WWE has put together a gallery showcasing every lady champion that ever was, including all the various iterations of the belt(s). It's a fun look back to the past, highlighting some of the division's pioneers - The Fabulous Moolah, Alundra Blayze - as well as more recent ladies who paved the way for today's champions. From a fashion perspective, the gallery comes off like a style retrospective of ring gear through the years. The romper/unitards topped by jackets worn by Moolah and Mae Young gave way to the more athletic stylings of Alundra Blayze and her famous mock-neck top and leggings combo. Jacqueline's ring fashion took that sporty vibe as a starting point, but metamorphosized into a much sexier iteration, a concept that Sable pushed to new heights. Check out her latex catsuit with its thigh-high and beyond lace-up detail: it's spot on-trend for today! And just as smoking hot as it was then. Of course, it's hard to imagine an outfit that wouldn't be smoking with Sable in it ;).
Lita eschewed the traditional bombshell aesthetic in her gear, which was composed of straight-up street fashion: cargos, cropped tops, slogan tees. It was hot as h**l, but in a down-to-earth way that made it both appealing and accessible to WWE fashion fans of the era. In addition to her tremendous wrestling ability, Lita made fashion important to wrestling, while appearing to not especially care about it. Trish Stratus' looks had a similar point of inspiration, but incorporated a girl-next-door vibe that separated her from Lita's disaffected street urchin toughness. Molly Holly's looks were even more demure, focusing primarily on the athletic requirements of her pieces, spiced up with a bit of shine and an occasional foray into pretty, feminine colors: sherbet pinks and bright turquoises. There was a sweetness to her style which set her apart from many of the other ladies of the era.
Complexity entered ring gear with the advent of Mickie James' and Melina's reigns. Unique designs, gorgeous colors and bespoke details - the full palette of fashion seemed to collide with the concept of wrestling-wear. Mickie's crop top+pants combo became an instantaneous trademark, along with the luscious colors she gravitated to. Melina's looks were more dramatic - think one-person Cirque du Soleil :). Thigh cutouts, sheer insets,knee-high fur boots, patterns and metallics all caromed together to create her memorable looks. Beth Phoenix's superhero-esque metallic jumpsuits also arrived on the scene. Each of the ladies developed distinctive silhouettes or styles that set them apart. Michelle McCool used her various changes to mark separate eras in her character, not unlike the Undertaker has. The sweet and simple early pieces of her personal-trainer/schoolteacher gimmicks evolved into the cross-embellished halter top+lace-up leggings combination of her Faithful face era. I didn't appreciate at the time just how spectacular this particular gear is with the all-over crystals! I find the camo a bit busy (maybe that's why I missed the crystals ;)), but the jewel-work is spectacular. This snap was not widely released at the time, but it was used in promotions and, back in the day, Michelle cited it as one of her favorites so it's awesome to have a high quality version of it out and about! She exhcanged this style for the dark glamour of her heel turn, which included mostly dark fabrics embellished with crystal and studs. And that was succeeded by the Flawless Era which attained Fame-era Gaga-esque heights of fierceness. Layla came along for that ride and it brought her already-competent looks into truly amazing territory, something she maintained even after Michelle's departure. A few other ladies, including Natalya and Beth, took on the concept of metamorphosis-concurrent-with-persona - which led to the era which matched LayCool in fierceness: the maven-vixen Divas of Destruction, who ruled the ring in leather and spikes, softened with pin-up girl details like lace and bows. Barbie (Kelly) chose to stay with her hallmark push-up bra top and kabooty shorts from its inception until her retirement. And no surprise - it's hard to imagine it being improved on. This yellow-topped one was always one of my faves! (I'm sure you're shocked). Eve also carried the same chevron-waisted silhouette forward throughout her career, along she varied the sweetheart neckline extensively. Her gear was known for the myriad of stunning colors she employed: emerald green, bright melon, pale lilac, all embellished with hints of crystal, studs or sheers. Ditto Maryse, who explored variant after variant her keyhole-top+shorts combo with the most delicious, intriguing, luxurious combinations of color, embellishment, fabric and pattern. Nikki and Brie Bella were always closely in touch with the fashion world and they brought its influence even more closely into gear, breaking free of the idea of waiting for a persona change to update their ring-wear and using it as a way to freshen and reinvigorate their characters. Their looks run an unprecedented gamut from flamenco-inspired ruffled pieces to plunge-front catsuits to Britney Spears-influenced banded top+shorts combos that paired glam with a pop influence to the grunge-plaid era to today's sporty looks - which in a spine-tingling synchronatic way, brings ring gear full circle - back to its athletic beginnings.
Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork
Photos used for criticism and comment under US Copyright Act Section 107.