Foxy Lady: A Look at the Many Looks of lady Fox

While most of the characters in Gargoyles adhere rather strictly to the limited wardrobe animation convention–unless there’s some sort of special occasion, they’ll wear the same outfit every time–two exceptions stand out: the first is Coyote, whom doesn’t so much change outfits as change bodies, and the second is the lovely Fox Xanatos (née Janine Renard), who given her eternally variable status (She’s a member of the Pack! She’s a prisoner!  She’s a martial artist!  She’s pregnant! She’s a used-car salesman) doesn’t reallyhave too much of a chance to obtain a standard look.    Today, we take a look at the many looks of Fox.

When we first meet Fox, she is the leader of the The Pack, a Power-Rangers-like made-for-TV superhero team.  Her outfit, thus, is designed to favor distinctiveness over fashion or practicality.

Personally, I never liked how The Pack looked–too much gaudy, not enough cool.  Fox would look acceptable if you removed the extraneous shoulderpads and take away the little ears in the bodice–but then again, take away the ears, and you lose the whole motif.

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After Fox is arrested and convicted, she is outfitted with the standard prison togs.  Nothing too notable, excect to say that we discover that the Fox icon on her face is permanent.  Also, that she is not afraid to commit the fashion faux pas of wearing matching outfits with her boyfriend.

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For her parole hearing in “Leader of the Pack”, Fox dresses up in a green number that manages to feel both stylish and appropriate, and is easily the best things she’s worn in the series.  Two things to note: that skirt of hers actually reaches her knees, which means its pretty damn hiked up by the time she decides to swap spit with Xanatos; and the deliberate use of the ribbon to make herself look more innocent.

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Something interesting: a completely optional hair-style change, which is something even rarer than optional clothes changes.  While I’m not wild about it–it’d probably look ridiculous recreated in real life–I’m glad the designers were willing to go the extra mile to make the outfit look special.  The dress is nice too: sleek and elegant, and I like the bracelets, even as I question why she had to go for symmetry and wear one on each wrist.  But damn, I would have loved to see Elisa rock a pony tail or something.

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Later on in the episode, her engagement “ring”–the Eye of Odin–begins turning her into the fox-version of a lycanthrope.  Because turning into a monster is what always happens when you first agree to marry a loved one–see also “O’Neil, April“.

According to the text, this is a manifestation of her inner self, which Greg Weisman describes as “predatory, self-hating, conflicted“.  I’m just glad she wasn’t designed to have boobs.

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I, um…what?  For her stint as Xanatos’ pilot (“Vows”, “City of Stone”), Fox dons this inexplicable outfit, which is wrong in every conceivable way.  Why is she wearing mad-scientist gloves?  Why is include a superflous belt in an outfit meant to be more practical than stylish?  Why isn’t  she isn’t wearing any shoes (it’s hard to see, but her “pants” are actually leggins that cover her feet)?  While celebrities aren’t above dressing badly, I don’t see how this look fits Fox–or anyone–at all.  Easily the worst she’s ever looked.

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Nope, I was wrong: this is the worst she’s ever looked.  A fictional world may have robots, aliens, gargoyles, mutants, ancient cabals, demigods, and people who then go on to name an entire TVTropes index, but I refuse to accept a world where this sort of dress is considered to be a good idea.

I mean, if the point is being ultra-conservative, then, well, apparently someone forgot the skirt.  If the point was having the wedding dress version of a cowboy hooker, then the hair-in-a-bun and poofy shoulders make no sense.  And clearly, the antennae on the hair decorations means she either expects to be able to listen to the game as they marry, or she’s secretly the Legion of Super-Heroes’ Chameleon Boy.

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This dress, on the other hand, is lovely.  I don’t know if its the height of 975 A.D. fashion, but fits nicely, and it feels appropriate for the character.  Pity we don’t really get a good look at it.

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For a few minutes at the beginning of “Outfoxed”, we see the closest thing Fox has to a default outfit, which is seen here, again in “The Gathering” pt. 2, and again in “The Journey” and the comic books.  It’s worth noting that this is basically her Pack outfit turned civilian, with red top and black pants mirroring her costume’s color scheme.  Interestingly enough, these two colors are also Xanatos’ main colors.  A coincidence?  Possibly.  All in all, it’d be an okay (if unimaginative) standard look if it weren’t for the  high-waistedness of those pants, and the way she exposed waistband reveals that she wears no belt with them, which annoy me in the same way Elisa’s rolled up jean legs annoy me.

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Later on in that same episode, she spars with David, which I mention mostly for completeness’ sake.  Obviously, she’s a black belt.

