Dear Catwoman,
I'm a doll collector and I'm displeased with the two 16" Robert Tonner Catwoman dolls. (One has this really strange-looking cowl and has this odd light lavender version of the skirt costume you once wore, the other doll is costumed in black and while not exactly wearing goggles it's . . . not great. Perhaps you should have a word with these people. I'm assuming the use of your likeness is under some licensing scheme through Wayne Enterprises.) I am trying to make a costume for another, better "Catwoman" doll - dark curly hair, bright green eyes, and not at all "complex".

What would you say are the most crucial elements of your iconic purple costume are? I don't think I can sew leather (or faux leather) on such a small scale (certainly not in a flattering manner), but I believe a suitable knit would suggest the same effect. The tabloids don't seem to have a universal image of what the purple catsuit looks like. Belt? No belt? WHISKERS? There was even one strange depiction with a tail! Any help or images you could contribute for the sake of accuracy would be helpful.

Many thanks,

What an insightful question, Emily.  For those are unaware, Robert Tonner is a doll maker who began at the Parsons School (Project Runway fans know it) and did a stint at Bill Blass, enabling him to create dolls that are a bit more grounded in the world of fashion than something like Barbie who is certainly about the clothes, but is a doll first.   He has worked with both DC and Marvel to produce versions of their comic book characters, and his two Catwoman efforts are pictured below:

Now, I must admit, I rather like both of these.  The skirted costume shows off the leg beautifully, and the low-cut neckline puts my lack of complexity front and center--meow.  The colors are, as Emily noted, a little... strange.  That is a very pale lilac with a very... vivid green on the cape.  It's odd, especially on the cowl.  I think a deeper and redder purple would certainly work better.  The fit and drape of the gown is spectacular though.  So let's give it a meow.  The catsuit on right - I've got to say, they've got the color right, and the suit looks spectacular over the bust.  I also like the high heeled boot.  And the hair is better with that light curl.  On the downside, I'm not fond of the belt, the lacing on the boots, or the open-fingered gloves. 

To answer your question, Emily, I think the important features to include are: long black hair flowing out the back of the cowl, light curl of the left one preferred.  Black gloves with claws that rise above the elbow halfway to shoulder, black high heeled boot coming over the knee half-way up the thigh, whip holster without a belt as belts break up the line of the catsuit.  Color is that deep reddish purple.  Now the cowl is where Mr. Tonner is clearly having problems on both, and I sympathize.  It took me a while to get one that fits properly*.

On the whole, I would have to agree with you that the real key is purple, and the all-important rejection of the goggles, the short hair, the zip-up front, and the square buckle that are all emblems of the Post atrocity. 

Now, as for materials on the suit, I also agree that leather is impractical for this scale.  While I am no seamstress, I would think any kind of stretch lame would get the desired effect, clinging to the curves of the body while creating some texture variation.  It looks like they may have used some sort of stretch velvet on the right, which seems odd at first but which appears to have produced that effect with the napp creating highlight and shadow that you could "shape" even more with a little strategic brushing.

Good luck with your project, and as always, thank you for asking Catty.

Ciaomeow,as we say in the real neighborhood,

*Editor's Note:  You will see from Catwoman's Second Life Avatar that she too opted for a black mask with purple highlights rather than going the other way around.  While it is less strictly accurate in reproducing the Balent costume, it looks right.

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