Kate Pryde’s costume for the X-Men’s upcoming Hellfire Gala, designed by Russell Dauterman, is packed with nods to her superhero life.
This summer, the X-Men’s world is set to change at the “Hellfire Gala.” Not much is known about the event itself, but it’s billed as the next big chapter of the Dawn of X era, and the various X-Men titles have been hinting at it and building towards it for some time.. Ahead of the gala’s debut, Marvel has released a series of variant covers showcasing the high-fashion costumes that the mutants will sport during the event. The outfits, which were designed by superstar artist Russell Dauterman, show the evening wear characters such as Cyclops, Storm and Emma Frost will wear during the Hellfire Gala.
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Each of these costumes is new and wholly different, and they are all ready for a high fashion runway. But they also remain true to the characters, their personalities and their mutant abilities. And in the case of the Marauders‘ Kate Pryde, her incredible outfit also includes references to the character’s history.
When Professor X and his Quiet Council established the island nation of Krakoa, all mutants were welcome. However, Kate “Kitty” Pryde didn’t exactly get a warm welcome from the island itself. For whatever reason, she wasn’t able to use the island’s teleportation portals. But that didn’t stop her from becoming involved with the rest of the mutants. Given one of the most impressive boats on Earth, Pryde was chosen by Emma Frost to be the Hellfire Trading Company’s Red Queen, and she became the leader of the Marauders, a team of mutants that operates in the high seas, outside of the law and the jurisdiction of other countries.
For the Hellfire Gala, Kate Pryde’s outfit reflects these two very different responsibilities. Her outfit consists almost entirely of different shades of red, which highlights her status as the Hellfire Trading Company’s Red Queen. And, on top of that, the costume also bears many nods to her role as a sea-faring pirate and leader of the Marauders. For instance, the knee-high pirate’s boots are a clear reference to Kate’s mutant team, as well as the outline of an eye patch surrounding her left eye. Even the golden decorations adorning her left arm also carry a pirate feel.
Speaking of the eye patch and the decorations on her arm, both of these details could also be perceived as nods to other characters. The eye patch could be seen as a reference to Rachel Summers, who has had facial markings of a similar design, most prominently in her Prestige persona. Meanwhile, the asymmetrical nature of the costume, particularly the gold-accented left arm, could be a reference to Magik’s armored arm. Pryde has close relationships with both of these mutants, both of which have been taken as romantic by some fans. Whether or not that’s the case, Pryde remains incredibly close with both of those X-Men, and it’s not too surprising to see some of their design elements incorporated into her costume.
And that’s not where the references in Kate’s costume end, as jewelry is also loaded with meaning. As always, Pryde is wearing a Star of David pendant, which proudly broadcasts her Jewish heritage. What’s more, she also has a diamond brooch attached to her right shoulder. This brooch is significant because, at its center, it features the shape of a bullet. This appears to be a nod to the giant bullet from the Astonishing X-Men series.
In 2008’s Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, a massive bullet was fired at Earth. Kate pushed her phasing abilities to the limit to make it intangible, and have it phase through the Earth. The act was incredibly heroic, and it was made all the more tragic given that Kate couldn’t separate herself from the bullet. As a result, she was doomed to follow its path in space for, seemingly, ever. Thankfully, she was saved years later when Magneto used his powers to bring the bullet back, saving Kate.
This was a defining moment in the character’s history, and a nod to this bullet on her costume is a reference to, quite possibly, the most heroic act the character has ever accomplished. And, on top of that, the fact that the brooch itself is made of diamonds is also a nod in itself. It references Emma Frost, showing that Kate is in allegiance with the White Queen.
While it’s unclear if all of these references will be brought up in the story itself, it sure is nice to see the great care and attention to detail Dauterman has brought to the Hellfire Gala costumes, which have set the stage to give the X-Men an event to remember.
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