Revisiting the Dystopian Beauty of the ‘90s Animated Show, Aeon Flux

It makes sense that Aeon’s outfit is still popping up on social media and beyond, albeit randomly. Because while it is set in a ransacked, dystopian universe, the clothing seems also very modern. It’s also probably not completely far from what Hadid herself is wearing these days. Aeon’s signature is typically a long sleeve crop top in a dark shade of purple. (In it, her chest defies gravity and is always, well, pointing straight ahead with a purpose, just like Aeon herself.) Some details about her look are vaguely dominatrix-y, like an O-ring affixed to the middle section of her signature crop top, and she wears hiked-up thong underwear and shin-length boots that look so tight that they could be peeled off. We’ve seen nods to this style on recent runways, too, including Versace, Junya Watanabe, or Saint Laurent.

Photo: Courtesy of MTV 

The brazen sauciness of Aeon all has to do with Chung’s prior experiences working in children’s television. (He worked on the show Rugrats). For him, Aeon Flux was a way to push himself in ways that he had been limited before, which ultimately trickled into the look of the character. “I’m sure some of this was venting and putting in gratuitous kinkiness,” he says. While that kinkiness can be subversive, at times it can be overt: In one episode, Aeon wears a chastity belt, which leaves little (or a lot!) to the imagination. But it’s all a way to draw people into the show. Aeon Flux plotlines have long been known to be what Chung describes as “morally ambiguous” and could sometimes be confusing. “Even if they [viewers] were confused about what was happening or that they were unsure about what they were watching in terms of the storyline, they would still be engaged visually, viscerally,” says Chung. “Everything was designed in a way to make her riveting visually something that would draw your attention.”

The sexiness has a purpose though. Aeon’s clothing was a way to show off the range of her body, the same way a dancer’s tight clothing reveals their form. If Chung were to choose layers of clothing, it would mean that he would have to illustrate and animate differently. “As an artist, what you find is it’s actually very difficult to draw realistic clothing, and even if you do it, your drawing then becomes more about what the character is wearing rather than the character itself,” says Chung. “It’s also another reason why you see, for example, in superhero comic books they wear skin-tight outfits. It is to show off the form of the body.” Chung was also inspired by the very naked images of the late Helmut Newton, known for his nude imagery and nods to Amazonian women. “That has one thing in common with the fashion world. The whole point of doing something like a Helmut Newton photo shoot is that you’re depicting scenes, which are kind of idealized and it’s not realistic,” says Chung. “It’s not trying to

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