Thursday, August 16, 2012

obligatory dark knight rises costume report

I've had two inquiries in the last 24 hours from customers wanting a custom-made replica of the Catwoman costume worn by Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises, so I guess it's time for this post!

First off, I loved the way Selina Kyle was portrayed in the movie. I loved the way Anne Hathaway handled the character. I loved the costume: utilitarian (mostly), sexy, dramatic.

The design is fairly simple--a bodysuit with thigh-high boots and opera gloves, low-slung belt. I could knock off a quick and dirty duplicate in a week or so, and I probably will. Materials would cost me about $200, and labor is another $300 or so. Throw in boots, goggles, and belt parts, and I could make you a recognizable duplicate of the costume for about $600.

But then people start asking for a "movie accurate" costume, and the details get complicated in a hurry.

According to an interview with the costume designer, the bodysuit is actually two pieces, joined by a low-slung belt. The original fabric is "polyurethane coated Spandex with an embossed hexagonal pattern."

Here's a good close-up of the textured fabric:

Now kittens, I have seen similar textured fabrics on athletic wear, but I have yet to find anyone who sells it retail, and I've been searching for about a year. There is undoubtedly a factory in China that could make it for me, but a minimum order of the stuff would be about 500 yards, and probably a few thousand dollars. A one-woman independent contractor like myself has relatively limited resources.

Similarly, Selina's mask appears to be made out of cast rubber or heavy latex. I know there are some costume-makers out there who do casting, but I'm not one of them, and I don't have time or inclination to learn. Likewise with the goggles, which are probably injection-molded plastic.

I can *approximate* the look of the mask and goggles with other materials, at least to the point where they will look good in photos or at an appropriate comfort-zone of observation on the Con floor. But they won't have that plastic sheen and the functionality may not be exact. For instance, her goggles appear to be hinged just above the ears, and so far I haven't figured out a way to do that.

Of course, the level of exactitude you get depends partly upon how much you want to spend. The more time I spend on something, the more exactly I can reproduce it. This may mean several drafts of patterns and a lot of wasted materials. These things can double your costs. 

To make the absolute-best replica of this costume that I could personally do, with my available materials and skillsets, would cost around $1200, and take a few months to assemble. For that reason, I probably will not be doing any "movie accurate" replicas of this costume for the 2012 Halloween season. 

However, if you are interested in having a costume made for the the long-term and are willing to invest the time and money, please do contact me. My email is on the right sidebar.

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