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CATWOMAN

A Suit-Able Fit
Producer Di Novi found the creation of a brand new Catwoman cat suit to be an exciting element of the production. "We all wanted to create something that was a little more urban, a little more contemporary,” says Di Novi. "It had to be tailor-made to reflect Halle's characterization, so she had a big hand in the design of the suit.”

Together with Academy Award-winning costume designer Angus Strathie, Berry, director Pitof and the producers collaborated on the sexy suit. "I'm very proud of the costume design,” says director Pitof. "Here again, it has elements of previous cat suits but it is so unique to Halle, to her shape and beauty. It shows a lot of skin but also has a warrior-like quality to it. When she wears it she looks like somebody who's ready for a fight.”

"What I liked best about it is how freeing it was,” recalls Berry. "You can see her spine, her ribs and the lean, sinewy musculature of the cat. The other great thing about the cat suit is that, within the story, it's very realistic as to how Patience comes up with the outfit. It's not like she just pulls it out of a secret closet in her apartment. She's an artist and she uses her artistic sensibilities to put the whole disguise together.”

Costume designer Angus Strathie explains how his inspiration was grounded in the character's own metamorphosis. "We wanted a very reality-based wardrobe to show the progression from demure, repressed Patience to the sensual awakening of a sexy warrior goddess.”

For Strathie and his team, the design, creation and construction of the cat suits was a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. "There were so many elements to take into consideration because the cat suit is such a distinctive, almost historical costume. We did want to pay some homage to the other Catwomen and I think we achieved a wonderful blend of the past and the not-too-distant future.

"One big design challenge was deciding what material we should use,” continues Strathie. "The costumes for the earlier television and film Catwomen were cutting-edge for their time – Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt wore lurex and Michelle Pfeiffer wore latex. Now, Halle is wearing a combination of leather and a brand new silicone fabric we created just for this costume.”

Perhaps one of the most striking elements of the cat suit are its ten "diamond”-tipped claws. Almost 800 individual crystals were used to create the pavé diamond look on sterling silver settings. 

Strathie's time was also spent combing racks for designer clothes in which to wrap Sharon Stone for her role as the fanatically fashionable Laurel Hedare. "Sharon is as chic and stylish as her character is,” says Strathie, "so it was a lot of fun shopping with her to find just the right clothes for her alter-ego. Luckily, Sharon is very knowledgeable about fashion, she knows what she likes to wear and she's incredibly creative. She loves to mix and match and brought a lot of her own fashion sense to the film, which serviced the character very effectively.”

"I wanted Laurel to give the impression that she can't be too rich or too thin,” says Stone, "so there's an almost surreal sort of void feel to my look. I've got some great Hermes bags, Jimmy Choo shoes and Fendi gave us some beautiful furs. Laurel has no conscience about anything, so she's wild about fur. She's just a big design slave and it was fabulous fun playing dress up with her!”

In a tribute to Catwoman's sexy style, Fifth Avenue fashion mecca Henri Bendel, one of the country's most distinguished fashion institutions, is currently featuring an exclusive line of Catwoman merchandise. The store carries a special selection of apparel, accessories, and other products inspired by the film. The legendary Henri Bendel windows have also been styled in a Catwoman theme.

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