Exploring the evolution of the Catsuit over the years

Iconic catsuits over the years sported by Catwoman (Image via Getty Images, @x_warinmymind, @BatmanNotes/Twitter)
Iconic catsuits over the years sported by Catwoman (Image via Getty Images, @x_warinmymind, @BatmanNotes/Twitter)

Catwoman and her catsuits are an iconic muse for comic lovers and performers when it pertains to superhero fashion. With a few modifications, the Batman world's mischief-maker has had a fairly distinctive appearance for several decades. Her initial costumes were quite different from the suits she is currently donning.

Selina Kyle has been Batman's long-time companion, opposing his heroics with her thievery. While her early costumes emphasized her malevolence, more recent ensembles have underlined her move into a far more murky moral space.

At times, the thief is a hero who frequently walks a fine line. She has had a long journey that has appeared in several events, obtaining her own labels, and changing her attire to suit her various positions inside Gotham. Here's how Catwoman's catsuits have evolved over the decades.


Diving into the catsuit donned by admirable actresses over the years

1) Julie Newmar's lurex catsuit in the Batman series (1966-1967)

Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the Batman series (1966-1967) (Image via Getty Images)
Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the Batman series (1966-1967) (Image via Getty Images)

Julie Newmar donned a glittering lurex catsuit over the course of two seasons as the first Catwoman on television. Catwoman appeared on Batman the TV series from 1966 to 1967.

The classic outfit included a body-fitting boat-neck catsuit and a variety of gilded trinkets to give the persona some glitz. Positioned cat ears sat atop Newmar's enormous quiff along with a suspended gold necklace. Her accessories also included a low waistline gold belt, black gloves with golden metal nails, and the occasional mask to cover her identity.

The lurex garment, which walked the delicate line between controversial and appropriate in the 1960s, was presented to the Smithsonian in 2008. Reportedly, the catsuit was also classified as one of the National Treasures of Popular Culture.


2) Eartha Kitt in the Batman series (1967-1968)

Eartha Kitt's Catwoman in the Batman series (1967-1968) (Image via Getty Images)
Eartha Kitt's Catwoman in the Batman series (1967-1968) (Image via Getty Images)

Eartha Kitt's version of Batman's feline nemesis is one of the most successful ever. She returned for the third as well as the concluding season of the Batman TV series. Kitt's first episode, titled Catwoman's Dressed To Kill, aired in December 1967.

The fact that she wore the same type of catsuit as the show's former Catwoman was feasibly the only thing that stayed consistent among their many representations. Kitt's Catwoman had a harder edge and a more brazen romantic chemistry than others before her.


3) Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns (1992)

Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed Selina Kyle in Tim Burton's Batman Returns from 1992. The designers devised a catsuit that would go down in history made of body-fitting patent leather.

Pfeiffer's inconsistent portrayal of Catwoman transforms Selina Kylie from a timid secretary to a full-fledged feral cat on the hunt. The messy white threading all across the suit reflects Catwoman's psychiatric condition. The threading is seen breaking off at the edges since she is portrayed as an unhinged and frightening figure.

When her mental condition worsens in the movie, so does her catsuit, which is figurative to her character's narrative. At the end, the suit is nearly shredded to bits as she confronts the person who created her Catwoman.

According to reports, Pfeiffer had to be sprinkled with powder before slipping it on since it was difficult to fit into. The outfit was given an additional gloss by rubbing a thick layer of silicon over the latex and stitches. The piece is said to have been on display alongside other outfits associated with cinema heritage at the V&A's Hollywood Costume exhibition in 2012.


4) Halle Berry in Catwoman (2004)

Halle Berry's portrayal of Catwoman in the 2004 film of the same name reconstructed the famous suit from scratch. Berry wore a leather bra top with a harness and ripped up leather leggings, which were more openly provocative than the previous ones. She chose a headgear-style cat mask and open-toe shoes as accessories.

Catwoman's trademark elbow-length leather gloves were reimagined, giving her figure new claws. Berry's Catwoman sported bedazzled nails for an added touch of glitz while still being able to scratch out her characteristic edgy burglary prowess.

The movie won multiple Golden Raspberry Awards, and Oscar-winner Angus Strathie received glowing reviews for his design skills. Later, the costume was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.


5) Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises, the last part of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, starred Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, who joined Batman in his struggle against the villainous Bane. Selina was portrayed as a cunning woman who shifted her allegiances and loyalties.

Hathaway's outfit, which included a more strategic and functional catsuit than her on-screen forebearers, was inspired by the cartoon figure from the Batman comics.

Catwoman's military-inspired appearance is accredited to Academy Award winner Lindy Hemming as the costume designer. Hemming understands the assignment of styling fierce female characters as seen by the outfits for Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movies.


6) Zoe Kravitz in The Batman (2002)

In Matt Reeves' recently released contribution to DCEU, The Batman, Zoe Kravitz donned the fearsome catsuit in a dark and brooding version of the old-fashioned superhero narrative.

Selina Kyle is destined to be the most glamorous thief of them all, thanks to the involvement of exceptional fashion designer Jacqueline Durran. The Academy Award-winning designer was integral to the magnificent costume seen in the 2012 film Anna Karenina and 2019's Little Women.

The deceptive vigilante, seen in a variety of hairstyles and outfits, overpowers, outwits, and outmaneuvers everything and everyone that comes into her path. Kravitz wore a mask for the movie, which resembled a knitted ski mask with holes cut out for the eyes. Her mask is more conventional compared to the previous iterations of the character.

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Edited by Danyal Arabi