Friday, September 22, 2017

A Purrfect Costume: Making the 1966 Catwoman (Part 1)

Earlier this year, some friends had acquired the original costume patterns from the 1960s Batman t.v. series for Batman and Robin. They asked if I'd be interested in playing one of the villains, and of course I said YES. With my schedule being the way it is, I've only got month to create the entire cosplay for ConVolution in October. (I started this costume during Labor Day weekend in the beginning of September.)

I grew up with Adam West's Batman show on re-runs, and I always loved Catwoman in all of her incarnations from that show --- Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and Lee Meriwether (from the moview version). However, Julie Newmar is nearly 6' tall, and I have always loved Eartha Kitt, so I decided to go ahead and make her version.

All three ladies are of various statures (Julie = 5'11, Lee=5'9", Earth = 5'3") but the costume remains nearly the same. Julie Newmar's costume varied between a v-neck and a very small collared. Eartha Kitt's version is collared. All three wore identical belts, similar masks, ears, and necklaces. All-in-all, if I made one version, it could easily pass for all three.

(The actual costumes from the show on display)

It was easy enough to find enough reference material for this costume include a screencap of the back!
 And not to mention a few from an online auction selling Julie Newmar's costume. The following costumes are from that auction, which I'm using for reference.

This fabric was a 2-way metal stretch lame with a hidden metal zipper for the back.
The detail on the belt is also interesting. They added hidden eye hooks to the costume and the inside of the belt (which was commercially available back in 1966 and you can still find a few floating around).

Because Julie Newmar wore the belt around her hips to accentuate an hour-glass figure, this makes sense so as the belt won't slide off during any actual action scenes.

Getting some good clean shots of the necklace is a bit harder to find, but this is the general look. In some shots, the necklace looks very sparkly, but in others, it looks like it's flat with dimples in the metal.

 There are plenty of shots of Catwoman in her mask, braid, and ears. The ears are on a headband which is covered by the fake braid around the crown of her head. The mask is held in place by elastic that goes around her head.

Full body shots of Eartha are harder to find. Luckily, there were some out-take shots so you can see her shoes!

Overall, the Catwoman costume isn't too difficult. Luckily, I found a version of the belt from the vintage community Etsy. However, I doubt I'll be able to find the correct shoes and with my planar fasciatis, I doubt I'll be able to wear heels, but I will try to locate some slightly higher ankle boots.

Read the other parts of this Catwoman Dress Diary!