From haute couture to industrial fetish wear, Nier: Automata’s fashion is fascinating

Why I love

In Why I Love, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it’s brilliant. Today, Kimberley examines the scenes that inform Nier: Automata’s bold fashion choices.

If you were to list three ideal qualities that futuristic androids should possess as standard, they would be intelligence, resourcefulness and, above all, beauty. In the world of Nier: Automata, beauty is key. Set in the aftermath of an alien invasion on Earth, humans have retreated to the Moon and created androids called YoRHa to fi ght back. They’re not just perfectly made subservient killing machines, but delectably dressed, in black lace, leather and gossamer. 

Instead of utilitarian uniforms you may expect from an army deployed for destruction, YoRHa look like ghosts from Gothic romance crossed with children’s toys. At times this feels far-fetched, especially when watching a woman fi ght machines in a gown and stiletto heels, but it’s also a celebration of contemporary fashion from Los Angeles to Milan. 

When we meet Nier’s protagonist 2B, she is a draped and ruffled china doll. She pirouettes across the screen in a billowing velvet dress adorned with a high collar and a delicate cut-out at the back, and is accessorised with thigh-high leather boots and black stockings. With her traditionally feminine, hyperwaisted silhouette, 2B’s uniform is not about practicality, but desire. She is the femme fatale of this planetary ruin. 2B’s style may have been inspired by Gothic Lolita, a Japanese fashion subculture. Like an elaborate play on Victorian fashion, young women don their dresses like tiered cakes, their bouffant skirts layered in ribbons and pleats. While the silhouette is similar, 2B’s costume is more adult, swapping a parasol for a svelte sword and Mary Jane shoes for killer heels.

Instead, 2B’s look emulates several haute couture collections. In David Koma’s 2017 Spring ready-to-wear line, for instance, the Georgian designer was inspired by the opulence of Russian 20th century court dress across a monochrome palette. Similarly, in its 2017 fall ready-to-wear collection, French fashion house Saint Laurent featured a line of dresses with ruffl ed shoulders, draped leather and belts cinched sharply around the waist. This brute-femme aesthetic is also a favourite of sister designers Rodarte, whose 2009 spring/summer line was a sewing box of romantic, wispy garments that juxtaposed tough leather with lace. 

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