Some official images have surfaced for director Mathew Vaughn’s adaptation of Marvel comic X-Men: First Class. Plot details are still sketchy, but we do know that the story is set at some point during 1960s (mid?) and concentrates on the relationship between young Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr / mutant guise Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Their ‘civvie’ costumes by Sammy Sheldon (Kick-Ass, Stardust) are not excessively sixties in tone, however.
Only a handful of details give the film away as not set in the present day, most notably on January Jones as Emma Frost and Kevin Bacon’s ‘Hellfire Club’ leader Sebastian Shaw. A white, belted PVC catsuit channels the unforgettable legacy of The Avengers costume designer John Bates for Diana Rigg, while Shaw’s rather ‘decadent dandy’ look with silk cravat was a smart recurrence for gentlemen in the mid-sixties.
However, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert wearing a neat grey swing coat and slim black trousers (above) could easily be from 2011. This style of coat was most popular during the 1950s, when it was wider, longer and the Peter Pan collar more pronounced. McAvoy’s costume for Xavier is likewise somewhat period ambiguous. The double breasted reefer style raincoat was likewise prevalent in the fifties, although is a common enough sight now in heavy duty wool.
The flap pocket on Nicholas Hoult’s sports jacket as Hank McCoy is a definite sixties touch. At this time traditional male formal wear was being reworked by Pierre Cardin, a designer perhaps best known for inspiring The Beatles’ tube suits. Standing in the background is Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkholme. She wears a cropped leather double breasted trench coat as a dress with long matching boots. The suggestion of appearing ‘nude’ beneath outerwear is one that strikes an immediate period vibe, and yet is still acceptable, if risqué, today.
Two final points of note are Xavier’s chukka boots and Lehnsherr’s knitwear (above). Along with desert boots (that have a crepe sole), chukka boots were widely seen after World War II and eventually beloved by the Mod crowd. The idea of short, narrow trousers is partly one of display. These boots are intended to be seen. Lehnsherr wears a fitted rollneck, a style that also came to prominence after the Second World War. The sixties, however, was the time for male knitwear, either under slim suits or more casual with a zip fastening leather jacket.
UPDATE! About an hour after this post was published two more images were suddenly released. Check them out below:
So, James McAvoy’s Professor Xavier in what looks to be a reefer (pea coat), a wool one this time, chunky knitwear and fingerless gloves. At this tight angle it could even be a shot from Wanted (2008). Michael Fassbender is unquestionably Magneto, however. That trademark helmet is instantly recognisable. Judging by the strapping on the yellow and black, Kevlar-alike suit (Kevlar is naturally yellow) he may have just jumped out an airplane, but that is only a wild guess.
January Jones’ outfits will likely receive most coverage during the run up to X-Men: First Class’ release. Understandable, as she is instantly reflective of the sexy wow factor in the comic book. Moreover, Emma Frost is the most overtly sixties looking character in the group. Of course, cleavage revealing catsuits are still worn nowadays, but more as a throwback costume than a specific look. Shame really.
X-Men: First Class is due to hit major cities on 3rd June.
© 2011 – 2013, Christopher Laverty.