A superhero costume always comes with a cape that is believed to be the source of their ability to fly. However, what superheroes are wearing are actually the product of coordination, creativity, and technical skill. In addition to customer design, illustrators, production designers, visual effect artists, fabric specialists, and costume manufacturers are involved in creating suits, capes, and masks.
How are superhero costumes created?
A superhero costume requires massive collaboration because the character has to connect to the audience. First of all, the costume designer must understand the director’s vision for a movie like Thor, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Batman vs. Superman. Once a vision has been communicated, the costume designer has to think of different ideas. Inspiration can come from ancient Greek sculptures, high fashion, video art or high-tech arts.
When the iconic costumes of superheroes require updating, the costume designer must take into account the emotional and sometimes vocal fan base. There must be something that fans can look forward to and their expectations have to be honoured.
Creating a superhero costume is not only about aesthetics but whether the character can move, fight and use his superpowers and weapons with ease. For example, the Flash has to keep on moving so that his costume must be designed to make everything happen visually and functionally.
Those who are old enough may still remember the Batsuit costume of Michael Keeton that did not allow him to turn his head. If a villain sneaks behind Batman, he has to turn his entire torso, which is very distracting. A lot of engineering went to the redesign of Batman’s black cape with cowl to ensure that he can perform in a natural and forceful way. It is a long process to make a simple element like a cape work in a flexible way.
The materials chosen for superhero costumes must be functional and cool-looking to evoke that powerful, out-of-this-world feel. The Mockingbird suit in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, was designed to ensure freedom of movement for the super-heroine. Lots of stretch panels were used including leather. Sometimes, the leather used is not genuine leader. Many fabrics can be made to look like something else to achieve a powerful feel.
In Superman’s Man of Steel, the design is a product of engineering. It involves multiple layers from the sculpted chrome suit to the thin sheer 3D printed chainmail-like blue mesh. The idea behind the costume is to create something strong and very powerful. However, the costume designer must also take into account the context of the scenes and storyline. For example, Superman needs a lightweight cape for the action scenes and another cape that is appropriate when he is standing or walking. It involves multiple costumes to fit individual movements of both the actor and stunt doubles.
Creating custom capes is not as complicated as the costumes of actors playing the role of a superhero. However, these custom capes can provide a child with unimaginable happiness and excitement. It makes the child feel strong and powerful to improve his self-esteem.