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For her sneak assault on Fortress-2 (“Outfoxed” again), Fox decides to go traditional and dress up as a ninja.  I really don’t know what to say about this.

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Fox plays chess with David on several different levels, using Gargoyle-themed pieces against Xanatos’ Pack-themed ones and honestly, I’m not entirely sure what to think of what she’s made to wear.  It makes sort of sense, at first, but on a second thought it kinda looks like the animators/storyboarders didn’t know what to have her wear and just defaulted.  After all, Fox has never really made much her connection to the Pack after “Leader”, and in fact seemed, like her husband, to consider them as merely disposable pawns (at least up to this point; later on we see that she’s at least civil with Dingo).  Why she’d return to her old costume, particularly when she’s actually fighting against them, is something I’d like to see more elaboration on.

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After a large stretch of episodes with no word from Fox, we see her again in “Walkabout”.  Obviously, she’s entered the latest stages of her pregnancy, and it shows.

Again, I’ve always believed that Fox, even after “settling down”,  still possessed an aura of glamour from her days as a star.  There’s little evidence of this here, as she looks downright boring, domestic, even frumpy–thinks Fox would never be.  I know one shouldn’t expect character designers to be fashion mavens–although I’d love it if they were–but given the maternity wear industry, I would have liked to see Fox wear something more stylish.   Also, this is the third outfit of hers playing with black and red–definitively her colors.

We also see that again, she’s tied her hair back into a ponytail, this time with an actual ribbon she’s too old for.  The first time she tied up her hair in this manner, it helped give her a (false) aura of innocence, and she discarded the accessory once it was no longer necessary.  Who’s she wearing it for now?

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Ugh.  After giving birth to Alexander Fox Xanatos, the elder Fox announces her intentions of moving to an Utah compound and following the true teachings of Joseph Smith–or so you’d think from looking at this outfit.   I’d really like to know what the character designer was thinking when he designed this look; I know that looking good isn’t necessarily priority one once you’ve pushed out a baby through your spawn-parts, but that doesn’t mean she had to go jump to the other extreme.

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Like I said before, my I don’t see Fox’s time with the Pack as a terribly important event in her life; somebody clearly doesn’t agree.

I find it curious that Puck would choose this particular incarnation of Fox to reincarnate in stone.  Does he somehow feel that this was the time when Janine was truest to herself, or did it just come to him as a whim?  Something to discuss.

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Later on, as the Fay Demigod Oberon makes his way into her room  to steal, baby Alexander, we see Fox dressed in her red-shirt/black pants combo from “Outfoxed” .  Nobody mentiones that she seems to have immediately lost all her pregnancy weight, which I feel is a bigger display of elvish magic than energy blasts.

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Fox’s last appearance in the television canon* is a brief scene in “Possession”, where she leaves Alexander in Owen’s care before she and Xanatos head of to an unspecified event.

Same outfit as before, blah blah blah, it’s annoying to see millionaires with one formal outfit even though  it’s kind of hard to avoid in animation, blah blah blah, complaintcakes.

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So that’s it.  Fox in a nutshell. As someone who likes well-dressed ladies, who believes that one can tell a lot about a person from what they wear, and thought the artist had a prime opportunity to show off, I’m a tad disappointed to see that opportunity not taken.  My opinion of her dress sense mirrors my opinion of the character–promising, but unrealized. In the end, my favorie version of Fox remains the one seen in this awesome bit of fan art by “~y2hecate”:

Rock on, ~y2hecate.  If we ever get to see something like this in canon, everything is forgiven.  Even that wedding dress.

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* ETA: Okay, second to last.  I missed her appearance in “Hunter’s Moon” pt. 3.  Special thanks *grumble* to Harvester of Eyes over at the Gargoyles comment room.

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5 Responses to Foxy Lady: A Look at the Many Looks of lady Fox

  1. GregXB says:

    You forgot to point out that Fox is clearly not wearing panties at her parole hearing. Look at her in the limo with Xanatos after. Hell, we know she shaves it now too 😉

  2. Ellen says:

    “Nobody mentiones that she seems to have immediately lost all her pregnancy weight, which I feel is a bigger display of elvish magic than energy blasts.” 😄

    Outfit #3 is notable for one other reason: her underwear is the same color as her skin, making it look like it’s missing!

    And don’t forget that Xanatos has a lot of outfits too.

  3. Ian Perez Zayas says:

    Now that y’all mention it…exposed lady-bits, jail sentence…OH MY GOD! Fox is totally Lindsay Lohan!

  4. Pingback: These Ten Episodes Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know About “Gargoyles” | Monsters of New York

  5. Pingback: Women at Work: “Walkabout” | Monsters of New York

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