Amor Armor

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