‘Evil’ costume designer no better than the undead


Robin Maryland, president, ActSensuous

I don’t know if, or how much you liked it, but one of my own favorite posts on this blog is “A Treat when Pantyhose show up unexpectedly” (http://wp.me/pwR4W-eb).  In it, I express my delight in seeing the main character in the movie, Blood: The Last Vampire, battling all sorts of deamons while wearing a traditional Japanese schoolgirl uniform, complete with sheer pantyhose.

To me, there is something super sexy about the juxtaposition that results when horror and martial arts action are combined with the ultimate expression of beauty, femininity and class.  One just wouldn’t expect to see a beautiful young girl dispatching vampires with karate kicks and a samurai sword, all the while dressed in a skirt and pantyhose.

Similarly, the first three installments of the Resident Evil movies offered that same sex appeal:  The beautiful and powerful Alice (played by Milla Jovovich) and/or a couple of her allies wear pantyhose while battling hordes of vicious zombies

Man, those zombies of the Resident Evil (from now on, RE for short) series are the best since the original ones in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead movie, and more recently, those in the TV series: The Walking Dead.

Like Blood: The Last Vampire, the RE series of movies is based on a video game.  I had never heard of, nor seen before or since, the video games, but the movies are awesome.

In fact, according to the official website, http://www.residentevil-movie.com/site/, the RE film franchise “has grossed nearly $700 million worldwide to date …,” making it the most successful game-to-movie venture in history.

Last week, the fifth installment, Resident Evil: Retribution opened worldwide.  Written and directed by Milla Jovovich’s husband, Paul W.S. Anderson, here’s the synopsis of the movie (again, straight from the film’s official website):

“The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, Alice (Milla Jovovich), awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Without a safe haven, Alice continues to hunt those responsible for the outbreak; a chase that takes her from Tokyo to New York, Washington, D.C. and Moscow, culminating in a mind-blowing revelation that will force her to rethink everything that she once thought to be true. Aided by newfound allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun.”

International model and superstar actress Milla Jovovich sometimes can be seen wearing sheer pantyhose as the main character, Alice, in the original “Resident Evil” movie in 2002.

I loved the first three RE movies: Resident Evil (2002), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007).  The fourth installment, Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) and now this one, Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), uhhhhh, not as much.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of the entire RE series.  I just prefer the purity of the first three installments, in which Alice and a few of her allies battle everyday scary zombies.  I like the few against the many.  I like the simple premise of trying to survive against the marauding horde.  If you’re strong enough, fast enough and can accurately shoot or strike the zombies in their heads, you survive.

When the writers start adding these unbelievable 11-foot-tall mutated monstrosities that swing 200-pound hammers, and the only way you can kill the things is by somehow blowing them to smitherines by way of an explosion, that’s where I lose interest.  But that’s just me.  The writers don’t have to create ever-more fantastic villains to keep me watching.  I can’t get enough of the humans-versus -undead battle on its own.  That works just fine for me.

Now, don’t worry.  This is still The ActSensuous Blog, and I’m not a film critic.  So I’ll get to the pantyhose now.  The first three RE movies thrilled me in part because of that juxtaposition I described earlier.  I wouldn’t EXPECT to find a single female lead or supporting character wearing pantyhose in a movie about  a zombie apocalypse, but I do APPRECIATE it when it happens.

For one thing, I love realism in movies.  I think it would have been unrealistic if at least a couple women weren’t wearing pantyhose when the undead began menacing the world.  It’s just a little too convenient that every woman would just happen to be dressed in leather, jeans or some other form of otherwise comfortable clothing that would be perfect for running, climbing, falling, jumping, fighting, whatever.

Now, think I’m wrong about my statement that some women wore pantyhose during the first three RE movies?  OK, let’s recap.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) makes fighting vicious zombies beautiful and glamorous in all the Resident Evil movies.

Resident Evil — Alice is wearing sheer nude pantyhose with that skimpy red dress and those black boots.  (By the way, I hate big bulky boots with a dress and pantyhose, but hey, I can’t have everything.)

Milla Jovovich, left, Sandrine Holt and Sienna Guillory comprise a small band of humans trying to survive marauding zombies in Resident Evil-Acpocalypse. Holt, who plays a newsreporter wears a skirt suit, complete with high heels and sheer pantyhose, adding beauty to an ugly environment.

 

Resident Evil: Apocalypse — In some scenes, it looks like Alice is wearing pantyhose, while in others, she isn’t wearing with the same outfit.  However, the lovely newsreporter, Terri Morales (played by Sandrine Holt), is wearing sheer nude pantyhose with her green skirt suit and pumps, and she looks awesome.  Wish I could find a still from the graveyard scene in which a zombie comes from under the ground and grabs the reporter’s ankles, bringing her to the ground.  Great scene.  Also, the character, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), is wearing very sheer pantyhose in some of the scenes, and at times, not wearing with the same outfit.

Resident Evil: Extinction — While there doesn’t appear to be one scene in which Alice is wearing, at least the character, K-Mart (Spencer Locke), is wearing pantyhose under some jeans that are torn at different places on her legs.

While I would have loved to see more consistent pantyhose wearing in all three of those movies, I am thankful for what we got.  Add to that the fact that Milla Jovovich frequently wears pantyhose during publicity shoots, magazine ads and other movies, and I have an overall very positive feeling about the RE franchise.

But there was no pantyhose in RE: Afterlife.  Not that I remember anyway.  Again, I didn’t really enjoy that installment and thus have seen it only once.

And here’s where I finally get to the point of this post (you’re welcome) and the reason for its headline.  I was soooooooo looking forward to this fifth installment, RE: Retribution, for two reasons.  First, I hoped it would it would be more exciting to me than RE: Afterlife, and be overall more entertaining.

But second, and more importantly, I learned that one of my favorite Chinese actresses, Li Bingbing, would play a major role – Ada Wong (apparently, a popular character in the video games, which again, I’ve never seen).

Now here’s the thing: Frequent readers of this blog know how much I admire Asian actresses (and Asian women in general) for being much more prolific wearers of pantyhose than women of all other nationalities.  And being a mainland Chinese star (unlike Michelle Yeoh, Joan Chen, Bai Ling, who, unfortunately, seem to have become way too Westernized, especially when it comes to how they dress in public, etc.), I figured Bingbing most definitely would wear pantyhose in RE: Retribution.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Li Bingbing as Ada Wong, let, and Milla Jovovich as Alice star in the movie, Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth installment, which opened last week. In this photo, it looks as if Li is wearing pantyhose, but on the big screen, it didn’t actually appear so.

Now, in some of the publicity photos for the movie, I would swear that Bingbing is indeed wearing pantyhose  But in others, it looks like she isn’t wearing.  I thought the only way I could be certain, was to go to see the movie, so last week, I went to a night showing (by myself, by the way.  Couldn’t talk anyone into going to see it with me.)  And, yes, I wore a dress, heels and ActSensuous nude pantyhose.   Anyway, I was determined to see the movie because I thought it might be more clear as to whether Ada Wong was wearing pantyhose or not.   (Also, I realized it had been a long time since you got a new post from me, and this was at least a timely theme.)

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that costume designer Wendy Partridge didn’t think it was important to dress Ada Wong in pantyhose.  And, I can’t believe that Bingbing didn’t request it, or even insist on it.

I will say that Bingbing is stunningly beautiful and has such perfect skin that maybe if anyone could get away with not wearing pantyhose, it would be her.   Still, I don’t understand why women would ever want to wear leather high heels with bare feet,  especially when they’re going to be walking, running and fighting in them.  It’s not exactly what you’d call comfy.  Also, that dress with the slit-up-to-there showed a lot of leg, and as great as she looked anyway, Bingbing would have been devastatingly gorgeous in pantyhose.  Besides, pantyhose with a dress like that would have been more appropriate, Ada Wong being Chinese would have been much more likely to wear pantyhose anyway, and it just plain would have been sexier — a factor that certainly helps movies of this genre.

I still want to believe that maybe my eyes just ain’t what they used to be, and that Bingbing was wearing very sheer pantyhose with that outfit.   One thing I have learned about readers of this blog is you people know a lot about these things, and some of you will come up with high quality pictures that I couldn’t find, and maybe we’ll know for sure one way or another.  Or, you’ll just write in about what you saw at the movie.  Was she wearing at all?  Ever?

I don’t understand Partridge’s decision to not dress Bingbing in pantyhose.  It’s not as if the story or the period precluded it because at least two female zombies who had prominent parts in fight scenes wore hose.  One was in some funky (ugly) thick striped tights, and the other was in some ripped fishnet hose.  Maybe Partridge is one of those pantyhose haters and dressed those two zombies in hose because they were pretty convincingly killed off early in the film.

Can you feel my pain?  I so hate missed opportunities.  If something can be done better, why not do it?  Bingbing as Ada Wong was lovely and a nice addition to the RE franchise.  RE: Retribution was, in my opinion, better than RE: Afterlife.  It worked, but had Bingbing been dressed in sheer nude or suntan pantyhose, it would have classed up and added a dose of beauty to the film.

OK, the RE franchise will be fine even though Ada Wong was wearing an amazing dress but not wearing pantyhose.  I just think Bingbing deserved better from the costume designer.

