The Dark Knight
In this episode of From Tailors With Love myself and Kyle Barbeau discuss the style breakdown of Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008). The full interview plus screen grabs can be found over at our YouTube channel.
About the Joker Tie
Costume designer Lindy Hemming has come to T&A for ties and shirts for many years and films. Our “Tie Man” Stuart Hamilton worked with her to create a stepped jacquard that she wanted to be “dipped” to make the colours more muted and grungy- appropriate for the psychotic character.
We made the tie in her presence while her coffee cooled and that was that. While not the most popular of our “Legends” selections, a fantastic piece to compliment an Oscar winning performance and actor.
About the Batsuit
There is a terrific YouTube video on Creating the New Batsuit for The Dark Knight posted by Flashback Film Making. In The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne played by Christian Bale mentions to Lucius Fox played by Morgan Freeman that he needs a new suit.
Fox quips ‘3-button is a little 90s Mr Wayne’.
Wayne shows Fox some new designs which will enable him to move his head. Something of a running gag throughout the Batman franchise is the rigidity of the Batsuit. Fox returns with some design samples made from Kevlar.
What’s the Batsuit made of?
I have loosely transcribed for you some of the key bits about Kevlar from that video. These are not direct quotes just beats, I would urge you to watch the video for accuracy and credits.
Kevlar has reinforced joints that makes it five times stronger than steel. It was developed by DuPont in 1965. Kevlar is a fibre that interweaves with each other so when it gets hit they stretch and the individual threads fight against each other.
It can resist high speed bullets. With Kevlar it’s less the range, but the size of bullet and speed. Most handguns and shot gun; Batman will be safe.
The Batsuit is made of separate plates of armour composed of 110 components that enable more movement than previous suits. It’s made of ceramic plated armour made by Ceradyne Inc, in California. The ceramic plates themselves are composed from Boron Carbide which when heated to extreme temperatures and formed into ceramic plating, is nearly as hard as diamonds.
The Batsuit his suit is made of fire proof material known as Nomex, also developed by DuPont in the 60s. The same fire proof material is used in firefighters uniforms, it’s in racing drivers uniforms etc. It doesn’t catch, it doesn’t melt.
About the Clown Joker Make Up
Another great YouTube clip uploaded by Paul Edwards from his interview with Lindy Hemming reveals some amazing insights about the intellectual property rights of clown faces. Lindy says:
Creating the clown faces and heads; you cannot use an existing clown face. There has to be many points of difference between the clown faces that we made and existing clown faces. And the clown faces are in a library which are painted on an egg and cannot be replicated.
About that Watch
It’s a Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, which is a dress watch that dates back to the 1930’s, developed for polo players who needed a watch rugged enough to survive the sport. (Why they couldn’t have just left their watches at home, who needs to know the time while playing polo?)
I think it’s a good choice for Bruce Wayne because of its reversible square case — a hard exterior beneath the handsome face seen by the rest of the world! Two other famous “hidden identity” characters, Don Draper and Thomas Crown, wear them as well. JLC even released a limited edition to coincide with the Dark Knight Rises. Bale isn’t the first Bruce Wayne to wear a Reverso, either. Val Kilmer wore one in Batman Forever. – Kyle Barbeau.
Fish Mouth Lapels
Chin Han plays Lau, a corrupt millionaire banker who was in league with several of Gotham’s criminals. His suits exude wealth, and his dress sense and suitings reflect that. Lau likes to dress in lighter coloured suits such as cream and lilac and pink striped suits.
These suit his complexion and accompanies it rather than looking to contrast or promote it with typical darker coloured blue suits, common with most bankers. Lau dresses in a way to let the audience know he is already at the top of the hill. He is not a banker looking to climb any ladder.
Listen to the podcast
Further Reading and credits
- Lindy Hemming talks about dressing Bruce Wayne in Armani in a Q&A over at Clothes on Film.
- Armani talk briefly about their involvement with The Dark Knight series in an article on Vogue.
- Many thanks to Kyle Barbeau for joining me on this episode.
- Some images within this post are the copyright of their respective movie studio and are reproduced here under the Fair Use doctrine.