STYLING N’ PROFILING: SAILOR MOON

Sailor Moon Fashion

All my girls wear Mugler…and fight Evil By Moonlight

Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking mangas (and eventually anime) of all time, Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon reshaped Japanese art and introduced the world to Usagi Tsukino—a schoolgirl who loves boys as much as she loves food and video games—who transforms into the cosmic warrior Sailor Moon to find the “Legendary Silver Crystal” and defeat the Dark Kingdom. Assembling her team of close friends/Sailor Guardians—studious Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), fiery Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), herculean Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), and pop Minako Aino (Sailor Venus)— Sailor Moon defeats nefarious monsters sent by the Dark Kingdom. Unprecedented, Takeuchi elevated the magical girl genre by centering five girls who were actually fighting warriors: they weren’t just pretty girls with magical powers but warriors who defeated monsters and protected humanity. With their strength and feminine transformations, Sailor Moon revitalized the magical girl genre in the 1990s.  As Elle Collins at Comics Alliance stated, “Takeuchi revived and reimagined the Magical Girl genre, and more than two decades later her influence is evident far outside the realm of manga.” Usagi’s journey from crybaby klutz to crybaby klutz fighting for love and justice captivated generations of eager readers and devoted fans around the globe for 25+ years. You can even see the franchise’s legacy inspiring shows such as Totally Spies!, W.I.T.C.H, Puella Magi Madoka, and current cult favorite Steven Universe. (I would even go further to say Sailor Moon inspired its contemporary Revolutionary Girl Utena as well!)

While Takeuchi’s story of love, justice, outer space and friendship mesmerizes audiences, her love for fashion, art, and design dazzles on the page. Her attention to detail made Sailor Moon special: it was artistically opulent and cosmic at the same time. An avid high fashion aficionado, Takeuchi was inspired by the runways and advertisements of the 1990s, bringing the designs of Thierry Mugler, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent to her stylish and devilish villains and protagonists alike such as Queen Beryl, Koan, Calaveras and the Sailor Guardians themselves.

Before jumping in, I want to acknowledge the labor and knowledge from blogs and websites that have discussed fashion/art influences in Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon. All of these scans/fashion comparisons come from blogs like silvermoon424, appleinspiration, fukufashion (especially their Naoko Inspirations link!), and missdream. I want to thank them and cite them for their hard work of flipping through 1990s magazines, referring to other manga inspiration references in Sailor Moon, and having so much more fashion/art references I couldn’t address in this piece. Please check them out (link in the names!) and the pages of more Sailor Moon fashion references and similarities!

 

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Thierry Mugler 1992 RTW and Queen Beryl

 

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Wicked Lady and YSL’s OPIUM

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Calaveras and Christian Lacroix Fashion Week 1992/1993

 

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Thierry Mugler, 1992

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Koan

 

Mugler Couture Sailor Moon
Mugler Couture Fall 1995

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Wise man (this might be a reach by me but worth a stretch!)

 

Even her Sailor Guardians got the runway treatment!

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Tankouban Vol 3 Liner Notes & 1992 September issue of Vogue Italia

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Madonna in a 1995 Versace ad and Setsuna Meioh/Sailor Pluto

 

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Setsuna & Chanel 1992

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Serenity and Christian Dior 1992

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Hotaru Komoe/Sailor Saturn & Thierry Mugler 1992

It’s clear that Takeuchi used the runway to conceive character outfits, but what is less apparent is her use of Art to reflect on her outer space saga. Her manga and art style books are filled with detailed references from Japanese advertisements, Western art (specifically Art Nouveau), films, and music: these moments reveal her extensive knowledge on different art forms. 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Takeuchi’s illustration of the Sailor Senshi

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Idol Group Ribbon in (1991)

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Endymion with Serenity

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Robert Mapplethorpe’s “Self-Portrait”

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Jezebel (1938)
 Sailor Moon Fashion
Sailor Moon

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
The Marrying Man (1991)

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Sailor Moon

 

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Art by Alphonse Mucha

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Sailor Senshi

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Sailor Moon & Alphonse Mucha
Sailor Moon Fashion
Maxfield Parrish’s “The Lantern Holders”

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Usagi with Chibiusa

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
‘Thou wast Perfect till Iniquity was Found in Thee’, William Blake

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Sailor Moon

While Takeuchi illustrates how fashion/cultural production has shaped her manga, we also see the opposite happen. Some contemporary fashion moments/art references (subtly, overtly, or maybe even by coincidence) have pulled inspiration from the franchise. Anime enthusiasts on social media have always pointed out the similarities between anime/manga to real world fashion/art. (As an avid anime fan myself, I love a good anime parallel to other art forms). Inspired by evilgrandmother’s post on Tumblr, I want to draw our attention to contemporary fashion/art moments that point to Sailor Moon’s legacy.

I really want to thank evilgrandmother and insert-coin for allowing me to cite their exchange on Sailor Moon! I truly was inspired by them! Please follow them on Tumblr!

Sailor Moon Fashion
Sailor Moon and Lady Gaga

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Courtesy/parallel done by evilgrandmother on tumblr: perfomer Shea Coulee

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
the Sailor Starlights

 

Sailor Moon Fashion
Kaolinite
Sailor Moon Fashion
Gabrielle Union in Two Can Play That Game (2001), parallel by me.

Airship also has some modern day Sailor Guardian fashions worth taking a look as well!

Takeuchi’s love for detail, design, art and fashion shines in Sailor Moon yet fans’ also see how her art allows for fans to produce parallels of their own to the contemporary. This level of dedication reveals Sailor Moon’s legacy as a global cultural phenomenon.

Mohwanah Fetus is an empathetic shapeshifter and self-deprecating anime junkie. When not dying under the weight of her PhD research (at Northwestern University), you can find her at the nearest cafe writing romances and diatribes.

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