Our expert's notesSuperman’s (Christopher Reeve) costume from Richard Donner’s classic superhero film Superman and its sequels Superman II and Superman III, both directed by Richard Lester. A groundbreaking film, the original Superman brought a sense of legitimacy to the superhero genre, and earned numerous accolades for its storytelling and visual effects.
The costume was worn in the first two films, which were shot back-to-back, with the cape reused in the third film. The bespoke costume consists of a tunic, a cape, a pair of trunks, a belt, a pair of leggings and a pair of boots.
Superman’s instantly recognisable long-sleeve tunic is made of a custom-woven, stretchy blue nylon material manufactured during the production, and displays Superman’s classic “S” logo in red and gold on the chest. The tunic has a hidden zipper at the back, and features a Bermans & Nathans wardrobe label stitched near the neck that reads “CHRISTOPHER REEVE 12312 MUSCLES SUPERMAN”, as it was designed to be worn with a muscle suit. The leggings are made of the same material, and include a wardrobe label that reads “CHRISTOPHER REEVE WATER SUPERMAN” as it was designed to be worn during shots in a water tank. The tunic and the leggings both include holes at the waist, which allowed the actor to be wired for flying scenes.
The red trunks feature an elastic waistband with a label that reads “CHRISTOPHER REEVE 12312 SUPERMAN NEW”, and include a yellow-painted leather belt that fastens at the back with hook-and-bar closures. The knee-length cape is made of red wool, and attaches to the tunic via snap-buttons on the shoulders. The back of the cape features a yellow stitched “S” logo with black threading. Two labels are stitched inside, one reading “REMADE OCT/82 WALK HB 4 NEW CAPE”, and the other reading “CHRISTOPHER REEVE WALKING CAPE 14-9-79”. This indicates that the cape was made for the original film, and then remade for the third. Superman’s knee-high boots are made of red leather, and display “FLYING ONLY” handwritten inside each booth using black ink. The boots close at the back with a zipper hidden behind a leather flap.
The classic costume is mounted on a bespoke mannequin with a painted lifecast of Christopher Reeve screwed in place. The statue is mounted to a metal base in the shape of Superman’s emblem, with a rod entering the left boot through the zipper, which is stitched shut. The complete costume shows minor wear due to production use and age, with one missing cape shoulder button and a few stray threads on the cape, along with a few moth holes. The costume remains in otherwise very fine condition. Dimensions (on display): 91.5 cm x 51 cm x 198 cm (36” x 20” x 78”)
£60,000 - 80,000