Harley Quinn is about to make her big screen debut in Suicide Squad, but, before she hits theaters, the character got a bit of a makeover. Since her creation in 1992's Batman: The Animated Series, Harley has undergone many different looks, different origin stories, and various weapons of choice. But, through all the changes, one thing has remained consistent: every new costume is more scandalous and sexy than the last. Needless to say, Harley Quinn's new costume in Suicide Squad is much sexier than the original Harley outfit, and it has caused mixed reactions from DC fans everywhere.
Instead of going back to Harley Quinn's original outfit, a skintight harlequin outfit designed by artist Bruce Timm, filmmakers decided to reinvent the character's signature look, turning Harley into more of a modern femme fatale than a female Joker. While Quinn's original costume was relatively simple, with a black and red color scheme and diamond designs, her new Suicide Squad costume is practically screaming. In the film, Quinn wears white stilettos, fishnet tights, glittery red and blue booty shorts (and that's putting it generously given the lack of material), and a ripped up, "Daddy's Lil' Monster" baseball tee — in other words, her look is anything but subdued. Compared to Quinn's original getup, it's pretty out there, but then again, so is Harley.
Harley's new outfit might not resemble the original, but that iconic jumpsuit does make a brief appearance in the film. In a nod to the original character, Harley is seen considering wearing a red and black suit before choosing on her now infamous "Daddy's Lil' Monster" tee. This evolution from harlequin outfit to booty shorts reflects Harley's style changes over the years. As Harley has grown as a character with her own comic — Mad Love — and appearances in video games and animated films, her signature outfit has morphed into less of a traditional look to more sexual and bright. Slowly, but surely, her color scheme changed from black and red to red and blue, and her body suit was traded in for corsets and bras. It could be argued that Harley's outfit in Suicide Squad is following a natural evolution of her look.
This is, at least, no doubt what the filmmakers hope audiences will make of the look. During a set visit, director David Ayer made it clear that he wanted Harley Quinn to not fit into any societal norms, her outfit included. "She represents so many dichotomies in today's world where everything is sensitive, and you can't talk about anything, and you can't represent anything, and you can't do anything... she doesn't care," Ayer told Screen Rant. It's this IDGAF attitude that Ayer wanted costume designer Kate Hawley to incorporate into Harley Quinn's final costume — though according to Hawley's set interview with ScreenRant, the filmmakers also reportedly told her to make the costume sexy. "There was a call to in some areas to make her overtly sexual," Hawley said, adding that, in the end, she saw Harley's new outfit as reflecting a woman owning her own sexuality. "It's hers, it's not for anyone else," she added.
Robbie herself seems to see the merit in Harley Quinn's skimpy outfit. In an interview with The New York Times , she defended her character's look, saying that Harley is "wearing hot pants because they're sparkly and fun," not for the enjoyment of the men around her. This statement seems at least partially accurate, though it must be stated that Harley Quinn also wears a bomber jacket that declares her "Property of Joker," which implies, at least to me, that she does, in fact, consider her actions and her outfits to be his calls.
That said, Harley's devotion to the Joker is crucial to her identity as a supervillain, so it makes sense that it be incorporated into her look. In an effort to defend Harley Quinn's underwear-as-clothes look, Ayer told The New York Times that he saw the booty shorts as fitting with her character. "I didn't think denim overalls would be appropriate for that character," he said. And it's true, Harley is a sexual character, driven, at least in part, by her love and lust for the Joker. If she wants to wear non-existent pants, she should be able to do so. I just hope that the movie makes it clear that it should be her decision only, and not that of a man's.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy (2)