Beyond the functional, protective aspects of a superhero’s costume, the outfits they wear are often extravagant reflections of their personalities, power sets, and most iconic plotlines from classic comics. While the X-Men have all been updating their looks lately as part of Marvel’s Dawn of X, the world’s most famous mutants are all about to switch things up again for a special occasion.
As per the dress code for the Hellfire Club’s upcoming soiree that will be featured in Planet-Sized X-Men, from writer Gerry Duggan and artist Pepe Larraz, the X-Men will all be sporting a collection of high fashion ensembles designed by Mighty Thor’s Russell Dauterman. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Dauterman explained how he wanted to create looks for the X-Men that read as high fashion for mutants, rather than high fashion for humans, even though the Hellfire Gala’s modeled somewhat on the famous real-world Met Gala.
In Dauterman’s designs, you can see some of his thought process that led to the different ways characters manifest their identities as fashion statements, and it’s tough not to want a bit more of this sort of energy in other superhero media.
As the X-Men’s resident couture enthusiast, Emma Frost’s commitment to three different looks that play up her affinity for diamonds, theatricality, and a raw sexual energy is anything but surprising. Though Emma’s been known to sport little more than lingerie and capes while actually in the field, her Hellfire Gala looks all eschew any sort of real practicality in favor of grandeur and an emphasis on her own secondary mutation that allows her to transform her body into a diamond-like form. Also, important to note is Emma’s wig, which, together with her headpiece, creates a striking contrast to her shorter subsequent hairstyles. Wigs are important.
Kate Pryde is inarguably one of the X-Men’s least fashionable heroes, and she seems quite...fine with that reality. Even after her recent Marauders redesign, which has been canonically attributed to Emma stepping in and lending Kitty a hand, the newly minted Red Queen still seems to favor looks that don’t quite...work, as is the case with her busy Hellfire Gala look. While the blend of a ruffled dress and a captain’s coat evokes Kate’s phasing ability, visually, the entire outfit is something of a mess, though that’s just how Kate rolls.
Dauterman’s concept for a new take on Storm’s cape is one of the character’s most striking, despite the fact that Ororo’s been wearing capes and big hair for decades. By sporting a localized stormcloud cracking with electricity as a cape that likely also functions to keep her cloud-like hairstyle in constant motion, the rest of Storm’s bodysuit and golden accents are left to shine on their own.
The interesting thing about Jean Grey’s fashion sense right now is that she’s been stuck in a sort of a rut. Following her odd red and blue armored number that felt plucked from the mid-‘90s, Jean’s taken to wearing her old Marvel Girl costume for some time now, which has been cute, but sort of weird to see as she’s been flying around the world (and to space) to defend mutantkind.
One has to consider whether Jean’s been trying to consciously downplay her past with the Phoenix, lest anyone start to worry whether she’s about to have one of her world-ending “episodes” again—particularly because of how much of the Phoenix is present in her Hellfire Gala look. Though her suit, headpiece, and shoulders are all very “Jean Grey, helpful psychic,” the golden X she frames her face with using her telekinesis, and the dramatic train accenting her open back, all read as very “Don’t forget that I sent the Phoenix away, and can probably bring it back if I choose to.”
Much in the same way that Emma’s look isn’t all that far off from some of her regular costumes, Rachel’s latex look is very clearly based on her Hound costume. Though here, it includes more ornamental spires strategically placed for a more dramatic effect. People often forget that Rachel’s origins in a far-flung dystopian future are never all that far from her mind, partially because of how her powers function, but also because many of the stories featuring her touch back on the lasting trauma she’s still dealing with.
Scott Summers, being a responsible, practical leader, never skips leg day, but self-expression, especially in a fashion sense, has never been his strong point. Scott’s suit’s exactly what you would expect to see him wearing at a function where he knows a) two of his well-dressed on-again-off-again lovers will be attending, and b) there’s a good chance everyone will be attacked.
Though Monet wouldn’t hesitate to break anyone’s arm if they dared to touch her without her permission, she does very much enjoy being the center of attention and drawing eyes to herself because she firmly believes that she is the baddest person in whatever room she happens to be in at the moment. True to this look-but-don’t-touch energy, Monet’s fascinator is liable to put someone’s eye out, which isn’t Monet’s problem, because you should have known better than to get close.
Rogue’s always been effortlessly fashionable in a way that made some of her peers seem a bit try-hard in comparison, and her Hellfire Gala outfit is no exception. It’s great to see Dauterman lean into the reality that Rogue’s powers don’t mean she has to cover up every inch of her body, especially because her powers are nothing new to her, and she’s at a point in her life where she’s found a balance between being practical and also expressing herself as she wishes.
There’s a fine line between conceptual runway model fashion and the sorts of outfits one wears to a party where they’re meant to be interacting with other people. Betsy’s look evokes different eras she’s spent working as both Psylocke and Captain Britain, and while the overall effect definitely captures Betsy’s essence, it’s not exactly her best serve.
Warren literally just took his shirt off and decided to wear a jacket like a cape. The blue accents are all a nice nod to his time as Apocalypse’s Arcangel, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that Warren didn’t just see this as an opportunity to take his shirt off.
Planet-Sized X-Men drops on June 16.
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