Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!
The new Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) teaser doesn't reveal anything to do with plot — it is rare to get a teaser marking the start of production — but it does set the tone of what we can expect when the movie is released next February. It is also the perfect encapsulation of marketing a movie with a certain social media platform in mind as it plays like an Instagram video, even if at 20 seconds it is a tad too long for a single Instagram Story.
Quick cuts between characters, neon lighting, and the focus on feet, weapons, and drinking silhouettes give the impression of a social event that is even more chaotic than Fyre Festive. Moderat's "A New Error" as the song choice only adds to this hazy influencer aesthetic, but from this brief tease alone, I know I want to go to this party. The dress code appears to be casual with a hint of homemade sparkle — BYOW (bring your own weapon).
It looks like a party shop challenge on Project Runway, and Robbie is more than making it work. This is Club Kid meets Fifth Element; furthermore, it is a big improvement on her Suicide Squad costume.
I know there will be some who disagree on this stance, but the male gaze-infused aspect of this costuming and the way Harley was framed in Suicide Squad took away her empowerment. Robbie told The Washington Post that she didn’t have the best time in that ensemble, particularly with the physical aspect as “It’s obviously not the most comfortable getup.”
It might have been one of the most popular Halloween costumes of 2016, but I am so ready for the Birds of Prey attire, which looks like it has been handmade by Harley herself rather than picked up at Hot Topic. Prior to this unveiling, Robbie told Yahoo Movies, "There will be new Halloween costumes out there one day.” She's not wrong, because now fans have plenty of time to make something before this movie is even released.
A yellow leather bralet worn over a black bra combined with a big metallic belt, blue pants, and Harley’s baseball bat (it is unclear if it is Harley brandishing this weapon in the teaser) is a ‘90s punky aesthetic. It is part Tank Girl, part Gwen Stefani singing “Just a Girl.” The orange braces instantly conjure up an image of Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) from The Fifth Element.
This teaser also reveals the various members of this gang, including Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), as well as the super steezy looking villains, Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) and Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina). This Look of the Week is not just about Harley’s fabulous new ensemble, but also the women (and men) we have just been introduced to.
Classic button down and jeans are giving Renee Montoya a badass vibe, as she doesn’t need a clothing gimmick. A pink cast covered in expletives and doodles combined with a hoodie is a pure DGAF aesthetic for Cassandra Cain.
Dark colors dominate the costuming of the two male villains, and this brief glimpse also explains Chris Messina’s new bleach bottle ‘do, which he debuted at the Golden Globes. He rolled up in a tux sporting this new look that shouldn’t be attractive and yet still is. At Sundance, Zac Efron followed suit, but as far as we know this is not for a role. Anyway, if a third guy goes platinum we can officially call it a trend.
This 20-second teaser sets the tone even if it doesn’t have to define what Birds of Prey will be; the female gaze doesn’t mean the costumes won’t be provocative. But as Bumblebee recently showed, there is a way to have your lead in short shorts and it not feel like the camera is staring at her ass — coincidentally, Birds of Prey also happens to be penned by Bumblebee screenwriter Christina Hodson.
Harley hasn't had a complete makeover, as her signature crimson lip color returns, but her bunches are a lot shorter. The Puddin’ choker has been switched out for a Bruce dog collar, which could be a Batman reference but is more likely pointing to Harley’s co-creator Bruce Timm.
Harley Quinn (and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller) was the best thing about Suicide Squad; Margot Robbie, as this character, doesn’t need a reinvention to make us forget her performance in that movie. Instead, this acts as a reminder that Harley Quinn is a badass and she has a new squad to hang out with. This is one party I will definitely be RSVP’ing to.