See how the X-Men glow up for Marvel's version of the Met Gala
Artist Russell Dauterman previews some of his high-fashion X-Men designs for the upcoming Hellfire Gala.
Never doubt superheroes' ability to party. It's now been a couple years since the X-Men set up an independent mutant nation-state on the island of Krakoa, and later this year they'll be celebrating with a party way too cool for humans. The Hellfire Gala, which as its name suggests is basically like a Marvel version of the real-life Met Gala, is set to take place this June across multiple books in the X-Men line as well as the special-sized one-shot issue Planet-Sized X-Men. You may remember that recently Marvel allowed fans to vote on a member of the newest X-Men team; that team will officially make its public debut at the Hellfire Gala.
Planet-Sized X-Men will be drawn by Pepe Larraz, the newly-minted Marvel superstar who illustrated both the House of X miniseries that kicked off the era of Krakoa and the bookend issues of the recent X of Swords event. But in order to conceive cool new designs for the X-Men's high fashion, Marvel tapped another superstar artist: Russell Dauterman, who drew much of Jason Aaron's recent much-beloved Thor run, including designing the female version of Thor who will soon be played by Natalie Portman in Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder.
EW is proud to exclusively debut some of Dauterman's mutant fashion designs, along with his insight about why he chose the directions he did. Below, check out the new looks for Storm, Jean Grey, Kitty Pryde, and more.
"My general thought was that the Gala aesthetic should be high-fashion X-Men costumes (mutant clothes), not high-fashion human clothes," Dauterman said. "So I looked at a lot of fashion reference, but tried to think, 'What would the X-costume version of this be?' The looks reference and take inspiration from couture by Alexander McQueen, Iris van Herpen, Balmain, Moschino, Givenchy, Versace, Gaultier, Gucci, and more. I also drew from the characters' past costumes."
Dauterman said he started the project by getting on a group Zoom call with the other writers and editors involved in the X-Men line so they could give him ideas about the general direction they wanted for the designs. For Storm, the senior X-Men member and Omega-level mutant with the power to control weather, the team said they thought it'd be cool if she literally wore weather.
"So I gave her a cape made of clouds and lightning," Dauterman said, on top of ideas he'd jotted down years ago in case he ever got to design a Storm costume one day.
Formerly a member of Krakoa's ruling government, Jean Grey abandoned her post to get back into the field during the climactic battle of X of Swords. Now, she's co-leading the new X-Men team, so Dauterman wanted to make sure he gave her an look "that felt super-heroic."
"I tried to synthesize iconography from Jean’s best costumes into something new and runway-ready," Dauterman says. "The backless idea is a nod to the dress she wore at the beginning of the Phoenix Saga."
Co-leading the new X-Men with Jean is her husband, Cyclops.
"Scott’s personality doesn’t lend itself toward over-the-top, so I went for a streamlined silhouette and a futuristic soldier vibe," Dauterman says. "I wanted high-fashion looks that still felt true to the characters."
Cyclops and Jean's aged-up daughter from an alternate future (we love X-Men mythology!), Rachel Summers' fashion was heavily influenced by Leah Williams, who's been writing her latest adventures in the ongoing X-Factor comic, but wanted to call back to Rachel's days in Excalibur.
"Leah Williams wanted Rachel in a version of her hound look, and also suggested some sort of muzzle," Dauterman says. "So I pushed the silhouette with a liquid latex look — meant to be organic and weird."
One of the richest X-Men, Warren Worthington III, is taking Krakoa corporate with the new X-Corp series launching next month, and so his fashion reflects his business.
"Angel’s look skews more toward human clothes since he’s interacting with the human business world — but still less practical and more bold, like mutant clothes," Dauterman says.
Monet St. Croix was part of the Krakoan strike team that heroically sacrificed themselves to destroy an anti-mutant Sentinel space station in House of X before being resurrected. Now, she's leading X-Corp alongside Angel, and her Gala outfit shows off her high-class grace while also hinting at her monstrous form.
"M’s outfit is a Gala version of a pantsuit, and the fascinator is meant to echo her Penance hair," Dauterman says.
Betsy Braddock has been many things over the years. Now she wields the sword of Captain Britain, but hasn't forgotten her past.
"I mixed in aspects of Betsy’s classic costumes, bringing that armored princess energy to her Captain Britain look," Dauterman says. "[Excalibur writer] Tini Howard suggested Alexander McQueen as a reference, which was a big influence in the design."
"I love the idea of Rogue wearing lace," Dauterman says "I always loved that red lace dress Jim Lee drew for her date night! The collar was my attempt at merging Rogue’s iconic hood and the jacket."
Kate Pryde's phasing powers initially proved a hurdle for her on Krakoa, making it more difficult for her to access the island's portals and resurrection system. But now that's all figured out and the newly-minted Red Queen of Hellfire is feeling herself — and taking fashion advice from the White Queen herself, Emma Frost.
"I thought Kate’s clothes should be chic because of Emma’s influence, but also a little messy — a nod to Kate’s less-fortunate fashion sense early on," Dauterman says. "I also tried to evoke phasing by using asymmetrical, cutout designs and fabrics with different weights/textures."
Emma Frost, Part 1
Once upon a time, Emma Frost declared her mission statement to mutantkind: "“The whole world is watching us now. We must be nothing less than fabulous.” Is it any surprise that Emma would have not one, not two, but three outfits for the Hellfire Gala?
Emma Frost, Part 2
One of Emma's outfits is based on her traditional White Queen look, another resembles one of her business suits, and the third is more like an evening gown.
"Her costumes needed to be bold and provocative," Dauterman says.
Emma Frost, Part 3
Emma is one of the few mutants with multiple abilities. In addition to being one of the strongest mutant telepaths around, she can also turn her skin to rock-hard diamond.
"I thought it’d be cool if she were in diamond form for some of these looks — using her mutation as jewelry," Dauterman says.
- Michelle Rodriguez to star in Fast and Furious-inspired competition show for Discovery
- Billy Porter reinvents the fairy godmother as 'the Fab G' in Kay Cannon's Cinderella: First look
- Chicago Fire star Miranda Rae Mayo teases possible exit: 'You always gotta be ready for what might happen'
- Jeremy Jordan will lead the Off Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors when it returns this fall