Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy at the Met


If you’re familiar with American Vogue May 2008 edition, the one with Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover, there was a fashion editorial dedicated to superhero costumes coincided with the premiere of the movie, Iron Man. Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher and Giorgio Armani are endorsing the exhibition of “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), which opened on May 7th in New York. The exhibition came perfectly on time with several superhero-theme movies invading the big screen this summer (Batman: The Dark Knight, the Incredible Hulk, Indiana Jones, among others).


The exhibition currently shows a number of legendary superhero costumes (from Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Batman, to Catwoman), along with some avant-garde haute couture collections (John Galliano, Giorgio Armani, Thierry Mugler, Dolce & Gabbana, Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen, Bernhard Willhelm) and high-performance sport wears (Nike, Speedo). The exhibition itself is meant to explore the symbolic and metaphorical relation between superhero costumes and fashion, how they both inspire each other.

It also examines the influence on fashion of the superhero costumes as represented in comic books, movie and TV. Seeing how they bound by dream and fantasy, while celebrating the superpower human body represented through 8 (eight) body themes: the Graphic Body (Superman, Spiderman), the Patriotic Body (Wonder Woman, Captain America), the Virile Body (the Incredible Hulk, the Thing from Fantastic 4), the Paradoxical Body (Catwoman, Batgirl), the Armored Body (Batman, Iron Man), the Aero-Dynamic Body (the Flash), the Mutant Body (X-men), and the Post-Modern Body (the Punisher, Ghost Rider). 


The GRAPHIC BODY, from left: Bernhard Willhelm S/S 06, Moschino by Rosella Jardini A/W 06-07


The GRAPHIC BODY, from left: Julien Macdonald A/W 03-04, Spiderman original movie costume, Jean-Paul Gaultier Haute Couture S/S 03, a glimpse of Venom arm


The PARADOXICAL BODY, from left: Catwoman original movie costume worn by Michelle Pfeiffer, Thierry Mugler A/W 96-97 


The AERO-DYNAMIC BODY, Twin Turbine Powered Exoskeleton Wing Suit by Atair Aerospace, Inc 2007 (top), Sky diving suit *which I couldn’t remember who made it ;( , Future Astronaut Space Suit by NASA


The POST-MODERN BODY, from left: Wild & Lethal Trash by Walter Van Beirendock A/W 97-98, Thierry Mugler S/S 92, John Galliano S/S 08, Alexander McQueen A/W 01-02 

What I also learnt from this exhibition; the fact that Superman super-tight uniform was originally inspired by circus acrobatic team and became an influential standard in designing other superheroes’ costumes. Besides costumes, the exhibition also showcases vintage comic book covers, high-tech sport gears (by Nike, Speedo and Spyder), futuristic wing suit by Atair Aerospace, and some hi-tech body suits and gadgets. 

Overall, it was a nice out-of-body experience, a reminiscence of my childhood’s addiction to Marvel comic books and cartoons especially when I tried to “create” my very own superhero costume by wearing my ballet leggings and leotard with my mom’s scarf on my neck ;d hehe  

Enjoy the rest of the photos *click on thumbnails below, it was again another team effort of my hubby and I in “stealing” the pictures of this exhibition. We’re now more experienced in fooling around the security guards ;p hehe


from left: Bernhard Wilhelm S/S 06, Hussein Chalayan A/W 99-00, (front) Fastskin Lzr Racer by Rei Kawabuko 08 and  (behind) fastskin fs-pro speedo 07, Bernhard Willhelm S/S 06, Christian Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano  S/S 01


from left: the original Iron Man armored movie costume, Dolce & Gabbana S/S 07 (front) and Armani Privé (behind), Thierry Mugler S/S 1991, Gareth Puth S/S 07, Balenciaga by Nicholas Ghesquiere S/S 07 


from left: Thierry Mugler Haute Couture S/S 1997, Thierry Mugler Haute Couture S/S 1997 (behind) and Alexander McQueen A/W 07-08 (front), Thierry Mugler Haute Couture A/W 97-98,  sequins and appliqués applied directly to Rebecca Romijn body (as Mystique on X-Men) created by Spectral motion costumes by Judianna Makovsky and Lisa Tomczeszyn


from left: Giorgio Armani S/S 90 – Venom original movie costume – Julien Macdonald A/W 03-04 – Spiderman original movie costume, Thierry Mugler S/S 97, Alexander McQueen A/W 07-08, Thierry Mugler S/S 97, vintage comic book covers


Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, May 7 – September 1, 2008, learn more about this exhibition here and here

Sources:,,,,,, Superheroes: fashion and fantasy book – published by the Met & Yale University Press. Photos by ZA.  

*Stay tune for another interesting exhibition at the roof top of this museum which I can’t help not to share it with my fellow FDers !