Bond girls come and go — 007 goes through faster than his signature martini — but when it comes to female super spies, Emma Peel tops the list. For three years, the catsuit-clad heroine stood alongside Patrick Macnee’s John Steed in The Avengers to take down everything from bio terrorists to killer plants from outer space — and all while wearing her signature Emmapeeler catsuit. Off-duty, however, Peel was making strides in the fashion world by bringing the miniskirt to the masses and wearing everything from Pop Art-inspired black-and-white dresses to Mod staples such as shift dresses and geometric print outfits. It’s no wonder, then, that her signature style was seen again at the Pierre Balmain presentation during New York Fashion Week.
The producers of The Avengers made a conscious effort to create a dynamic duo. Male and female, traditional and modern, Peel and Steed were polar opposites working together. He, a throwback to Edwardian England in traditional Saville Row standards and she in the most modern catsuits and high street-inspired clothing the costuming department could find. No matter what her dossier called for, Peel had the perfect outfit. Whether she was a nanny, nurse, schoolmarm or her go-to, a sassy reporter, each and every one was a tongue-in-cheek version laced with sex appeal.
For the brand’s Fall 2013 presentation, Pierre Balmain was the first label to embrace the season’s Digital Fashion Show format, letting critics and armchair fashion enthusiasts alike enjoy the presentation without a trek through blizzards and the hassle of getting dressed. What did we all see? A Peel-inspired collection of leather rompers, leather pants, and leather everything. (Diana Rigg famously asked the costuming department at The Avengers to actually do away with leather, though the design team at Pierre Balmain seems to have forgotten that little nugget of info.) Models looked ready for any mission in variations of minidresses, rompers and more. After dark, the Pierre Balmain heroine might don a full-length gown, but she tempers the sweet, saccharine feel of anything by topping it off with a badass bomber jacket. Peel approved? You bet.
Photos courtesy Pierre Balmain and theAvengers.tv