Marvel’s latest foray into the fashion world combines supermodels with superheroes

Marvel is no stranger to the world of fashion. From apparel collections to an Instagram account dedicated to Marvel style, the company is increasingly present in a space that some might still think is at odds with the comic book world despite the continuing rise of geek fashion

Showing no sign of stopping, Marvel took another step to close the gap between these two areas this winter through an impressive partnership with GARAGE Magazine.

The two joined forces to style supermodels as female superheroes for the biannual art and fashion publication’s spring/summer 2016 issue. Five models feature on their own special edition covers as well as in the magazine as part of an article about Marvel’s women heroes. In an email interview with the team behind the covers, GARAGE Magazine editor Dasha Zhukova told the Daily Dot that the magazine “seeks innovative partners that are willing to push the conversation, with both content and technology.”

As Marvel is one of the most pervasive brands in the world, from comic books and video games to television and movies, they were a perfect collaborator for our tenth issue,” she said.

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

The covers feature models Lexi Boling, Karlie Kloss, Candice Swanepoel, Cuba Tornado Scott, and Adriana Lima styled as Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Spider-Gwen, Thor, and She-Hulk, respectively. Considering how many Marvel female superheroes exist, choosing only five to include on the covers was no easy decision according to Marvel Comics editor and director of content development Sana Amanat.

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

“Each of the characters chosen are important to the Marvel Universe,” Amanat said. “From She-Hulk, who is the strongest woman there is, to Jane Foster’s Thor, a reimagined version of the classic Thor, we strove to highlight characters that showcased Marvel’s rich history and its evolution.”

In addition to the special edition cover models, Grace Hartzel is also featured in the magazine styled as the Scarlet Witch. 

Adriana Lima

Adriana Lima

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Candice Swanepoel

Candice Swanepoel

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Cuba Tornado Scott

Cuba Tornado Scott

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Each look is inspired by these heroes so you won’t see anyone wearing familiar costumes or symbols in the photos shot by photographer Patrick Demarchelier. Instead, the clothes for their outfits came from designers like Marc Jacobs, Claw Money, and Matthew Adams Dolan.

We wanted to give the Marvel characters a fashion interpretation and take the mood more street than comic, but without losing references to colour and silhouette,” said GARAGE Magazine fashion director Charlotte Stockdale. “We enjoyed the challenge of morphing the pin-up into tough superheroes more relevant to today.”

Stockdale styled the models while beauty direction was handled by makeup artist Pat McGrath, who recently worked with another Disney property as well. This fall she created looks inspired by Star Wars for the CoverGirl collection released ahead of The Force Awakens. The cosmetics line was just one collection among many Star Wars beauty and fashion releases by Disney before the film, which included regular apparel as well as high-fashion partnerships. After seeing so much Star Wars fashion, it makes sense for another of their properties to keep expanding in this area too.

Lexi Boling

Lexi Boling

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Karlie Kloss

Karlie Kloss

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Grace Hartzel

Grace Hartzel

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Strengthening the connection between these styles and their origins is GARAGE’s free app for iOS and Android, which brings select pages of the magazine to life digitally. Using the app, these Marvel covers burst into a 3D animation for what feels like a digital dive into the comic book pages of the superhero behind each model’s style.

Even beyond the app, Marvel and GARAGE have been bringing their comic book fashion out of the pages in a number of ways since the issue launched in February. The companies celebrated the issue’s release on the first day of New York Fashion Week with an event that night at the Mercer Parking Garage, bringing some comic book flair to Fashion Week, and then footage of the covers in action appeared on Disney’s Times Square billboard. On its websiteGARAGE released short interviews with a few of the models and the Styled By Marvel Instagram account also shared the covers with followers before adding a twist. Recently, Styled By Marvel began pairing them with specific clothing inspired by the same hero, so far featuring two products to go with the Black Widow and Thor covers.

The partnership takes Marvel’s journey into the fashion world to a new level and while it might not be surprising given Disney’s other fashion ventures, it’s also not surprising that its team understands it makes sense for these areas to come together. When asked what she hopes people take away from the covers and how the two worlds can combine, Amanat said “every one of the heroes in the Marvel Universe has their own sense of individualism, and this is a great representation of that.”

“Similar to superheroes, models reimagine themselves with each role, showing the world what’s possible in different ways and styles—or in this case, superpowers,” she added. “Both imagine one’s potential—and how limitless it can be.” 

While there’s no word yet on if we’ll see another Marvel and fashion magazine partnership in the future, now that the covers have let Marvel take on New York Fashion Week and a Times Square billboard, Amanat said, “Who knows where else in the world we’ll continue to make our mark!”

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

Courtesy of GARAGE Magazine

“This has been a great merging of the art and fashion worlds, bringing both perspectives together, and the results are spectacular—powerful women representing our most powerful heroes,” Amanat said.

After seeing the results of this partnership it will be interesting to see how Marvel will bring comic books and fashion together in the future, and if their growth in the area encourages other comic book companies to consider what the two worlds can accomplish together. 

Photo courtesy of GARAGE Magazine via Disney

Lisa Granshaw

Lisa Granshaw

Lisa Granshaw reports on pop culture and geek fashion and is the founder of GeekFold. You can find her work on Syfy, Boing Boing, and Geek and Sundry.