Particularly geeky fans of the annual smorgasbord of impossibly-proportioned Eastern bloc women in skimpy underwear were surprised a couple of weeks back when Jourdan Dunn, a Victoria’s Secret model, was photographed strutting down the runway in what appeared to be Neon Genesis Evangelion cosplay.
Here she is in front of a gobsmacked Justin Bieber, with the source outfit on the right:
The outfit seems to be inspired by character Rei Ayanami’s ‘plugsuit’ from 1995 mecha anime classic Evangelion. The series, which was created by fan favorite animation studio Gainax in 1996, follows three 14-year-old protagonists as they are forced by the Japanese military to pilot giant humanoid robots called ‘Evangelion’ in order to save the future Tokyo-3 from malevolent aliens called ‘angels.’ The particular character Dunn is dressed up as is 14-year-old Rei, who—spoiler alert—is a clone of another character’s mother. Gainax is rebooting the series in 2013 with a mini-movie called You Can (Not) Redo. It’s unclear whether the reboot was the impetus for the outfit.
The fashion show itself won’t air until December 4 on CBS, but photos of Dunn made the rounds on Tumblr the day after the fashion show, with fans perplexed as to why Victoria’s Secret, purveyor of bras, panties, and sweatpants with “PINK” written on the ass, would reference something as thoroughly strange as Evangelion. One user (‘negaversace’) responded pessimistically, “well this is it everyone” [sic].
Fashion designers referencing sci-fi isn’t unheard of—Blade Runner has also inspired a lingerie line, and Star Wars has had apparel crossover. However, this series isn’t exactly mainstream-friendly: the plot revolves around mixing dystopian cyberpunk aesthetics with heavy Old Testament symbolism, and the middle-school-aged protagonists are frequently subjected to serious bodily harm and death. Not exactly the source material one wants to imagine while buying rhinestone-applique thongs.
For fans who love Victoria’s Secret’s take but don’t have the cash (or anime physique) to pull off the skin-tight plugsuit, a wide array of Evangelion-inspired apparel is available online. Here’s a brief sampling of the most fashion-forward Evangelion accoutrements: