In 1979 KISS was no longer just KISS, but SuperKISS! And the new outfits were
reflecting the new superhero image!
For the solo albums each member had gotten their own signature color, and this was
incorporated into the outfits, and the shows as well.
outfits for this period, are pretty hard to keep track of... they kept changing! As far as
I can tell, there were no less than 4 different versions of the gargoyle costume.
It is basically the Destroyer costume, but instead of the metal plate armor, it is made of
foam rubber, trying hard to look like rock.
The basis was (as usual) a black leotard, like the one shown on picture A. It was an
all-over body suit, with a cutout at the stomach area, and on each thigh. Note that the
shown leotard is the one used with the 1980 version of the costume, but the other versions
were very similar in design!!
Pictures B to D shows the prototype version of the costume. It was a leather body suit
covered with rhinestones, and had chains hanging from the nipples to the codpiece. There
is also a detachable cape in Gene's signature color red. And on the shoulder pads there
are two skeletal hands. If you look carefully at the holes on the thighs of the leotard in
picture C and D, you can see the edges has a red line. According to Gene himself this
prototype was never used in concert, but photos from the very first show on the Dynasty
tour in Lakeland, Florida (like picture C), shows quite clearly that it was used, at least
On picture D you can see the cape more clearly, and you also get a good view of the boots.
They also had some coloring, and rhinestones, like the rest of the costume.
outfit on pictures E to I is almost as rarely seen as the previous. Note that the black
leotard underneath, do not have an open chest, nor any holes on the thighs, and the
codpiece is open at the sides (circled in on picture E). The skeletal hands from the
previous version are still in use here. I might be wrong, but I think Gene is
wearing this version of the costume in the "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and
"Sure Know Something" video clips. But that version had a leotard with open
Even though the outfit kept changing, the boots
funnily enough stayed almost the same throughout the period. As you can see on
picture F, the boots were also made to look like stone, and had large claws.
Picture G shows what exactly those skeletal hands were: a skeletal spider in a cobweb. The
cobweb was a clear (plastic?) cape, with a cobweb design on. On picture H you can see the
two capes, and how they were supposed to work together, with the cobweb design under
Gene's arms, just like the batwings had been on the other costumes. If you take a look in
the 77 section, you can see a sketch for Gene's 77 costume, which also were supposed to
have a cobweb design... so the idea originated there!!
The skeletal spider was only used at a few photo sessions, and as far as I am concerned
never used for concerts.
Picture I shows a different cape, this one with a collar. This is the only photo I have
ever seen of this, so it was probably only used for this one photo session.
This costume was the second version of the Dynasty costume. This is mostly seen in photos
shot for promotion for the upcoming tour (like the Dynasty TV commercial, seen in the
"KISS My Ass" video), so it has to be assumed, that Gene was unhappy with this
second version and discarded it. The third and finished version was then probably late,
and the prototype was used for the first show of the tour. This is just a guess, but I
think it is what happened!
third version of the gargoyle costume can be seen on pictures J to M. This costume was
more silvery than the other versions (those were more grayish). Also note, that the
skeletal spider and cobweb had been dropped at this time! Instead some small horns now
protruded through the chest plates (almost like nipples). Gene would alternate between two
different capes. One cape (as seen in picture J), was just a plain red, satin cape, while
the other (seen on picture K) was made to resemble flames. The flame cape was also the one
used with the prototype version of the costume (seen on pictures B to D).
Picture L and M shows some details of the third version. Picture L shows the
codpiece, which had spikes. Note the edge along Gene's exposed stomach, is black and looks
Picture M shows the thighs of the leotard. Instead of the red line from picture C
and D, the leotard is now painted to look like scales.
fourth and last version of the gargoyle outfit, is seen in pictures N to Q. This was
introduced during the last half of the Dynasty tour, and was also used throughout the
entire Unmasked period. The outfit was now again grayish, and the horns in the chest
plates are much larger. The codpiece still had spikes in the crotch, but the edge along
Gene's midsection was now gray and scaly, instead of black and leathery.
Gene would also alternate between two leotards, one with a plain oval hole on the
thighs (picture N and P), and one with straps across the holes (picture A and Q). But both
leotards were entirely black, and did not have scales painted on them, like in picture M.
Picture R shows Gene with his guitar strap placed under the costume. This was however, not
the general way it was done! Many pictures from the Unmasked tour, also shows Gene with
the guitar strap over the shoulder of the costume (as seen in picture C and K).
Picture S reveals the secret behind how the cape was attached to the shoulders. Circled in
is a little metal ring where a hook inside the cape's shoulder part would be hooked to!
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