Almost two years after Marvel’s mutants changed forever with the acclaimed reboot House of X and Powers of X, the X-Men are celebrating their triumph in style with the ongoing Hellfire Gala. The event (running through the latest issues of Marauders, Hellions, Excalibur, X-Men, Children of the Atom, New Mutants, X-Corp, Wolverine, S.W.O.R.D., and Way of X, concluding with next week’s installments of X-Factor and Cable) is modeled after the real-life Met Gala but dialed up to 11, as you would expect from the fashion-forward X-Men.
But while some mutants were born to strut the green carpet, others don’t quite have what it takes to get the cameras flashing. So we at EW used our best fashion judgment to rank the best-dressed, the worst-dressed, and the points for effort. Check it out below!
(A note: All the artists involved in the X-line did an incredible job coming up with these outfits based on the personalities and aesthetics of various X-characters. In some cases, they did such a good job of this that they ended up channeling certain characters’ annoying aspects, too. That’s what we’re teasing, all in good fun).
Storm: Ororo could wear a burlap sack and she would still look better than anyone else in the room. But thankfully this weather goddess blessed us by pulling out all the stops for her Gala getup. Did you notice she’s literally wearing a thundercloud? The wind and rain bow down before Storm, and so do we.
Emma Frost: We love two things at any gala event: a wardrobe change and a reveal. Emma Frost served both. Like a contestant on RuPaul’s race to find Krakoa’s next drag superstar, the telepathic mutant channeled Rihanna – she shined “bright like a diamond” – as she dropped not one, not two, but three looks, two of which complemented her diamond-phasing ability. We appreciate a woman who can walk the walk and talk the talk. Just see what she told reporters at a press event ahead of the big day: “Darling, I would not need to invite the world to ‘snag some free press,’ as you say. I would simply walk through the New York gate wearing something sublime.” She’s basically a gay icon. There, I said it.
Mystique: During Pride Month no less, queer queen Mystique, who’s usually more comfortable in her own skin (and the skin of others), donned a dramatic blue that is the talk of the gala. For added resonance, she and her girlfriend Destiny were essentially forced to live out their romance in the closet, what with queerness being taboo in comics for so long. And now that Krakoa is basically a non-stop island sex pool and mutants can live out and proud, precogs (including Destiny) aren’t allowed. In short, Mystique has a lot of reasons to make everyone eat it on the red carpet. Just call this look “That’s so Raven.”
Stephen Segovia for Marvel
Rachel Summers: This outfit is what the X-Men are all about: Cool spikes, colorful leather, light bondage, and reclaiming your past trauma as a source of power. In the dark dystopian future she hails from, Rachel Summers was forced to be a “hound” who hunted down other mutants so human fascists could kill them. Turning her hound outfit into high fashion sends a clear message to the puny humans in attendance at the Gala: Rachel went through Hell and back so she could strut this carpet. Don’t mess with mutants!
Colossus: This year’s resident zaddy distinction goes to Colossus, who brought a side hair fade, a thick beard, thique thighs, high-fashion Lululemon jeggings, a dramatic cape, and yes a brow-raising bulge to the party. (How in the world he kept his facial hair from being crushed by his metallic skin is beyond me.) He was every gay man’s fantasy, including the fact that he’s straight which means he’s unattainable and just all the more desirable. He can crush our bones any day.
Points For Trying
Wolverine: It’s a big night for Laura Kinney. After years of fighting in her father’s shadow, the younger Wolverine just got a well-deserved spot on Krakoa’s first official X-Men team! Her dress takes the classic blue-and-yellow Wolverine costume and makes it fashion, but doesn’t quite make us pop our claws with excitement.
Professor X: There’s something about Charles designing a dressed-up party version of his obnoxiously large Cerebro helmet for the Hellfire Gala, but throwing on as many beads and chains you can find at Party City doesn’t necessarily make a look. It looks like that big X on his face blinded him as he rummaged around his closet for accessories.
Magneto: Well, the Master of Magnetism certainly made some choices here, and he gets points for putting in the effort. After what he just accomplished on Mars, it’s no wonder Erik’s feeling so confident. But the hat and cane is just a little too jarring. We were relieved to see him take up the cape-and-helmet look again for Planet-Size X-Men.
Magik: Like Illyana herself, this outfit is lingering in Limbo, both in terms of the fabric itself looking like it resides in two dimensions, but also our feelings on it. This look is a little too on-the-nose and isn’t all the way camp to warrant her a space amongst the fashionista elite this year. It truly is the horns of a dilemma.
Nightcrawler: Kurt Wagner has always wanted to be a swashbuckler, and he certainly brought the pirate vibes to this party. Unfortunately, he’s also brought the weirdo alcoholic vibes. In the wake of the disturbing revelation at the end of Way of X #2, Kurt has been teleporting through the Gala and drunkenly haranguing other mutants. Not a great look. These antics definitely lessens the appeal of his outfit for us, putting him firmly in the middle of the pack.
Cyclops: “I always do the least I can do. In that respect, I take after you” is something Cyclops was once told by an evil clone of his son from a dark future. Well, looking at Scott’s Gala outfit, it’s hard to disagree with Stryfe here. We get that as Captain-Commander of Krakoa, it fell to Cyclops to make conversation with human dignitaries like Captain America and Kevin Feige, but it feels like he could’ve tried a little harder if he wanted to blast our optics.
Iceman: Iceman needs a fairy godmother to guide his coming-out experience. As Tim Gunn would say as he lowers his glasses, there’s a lot going on here: the ice wings, the ice train, the ice heels, the ice corset, the ice sunglasses. We appreciate a guy who can channel his inner Harry Styles for a gender-bending look, but we’re cooling on this.
Rogue: We love the ’80s as much as anyone. We just wouldn’t make a VH1 special about it or base an entire gala look around it. But Rogue’s stylist… well, went rogue with this one. It’s a solid look for a decades-themed party or palling around Manhattan’s East Village, but for a gala, we want camp, we want drama, we want fantasy, we want expensive – not necessarily Stranger Things casual.
Kate Pryde: Ms. Kate Pryde has been up to a lot lately. On top of being crowned Red Queen of the Hellfire Trading Company and commanding her own mutant pirate ship, Kate has also finally started kissing girls on the panel. She’s not Kitty anymore! Given all that, it’s a little disappointing that her Gala outfit is somehow less impressive than her usual pirate queen get-up.
Mister Sinister: As always, the question remains the same: You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Sinister is not afraid to boast about his outfit, especially to his Quiet Council rival Exodus. But the thing is, you’d have to look long and hard to even see the difference between Sinister’s Gala outfit and his, well, everyday attire. If you want to impress people so bad, Nathaniel, change it up!