Xena: Warrior Princess
So let's talk about this costume of hers for a moment, and Hercules'.
Xena on the
TV show wears upper-body armor; Hercules does not. Two straps, one leather
and one metal, hold her breastplates up. The leather one is wide and strong
and goes from the back over her shoulder to attach with a ring to the front
of her black leather bodysuit, matching it. The metal strap lies next to
the leather one and goes from Xena's armored shoulder pads to attach directly
to the leather around each metal breastplate. It is involuted and swirling
(and "feminine," according to TV dress codes?). It's not that
practical, is it?---is it really needed to hold her breastplate up? Perhaps
the inloop'd metal provides spring when the cups below, er, woggle as she's
fighting and performing stunts. Whatever, the metal straps interloop over
her chest, one to each side. Xena's long black hair mixes with the curves
of the metal wire. (See close-up below.)
Each of Xena's
breastplates also features intertwined metals over leather. Gray and dull
gold: brass and iron, or copper, or steel? Layers of these metals spiral
around a point near the nipple underneath. Some of the arms of the spirals
on the breastplate are tipped like claws with points of a different metal.
Body armor is practical protection from sword blades, duh. But body armor is also a sign of inner power, part of Xena's own special weaponry---offensive rather than defensive.
This second role for body armor is most marked below Xena's navel. Strong black-brown leather strips cover Xena's torso and converge in a V between her legs, with seams and metal studs. A short mini-"skirt" of leather strips falls below her waist to mid-thigh. On the leather suit in the area between her navel and her pubic mound is a gold metal filigreed V. It is at the vortex of converging power-lines; it curls, convolutes, becomes in mixed metals a Valkyriesque V-sign of sexuality and power:
The X is as important as the V. Xena's X = the crossing or mixing of metals, mettles, and signs of masculinity and femininity. This crossing creates a minx, a new mix like steel that is stronger and more resilient than its component parts. But instead of being seamlessly blended, the roughness of the mix is emphasized; the parts show. Xena's armor is a set of signs meant to mark this new (or is it very old?) form of power.
on Hercules' costume in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys