The sexy latex costume worn by actress Malin Akerman, who portrays Silk Spectre II in the just released "Watchmen" movie, has garnered both praise and controversy from comic book fans because it departs radically from the original graphic novel design.
"Watchmen," the highly anticipated movie from Warner Bros, is based on the seminal 12-issue limited comic book series created in the 1980s by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins.
Michael Wilkinson was the costume designer for "Watchmen" while L.A.-based Syren Couture was the production house that fabricated the actual design for the character, from prototype to finished model. Syren 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.
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 didn't think Silk's outfit in the graphic novel was very flattering and so I was happy to see that Michael (Wilkinson) did his own interpretation of her look and made it much more sensuous," said Jeffrey Gent, head designer with Syren Couture. "Malin Akerman was great to work with and she was so patient through all of the fittings and costume adjustments. Latex doesn't keep you very warm and even during the cold Vancouver winter Malin was a trooper.
The final fitting for the camera test was the first time that I saw her 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."
Though it was not easy to wear the skintight latex costume, Akerman 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" вЂ“ all things that were instrumental, she said, in helping her get into the Silk Spectre II character.
Wilkinson's new design for the costume combines a hip-length, French-cut body suit with thigh-high rubber boots and shoulder length gloves that both connect to the suit with garters. A dramatic two-toned combination of amber yellow and jet black in a corseted top accentuates Malin Akerman's curves and gives her skimpy latex outfit a dynamic quality of controlled energy. The semi-transparent amber yellow latex had to be custom made in England to match a Pantone color sample provided by Wilkinson, who wanted the costume to reflect the moody, muted tones in the original graphic novel.