Supergirl, The Flash, Batwoman & More: Designing DC's Super Costumes

Moderator and fellow designer Trayce Gigi Field chatted with Lindy Hemming (designer for the "Wonder Woman" and "Dark Knight" films), Erin Benach (Birds of Prey designer), and legend in the design and costuming world, Colleen Atwood (Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, Batwoman) on DC Fandome's "Explore the Multiverse" panel, "The Super Designers Behind the Super Suits." They're all fantastic and help build the world and set the tone for the characters on screen before the actors even open their mouths. They discussed the process and what went into creating the iconic looks that have become… well… super.

Lindy mentioned how notoriously difficult it is for actors to get their costume off to go to the bathroom and giggles about how there's always a person on set assigned to help an actor get out of the costume to go. That's the amusing behind-the-scenes tidbits we don't usually hear and I am here for it!

Inside the Minds of DC Costume Designers (Image: The CW)

She also talked about how on Wonder Woman, seeing all the different women of Themiscira go from who they are everyday – policewoman, athletes, teachers –  to being transformed into badass female warriors was incredible. "To see them being put into their costumes and realizing they were one of a group and…watching them being so proud of themselves – it was a big moment to have."

She also touched on how much fun it was to get to design such an iconic Joker – of course, Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight – and how unpacking the character's madness and psyche with the actor lead to the best version of each costume look onscreen. Really, I'm just living for the clips of The Dark Knight they showed – I will always love that version of Joker.

Switching gears, Supergirl has had a lot of different costumes through the years, many of them rather skimpy, and Atwood discussed the challenge of designing a costume not only for the first superwoman in the "Berlanti-verse" but for an empowering female superhero who is every bit as strong and classy as the male heroes. "That was the year at the Met Ball almost everybody was naked and that really annoyed me. And I was just like, 'You know, they all looked great and all that, but I'm going to dress Supergirl in a way that's sort of not reactionary, but just in a way that's so classic that she works for any and all seasons.' That was my starting point, it wasn't like a bare midriff; she was actually clothed in the same kind of costume – almost – that a guy would have, but it was a women's costume. Without making it like an army thing, or trousers or stuff, it still was feminine, it had a skirt, but I really wanted it to be strong and show her strength as a person, not just a super body."

Speaking of super bodies, Birds of Prey designer Benach chatted about creating the costumes for such a great girl gang – the costumes are fun and true to the characters. She was presented with the added challenge of having to not only make all the costumes true to the character but also serviceable and safe for all the crazy insane stunts in the film. "Harley is like a child in an adult body…she sees something shiny, she grabs it." Her wardrobe certainly reflects that, and I want every single piece in her closet.

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About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions
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