‘Cowboy Bebop’ Weaves Key Character Details Into Its Costumes

Pineda herself addressed the controversy in an Instagram story where she bitingly apologized for not matching the anime's anatomical proportions at “six-foot [with] double-D sized breasts [and a] two-inch waist.”
Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) served as a lightning rod for debate for costume as well as casting. She finds the new look equally as sassy and sexy without the original’s extreme level of gratuitousness. Eschewing the short-shorts and crop top of the anime in favor of less revealing fashion was Holland's “2021 way into that character as opposed to a 1998 version," she explains.
However, perceptive eyes can make out the words “Babes in Arms” in stylized block lettering. The well-known musical includes a song called “My Funny Valentine." The song’s title is also the name of the animated episode when Faye Valentine’s backstory is revealed. It all ties together. Of course, there’s also the Valentine song-name connection. Faye, for example, has an abstract pattern on the back of her leggings may look like "just" an interesting print. Each costume is imbued with character-building details and context.
The number and letter combo relates to Jet’s love of jazz. Of other interest is the serial number on Jet’s (Mustafa Shakir) robotic arm. The letters — CPMDNY — reference famed musicians Charlie Parker and Miles Davis’ initials, along with New York, the location of a particular performance. A discussion about machine characteristics led to its inclusion. The numbers are that concert’s date.
Costume designer Jane Holland used the original series’ design aesthetic as a springboard for her work in the live-action reboot, which is already the subject of fan scrutiny for not precisely replicating the animated version. The age-old struggle between original source material and creative interpretation rears its head again with Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop”, a new take on the acclaimed Japanese anime originally released in 1998.
One of the name tags worn on-screen pegs a character as Hine, a nod to a costume cleaner in the department. While many of the costumes connect through detailed elements that relate to the characters’ backstories, sometimes the meaning is elsewhere.
His suit jacket has custom-designed buttons with the Japanese character for "water" on them. Other signature costumes include similarly significant design details: Spike (John Cho) has a “fluidity and affinity with water, so I pulled that out as a motif,” says Holland. Its lining is printed with a pattern of falling roses representing his lost love Julia, whose own motif is a rose.
“People who are watching from the costume department always go, ‘I made that,’ so that was my way of [letting her] have a little moment as well,” explains Holland.” />
There were logistical considerations, too, that come into play for a live-action series, such as the practicality of stunt work during Auckland winter night shoots while in skimpy clothes.
While the Faye Valentine costume drew the most initial attention, Holland explains the design process for all of them was the same. “Conceptually, [they all] have strong links to the anime, but none of them are identical [to it],” she says.
“The idea is that Spike has something of Julia wrapped around him,” she notes of the character’s heartbreak.

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