Li Bingbing might be better known to Western audiences as the white-haired witch in the fantasy movie, “The Forbidden Kingdom,” starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Think you don’t know Li Bingbing?  I think you do.  She is the white-haired witch in the movie, The Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li.  If you have DirecTV, you’ll see it plays, I don’t know, like every other week for the past two years or so.  Now, The Forbidden Kingdom is a period piece, so naturally, Bingbing wasn’t wearing pantyhose in that movie, but OMG, is she gorgeous!

Bingbing also was the “bad guy” in another cute martial arts movie I’ve talked about here many times before – Silver Hawk, starring Michelle Yeoh (whom I still love despite that comment I made earlier about her having become too Westernized.)  Anyway, both Michelle and Bingbing wear pantyhose constantly throughout Silver Hawk, including all the fight scenes.

In Silver Hawk,Bingbing wears short-shorts and high heel boots with pantyhose, and does a great deal more fighting than she was called on to do in RE: Retribution, so why Partridge might think it somehow  would not work for her to wear pantyhose with that fabulous dress and high heels in RE: Retribution is beyond me?   Certainly, not because of the physical nature of the role.

Recently, Bingbing played a great supporting role in the Chinese movie, A World without Thieves, which appears on the movie channels from time to time.  But none of the women even wear a dress, let alone pantyhose, in that film.  It isn’t so much a period piece, but just not the right setting for dressing up.

And in November 2009, Li won the Best Leading Actress Award at the 46th Golden Horse Film Awards for her role in the espionage spy thriller, The Message.

Set in 1942 Nanjing, China, following a series of assassination attempts on officials of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese spy chief gathers a group of suspects in a mansion for questioning, including stenographer Gu (actress Zhou Xun) and code breaker Li (Li Bingbing). During the next five days, the group is watched, manipulated and tortured as the Japanese officers attempt to extract the identity of the leaders of the resistance.

Throughout the film, both Xun and Bingbing wear beautiful dresses and heels, complete with sheer hosiery.

Bingbing also stars alongside Jeon Ji-hyeon  (known to Western audiences as Gianna Jun of Blood: The Last Vampire) in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, directed by Wayne Wang, who also directed The Joy Luck Club.

If you want to drop about 20 pounds, just watch either of those two movies, and you’ll cry out that much in tears.  Bingbing and Ji-hyeon are beautiful and brilliant in Snow Flower, each playing dual roles, as the film tells the story of undying female friendship while it meanders between modern day and turn-of-the-century China.  There’s at least one scene during the modern day era of the film wear both girls wear beautiful dresses and hosiery.

Milla Jovovich looked amazing during the ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ world premiere Sept. 3, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. While, Jovovich normally would wear pantyhose with such an elegant ensemble, surprisingly, she opted for the bare legs look.
Like her costar, Li Bingbing looked stunning during a premiere event for “Resident Evil: Retribution. Li, who typically, would wear pantyhose for such an occasion, sadly, opted for the bare legs look.

Like Milla, Bingbing frequently wears pantyhose in magazine shoots, particularly those in China, and during public appearances, as well as in movies of modern-era timelines.  Yet, in every photo I could find of Milla and Bingbing making appearances together or separately during publicity events and premiere appearances for RE: Retribution, neither woman is wearing pantyhose.  They both wear beautiful dresses or gowns and beautiful shoes, but with bear legs.

I have to admit that both women look incredible.  Both are amazingly beautiful.  I just don’t understand their all-too-casual approach.  The RE franchise is about to top $700 million, yet, no one feels the premiere event is a worthy enough occasion to warrant pantyhose.

I really love Milla, and I believe in her.  She’s beautiful, super-talented and charming as heck.  And even during the height of the “bear” legs movement in the late 1990s to mid-2000s, Milla always maintained her professionalism, class and elegance, frequently wearing pantyhose during promotional appearances and in public venues.

So, what gives now?  Has Milla finally succumbed to the bear legs culture?  I don’t think so.

But here’s something I find a bit disturbing:  When a superstar like Milla doesn’t bother to wear pantyhose when promoting her own movie, why should Bingbing or anyone else?

Milla, like other famous Hollywood superstars, has a huge influence on celebrities all over the world.  So, even popular stars in China, such as Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi, who traditionally have dressed conservatively and elegantly, especially throughout Asia, now often are showing up at awards ceremonies and publicity functions bear-legged.

It’s bad enough that our celebrities have de“class”ified these events, but when their poor choices negatively influence otherwise more classy stars in other parts of the world, that is a real shame.

Still, I have faith in Milla, and Bingbing.  Check out the gallery below.  You’ll see that both have a good track record of wearing pantyhose in most of their movies, during most formal occasions, and often in public in general.

10 thoughts on “‘Evil’ costume designer no better than the undead

  • Hey Robin,
    I know I am a little late to this conversation, however I just found this amazing blog of yours last week and I am working my way through them and really enjoying your perspectives on hosiery and fashion.
    I did want to mention that in RE: Afterlife there is that one opening scene showing a lovely young Asian woman wearing some sheer black pantyhose with a wide vertical stripe pattern and they did look incredible I might add.

    • Hi Tim,

      Thank you for your comment, and welcome to The ActSensuous Blog. I remember that scene, but it wasn’t enough for my liking. I loved when Milla Jovovich’s character and others wore pantyhose in some of the earlier movies of that series.

      Thanks again for commenting on this post, and feel free to comment on any of the olders ones you like, as well.

  • We all missed the greatest tragedy of this story. “I thought the only way I could be certain, was to go to see the movie, so last week, I went to a night showing (by myself, by the way. Couldn’t talk anyone into going to see it with me.) And, yes, I wore a dress, heels and ActSensuous nude pantyhose.” How come no one would accompany a lovely lady to the show? Robin I don’t care how bad a movie is, it’s always proper to accompany your lady to the show when she’s dressed like you were.

    • Yeah, really! What up with that?

      Thanks, Rneeser. I forgot that I wrote that in there (usually, I try to keep my blog about anything but myself), so thanks for noticing and commenting on this. Where were the rest of you on this one? Guess you all know me so well by now, it didn’t surprise you that I dressed this way when no one else would have.

      Not only was I the only girl wearing a dress and high heels there, I probably was the only girl wearing pantyhose in the whole county — we were having one of our typical Florida thunderstorms for that time of year. But, get this: As I pulled into the parking lot, the rain stopped, giving me a dry walk up to the box office. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think angels must love pantyhose. Yeah, that’s right.

      Hey, who else would have showed up dressed like I did to see a movie about zombies? Heck, even the movie’s actresses didn’t wear pantyhose while promoting the thing, so I guess I’m still alone in this world.

      Of course, no one said anything to me. (But I did get a look or two.) 🙂

      • Yes, you dress as if it’s opening night on the red carpet even when the stars don’t. That is probably why the skies parted as you made your entrance. You’re probably being modest about it just being a look or two. More like a half dozen I’m sure.

        By the way angels must love pantyhose and so do those of us who appreciate class and elegance.

  • Hey Robin,
    Great post about Resident Evil and the two leading female actresses, Milla Jovovich, and Li Bingbing. It seems as though the American celebrities and their stylists are influencing their international counterparts in the bare legs movement despite the fact that women those countries are known to frequent hose wearers due to the culture and tradition of being feminine.

    I thought I read somewhere that it is considered manners and professional in a business and formal setting for women to wear pantyhose in public in Japan. If that is the case, Milla and whoever her fashion stylist is, showed a lack of respect and class going bare legged at a formal engagement in a country known for its strict conservative culture and society. Rooney Mara did the bare legs thing as well while she was promoting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in Japan months ago.

    When Bingbing was promoting RE in New York, she must have been told by her stylists not to wear hose due to the fears of these so called fashion experts berating women for wearing pantyhose. If I would were Bingbing, I would not worry about those fashion experts, because they do not know anything how a women should dress. Instead, they want women like Bingbing to follow the herd like the rest of the hollywood celebrities.

    It’s unfortunate to see Milla and Bingbing not wearing pantyhose while promoting Resident Evil: Retribution. They would show a lot of class, elegance, and respect in their appearance, if they did wear hose at these events like their previous events and photo shoots. I hope this American bare legs movement does not pass on to other countries whose women are devoted pantyhose wearers.

  • Well, it looks you got Cradle of Love by Billy Idol. Not sure how THAT happened but hey, it has its OWN hot pantyhose sequence. Still, look for that fight scene; its pretty sweet.

  • I think the juxtaposition of something feminine (such as the wearing of pantyhose) with an action sequence has always held a special fascination for me. Like in La Femme Nikita and its English remake Point of No Return as our heroine fights, runs, shoots in a little black dress and stockinged feet…I love that sequence.

    If I’ve done this correctly, below is a link to a video on You Tube from a movie with a lovely blonde wearing a long shirt over a pair of tan hose while in a martial arts sparring session. If the link doesn’t work, the title of the video on YT is “Pantyhose Blonde Sparing”.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thank you for your comment, and welcome to The ActSensuous Blog.

      I always liked “La Femme Nikita,” and “Point of No Return,” for the reasons you mentioned. On the current TV series, “Nikita,” it’s a shame the title character, played by Maggie Q, never wears pantyhose with some of her beautiful outfits. Fortunately, her costar Lyndsy Fonseca, who plays Alexandra, often wears pantyhose on the show.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s