DEVELOPING & PRODUCING THE SILK SPECTRE II AT SYREN COUTURE
Michael Wilkinson approached Syren Couture to be the production house that fabricated the actual design for the character, from prototype to finished model because of Syren Couture’s excellent reputation and long history of working with the Movie Industry. Syren Couture is the leading latex high fashion house and has been supplying custom latex and leather designs to the entertainment industry for over 16 years, including the iconic Catwoman suit worn by Michelle Pfeiffer in the film Batman Returns.
Jeffrey Gent, Lead Designer for Syren Couture: “When I had my first meeting with Michael Wilkinson I was blown away by the beautiful design that he had come up with for Silk Specter II. I didn’t care much for her costume in the original graphic novel, so I was really happy to see that Michael did his own interpretation of her look and made it much more sensuous. I think he did a wonderful job.”
Silk Spectre II’s latex costume is a dramatic departure from the original silk lingerie style mini dress that she wore on the pages of the comics, and loyalists to Gibbons' first designs are already creating a buzz about whether or not the costume should have been changed.
“I have to admit that the technical challenges involved with developing the Silk Spectre suit were quite daunting. It was the most complex piece that I have ever worked on, that’s including the Catwoman Suit. I worked from extensive measurements taken at our first fitting as well as a fiberglass life cast of Malin Ackerman’s body. The body cast was essential when creating the pattern and testing the prototypes for the suit. Michael made several changes to the initial design over the course of the suit’s creation which all turned out to be fantastic improvements. One of the biggest technical issues involved the mixing metal with latex.”
Since most metals with stain and degrade natural latex, Syren Couture developed new techniques which allowed the two materials to be used together safely.
“Malin was great to work with; she was so patient through all of the fittings and costume adjustments. Latex doesn't keep you very warm and so I was impressed that even during the cold Vancouver winter Malin was a trooper. The final fitting for the camera test was the first time that I saw Malin in full hair and makeup with the completed costume; the effect was stunning! When director Zack Snyder saw Malin walk on the set as Silk Spectre II for the first time he exclaimed, ‘Wow! Wow! Awesome!’ It was one of the best moments of my life, getting that kind of reaction from such a talented and successful director” says Jeffrey Gent.
Though it was not easy to wear the skintight latex costume, Ackerman herself was inspired by Wilkinson’s design and Syren’s execution of it. In an About.com interview at Comic Con 2008, she called the costume “phenomenal;” wearing it, she explained, “You feel attractive and you feel sexy and you feel strong” – all things that were instrumental, she said, in helping her get into the Silk Spectre II character.
Syren Couture has a colorful history of creating costumes for such movies at Batman Returns, The Matrix, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Men in Black and for TV shows that include CSI: Miami, True Blood, and Ugly Betty as well as for numerous top music videos. Syren's "Catwoman" suit created for Michelle Pfeiffer's role in the 1992 "Batman Returns" movie was recently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC in the "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" exhibit. When asked by the Today show which was the best-dressed of the superheroes on display, legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour replied, “Catwoman every time, absolutely!”