancing himself from his past Marvel character The Human Torch in the horrific adaptation of “The Fantastic Four.” Mr. Evans good looks and natural born can-do attitude bring life to Captain America.
It may not be so evident, but I am getting major Captain America vibes from that Dior mini. From the vertical stripes at the bust bust reflecting those on Captain Rogers (ripped) torso and a utility belt-esque focal point the whole thing emulates Red, White, and Blue. Don’t even get me started on those Superhero-y latex boots…he really should lend those to Scarlet Witch.
Figures the denim looks preferred were from Italy, not an American brand, Gucci in particular— who really nailed kick-ass denim for Spring, FYI. The military inspired band jacket with red and warm leather accents is right up Captain Steve Rogers alley.
The Lacoste look is just the right amount of sporty embodying the athletic side of Captain America while that military-esque cape from Tommy Hilifiger screams Americana. The approach to Captain America is one of subtle strength, and and that is seen in each look here.
Black Widow AKA Natasha Romanoff, Scarlett Johansson
Until this point, Black Widow has been our solo female Avenger. She’s needed to hold her own— and has done so successfully, might I add— in a room of muscle-y Boys…not that that sounds so bad. Scarlett Johansson has excelled in the role of Natasha Romanoff. Being that gorgeous the easy way out would have been to play up the sex factor, but instead she’s kept the role feminine and strong without compromising the integrity of the character.
All these looks are sleek, sexy, slinky, spy-like, and mysterious just like Black Widow. There’s always been a bit of Masculine Vs. Feminine in her attire and this is reflective in the above Alexandre Vauthier and below Altuzarra. The Masculine vibes in both looks best represent her sultry but still able to run with the boys attitude— my favorite kind of gal.
The Mugler mini in particular screams Black Widow for me; between it’s coated panels and adorned details it’s like a Superhero mini dress. Strong and feminine without being overtly sexy.
If Ms. Romanoff was going deep under cover and there were no high kicks in sight, I think she’d more than be able to pull off that Reem Acra lace up shirred dress. Little disco inferno never hurt anyone, and is pretty Spy-like if you ask me.
The buttoned up sexy of the Tom Ford gown with it’s high neck and web style may be a bit literal, but it’s also a great representation of the Widow herself.
Thor, Chris Helmsorth
Thor is a god, let’s just get that out of the way. The casting of Chris Helmsworth couldn’t have been more on point— he just looks like he’s come from legend. Nothing about him is normal sized and for that, he perfectly embodies Thor’s larger than life persona and surprisingly great wit.
As soon as I saw this Antonio Berarid come down the Runway, I thought “Oh, look it’s Thor!” The cape like detail at the high/low hem plus the armor-y beading on the bodice give’s a very Thor feel as does the color combination and shape of the sleeves.
Something I was surprised by while scanning the Runways, was how many color stories reflected Thor and his world. Another literal Thor look is the Giambattista Valli ensemble; from it’s color palette, armor on chest by way of sequin, and lace up boots, its every bit the warrior Thor is. In line with color as well is the Givenchy gown which doubles as having an etherial vibe those who live on Thor’s hometown of Asgard do.
Thor’s strength and heroism can also be felt in the cape detail and warrior feel of both the Feragamo and Balmain looks below. Between the cape of the Ferragamo and that Balmain in particular, with cuff and leather bodice, they are very Asgardian.
The Hulk AKA Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo
The Hulk is one of the most dynamic characters in all of the Marvel universe. As Bruce Banner, the scientist is incredibly well natured and intelligent. When he get’s “angry” (which, let’s face it, we all love when he does) he turns into the incredibly destructive Incredible Hulk. After having a few incarnations of the Hulk, Marvel reassessed casting and entrusted Mark Ruffalo with Bruce Banner. Mr.Ruffalo one of our finest actors and he’s captured everything needed to portray the Hulk.
Green is a very strong color, that strangely a lot of people shy away from, so pairing such a dynamic color with bad girl looks felt fitting with how destructive and badass Dr.Banner becomes. The above and below Alexandre Vauthier trench’s give off a hybrid of Bruce Banner and his alter ego in a lab coat style coated in the Green of The Hulk. Being patent and shiny leathers respectfully, they also bring in a Rock n Roll vibe that works.
The Hulk represents losing control, and let’s be honest: when have any of us not wanted to dress a little reckless leaving all our cares behind and be ourselves? That is what these looks represent. The Mugler leather mini gives off a vibe of when Dr.Banner Hulks out: he ends up in the smallest possible attire, much like the asymmetry and cut outs of this sexy look.
Punky and rebellious, the vibe of the Tom Ford ensemble relates to an uncontrollable Hulk (you may remember Julianne Moore wore this to the Tom Ford show a few weeks ago).
