Designers put an edge on Batman items

June 29, 1995|By Lisa Lytle | Lisa Lytle,Orange County Register

"Holy high fashion, Batman!"

Just in time for the smash movie "Batman Forever": Todd Oldham's fanciful clothes and Robert Lee Morris' sleek jewelry.

Mr. Oldham's clothes and accessories are available in 13 Warner Bros. Studio Stores. Mr. Morris' jewelry is available in the stores and from the Warner Bros. Studio Store catalog.

It's unusual for well-known clothing and jewelry designers to create collections of high-end, limited-edition fashion items that marry the designers' touch with film costume-designers' ideas.

Wearable collectibles that tied in with "Batman" and "Batman Returns" were ho-hum logo or print T-shirts and caps.

Todd Oldham Forever gets no such yawns. The 23-piece women's collection has an attitude. You could easily picture the Riddler-inspired outfits on Mr. Oldham's runway drag queens, who could give Jim Carrey an inferiority complex.

Mr. Oldham's answer to the Riddler's bright-green catsuit with black question marks is a slinky velour dress, chain straps dazzling with green rhinestone-decked question marks. The theme is repeated on green vests to go with jeans, roomy silk charmeuse pajamas, pantyhose, drawstring bags and T-shirts.

The wild-animal prints of Two-Face's suit face off in clothes for dual personalities: Half the pair of jeans is zebra-striped in ruby and black from waist to ankle, the other half is leopard-spotted in yellow and black. A backpack comes blocked with the same prints.

Mr. Oldham even fiddled with Batman's and Robin's stud-muffin body armor, a mold of a muscle-bound chest and to-die-for abs. He used it as a print on T-shirts. And you don't have to be bench-pressing 500 pounds to wear these.

For accessories, Mr. Oldham sculpted black matte metal into belt buckles and hair barrettes with the Bat logo.

While Mr. Oldham's style is typically kitschy, jeweler Morris took a minimalist approach. Using his favorite medium, sterling silver, he sculpted the Bat signal into a large pendant hanging from a black linen cord and a small ring. He played up the natural curves of the Riddler's question mark in a voluptuous pendant and studs.

"What I bring to the party is a sense of integrity not usual in cartoon or comic-book merchandise," Mr. Morris said. "This is stuff that has weight and thickness to it. One of the qualities I bring to the Batman collection is Batman's darkness and edge. I concentrate on that attitude. The edges of the jewelry are beveled and look sharp. And although they're not dangerous to wear, they give the impression that they are. . . .

"I've edited out everything that doesn't belong, and I've highlighted what I choose to leave, which is the form," Mr. Morris said. "The form sends out the message. In the case of the question mark, it's fun. In the case of the Bat pendant, it's danger because of the sharp edges on the inside."

Mr. Morris grew up reading Batman and other D.C. Comics. This was one reason he agreed to do special collections for Warner Bros. "Batman and the D.C. Comics superheroes made sense as themes in silver because they had an industrial look," Mr. Morris said. His first Batman pieces debuted last year, but with the release of "Batman Forever," he added seven new pieces, including a Robin pin.

Mr. Oldham was a fan of the first two Batman movies.

After he agreed to do the collection, Mr. Oldham said he was given access to the spectacular "Batman Forever" costumes designed by Bob Ringwood and Ingrid Ferrin. He even tried on some of the costumes, including the Riddler's jacket that lights up, which is his favorite costume from the movie.

The velour Riddler dress costs $244; cotton T-shirts, $30-$32; silk drawstring bags, $65; Riddler pantyhose, $22; Riddler silk pajamas, $280. The least expensive item is a metallic embroidered Riddler baseball cap for $20.

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