Diane von Furstenberg and Batman Returns…

I have just belatedly seen and been transfixed by Diane von Furstenberg’s stunning 40s-inspired A/W 2008 collection:

From Vogue.com

I’ve always been drawn to the ’40s; I love the simplicity of tailoring, the pared-down wartime chic…the sheer femininity of the design. Well today I’ve realised the unlikely source of this enduring fondness – Batman Returns, of all things.

The film was released in 1992, and as an 11 year-old girl I was utterly transported by its dark stylishness, and the ambiguous characterisation: each of the main characters struggled with their ‘dark side’. Unsurprisingly, Catwoman influenced me a great deal – I scoured the charity shops for a black leather mac, I begged for kickboxing lessons – but I loved Selina Kyle’s costumes. Especially the one she wears to pour the coffee:

I have never forgotten this blouse:

There are very few pictures online of her costume, but when I dug out my BR Movie Book I managed to find some sketches:

I still love the contrast between Selina’s ‘ladylike’, strictly tailored suits and Catwoman’s fetishistic black rubber. With each costume change she shrugged off her timid physicality and became a beautiful, fluid whirlwind of a woman. This was a heady mix for me – so much so that as a pre-teen, I paid tribute to my new favourite icon and transformed my remaining Barbie doll:

18 years later she’s lost her mask, gloves and a boot, but I still think she’s proof of that wonderful magic that films can work on you as a child. 

I just wish I’d made a ‘Selina Kyle’ doll, too.

All film images photographed from ‘Batman Returns: The Official Movie Book’ by Michael Singer.


4 thoughts on “Diane von Furstenberg and Batman Returns…

  1. I can't believe you sketched and made that barbie outfit – you must have been a ridiculously uber gifted child!! Love the disection of your fashion fetish – great stuff!Charlotte xxThe Style Rail

  2. Whaaa, I love this! I also started my sewing career making Barbie outfits (ballgowns mostly, I must admit, but at least not pink ones), and I also find Catwoman really fascinating! (I dressed up as Catwoman once for a superheroes party, but none of the pictures survive. Probably luckily.)

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