Hawkeye AKA Clint Barton, Jeremy Renner
In 2012’s “The Avengers,” Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye was pretty much catatonic the whole film under mind control. Through the years, Hawkeye has been comic relief in many of the comics and it’s been reported that in the upcoming installment he’s finally getting to showcase that wit. I for one am looking forward to this, as I am a fan of witty and snarky Superheroes and Mr.Renner.
Hawkeye has the most modern and streamline uniform of all the Avengers. Because he is a spy and needs to keep it sleek, I wasn’t surprised by how many looks I found to relate to his character. The Lanvin ensemble in particular has a strong connection; the cuff is linked to the arm guard the archer uses with the simplicity and modernity of the gown reflecting his once S.H.I.E.L.D uniform. Clean and sleek all around.
The other looks have a strong connection to Hawkeye’s new uniform— including a very cool new coat he’s been given. In contrast, the sleek Elie Saab coat is the female version of his uniform with a similar front zipper detailing and high slit at the center front. The color combination of the McQueen feels appropriate as the color blocking is a theme of his uniform especially in the first film. Plumes of the Reem Acra seemed too cool and spy-like not not be included.
The purple Elie Saab ensemble may seem a bit of a wild card, but it’s almost the exact color of his suit in the comics therefore I couldn’t leave it out.
Scarlet Witch AKA Wanda Maximoff, Elizabeth Olsen
My favorite Avenger is joining the fold: Scarlet Witch. One of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe, she’s incredibly central to many important story-lines. It may have been her ridiculous costume, but I was always drawn to the character; her mind altering telekinetic ways always fascinated me. The beyond talented Elizabeth Olsen was cast as Wanda furthering my excitement to see her on screen. While we’ve only seen glimmers of her in trailers and behind the scenes features, it’s safe to say this new addition is what everyone will be talking about when the credits roll.
Due to a confusing legal situation between Marvel and Fox, the origin of she and twin brother Quicksilver had to be changed a bit, but I’m confident that Joss Whedon’s adaptation of them is fitting for this universe. It’s safe to say Mr.Whedon knows how to write incredible female characters, so we should expect nothing less than a kick-ass Scarlet Witch.
Her look in the film is a bit of grungy gypsy vagabond Eastern-European club kid. Right up my alley. Picking up what she can along the way, little leather jackets paired with feminine dresses and combat boots seem to be a signature. I’d say we may not get an actual uniform out of her in this installment, but definitely the next. Even without seeing the film yet, I’m liking the direction they’ve taken her character visually; it’s modern but still pays homage.
There’s something witchy about that Scarlet McQueen dress. With it’s high neck, long sleeves, and short skirt it’s feminine but cool— on par with Wanda. The belt is also very Superhero-y. Tough girl Calvin Kline evokes the strength Scarlet Witch holds while the lace up Gucci ensemble is fitting for her Gypsy theme. Both the flirty Rodarte and Pucci are very reminiscent of her comic book costume embodying a witch-y vibe.
I’d be beyond thrilled if Ms.Olsen wore any of these looks during the promo tour, but would particularly swoon if she donned that McQueen.
Quicksilver AKA Pietro Maximoff, Aaron Taylor Johnson
If Scarlet Witch is the yin, then super fast twin brother Quicksilver is the yang. Another one of my favorite’s (I may have dressed up as him for Halloween last year…) is joining the franchise bringing a whole new visual element. Unlike the other Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch actually have powers so it’s not just punch, punch, punch. A refreshing change.
The casting of Aaron Taylor Johnson makes complete sense. Quicksilver is fast, a bit cocky, throws sassy one-liners, and is supposed to be a babe. All things that I am confident Mr. Johnson will portray perfectly.
More than any of the other Avengers, I found a strong correlation in his character’s color palette to runways looks. Silvers and Blues are always on trend, so mixing that with flirty looks conveyed Quicksilver very easily.
The Tom Ford and Mugler mini’s best represent his character. They are body-con to the max with sexy embellishment and flashy details, just like Quicksilver. Both Alexandre Vauthier looks are also prety on point having a rocker-y bad girl vibe to them as does the cut outs of the McQueen. Each look represents his fast athletic nature and super speed.
Ultron, James Spader
The titular villain Ultron is pretty terrifying. It’s unclear who exactly created this supervillain robot, but all signs point to Iron Man himself Tony Stark. Assembled to be something of a hope for humanity, things have gone terribly wrong and as history shows us, he is not a fan of the Avengers.
There’s no doubt that James Spader’s take on this creature is going to be evocative and unforgettable. Prepare for nightmares, people…
Finding looks that represnt Ultron was pretty easy. Anything relatively scary can always be found between Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh. The silver appliqué make-up at Rick Owens and chain detail at the face of Gareth Pugh represent the robot elements, while the rest of the looks are just destructive and haunting.
All images courtesy of Marvel Entertainment, Style.com, Entertainment Weekly, and Getty Images
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