Emma Peel's Leather Catsuit

Though the character of Emma Peel is closely associated with the zippered black leather catsuit she wore in the title sequences and promotional materials for her first season on The Avengers, she wore the outfit only a few times in the episodes themselves.

Below, Mrs. Peel battles a well-dressed henchman in a photo-comic based on the extended fight scene from “Death at Bargain Prices,” which premiered in October 1965. Diana Rigg plays Emma Peel and George Selway is her opponent, with Patrick Macnee making a cameo as John Steed.




Darci said...

IIRC, Mrs. Peel's predecessor, Cathy Gale, is the one who popularized the leather catsuits. This was in 1962-1964, before the series came to the U. S. (hence the misperception on this side of the Atlantic). Mrs. Peel soon transitioned to stretch jersey catsuits.

Tony said...

Hi, Darci.

Yes, Cathy Gale introduced the leather look to The Avengers, though her outfits weren't catsuits. Diana Rigg reportedly didn't like wearing the leather gear, and when fashion designer John Bates came on board, he wanted to go for a smoother, more skin-tight look, hence the stretch-jersey catsuits.

Dandy said...

Well done on making some well chosen screen grabs into such a stunning comic strip. Exquisitely done. You also know your Avengers.


Watch out for diabolical masterminds!

Tony Lewis said...

Thanks, Dandy!

Anonymous said...

Hi, it was a great job that you have done, congratulations!. One question, in the last "WHACK", one before "the coup of grace", does she hit in the balls to him?
Thank you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Men she have the same freedom of leather jumpsuits as females after all we had them first( fighter pilots ); like all menswear that cross-dressing females have purloined the last fifty years !

Warren O'Leary said...

It was designer Alun Hughes who created Emma Peel's colorful criplene material emmapeelers with matching ankle boots, John Bates was the leather catsuit designer.

Tony Lewis said...

Actually, Warren, Diana Rigg filmed several episodes before John Bates was brought in as a designer, and the leather outfit seen above appears primarily in those early episodes. Bates phased it out, replacing it with the leather-and-stretch-jersey combo seen in "The Town of No Return," "Castle De'Ath," and "The Danger Makers." We don't know for sure who designed the costume seen in the title sequence, as it pre-dates Bates's involvement in the show.

susieq said...

Amazing dedication. Loved it!