Violetta, Smoke Knight from Girl Genius
“Okay. Two things. First, I no longer serve the order. And second, I specialize in misdirection and sleight of hand.” —Violetta, Knight of the Smoke
I find a certain irony in using one of Professor Phil Foglio‘s characters for Sartorially Smart Heroines. Professor Foglio is somewhat infamous for drawing curvy women wearing cheese-cakey adventuring gear, lingerie (his characters or other artist’s), and sometimes even less. However, I tend to let my usual pet-peeves about impractical adventuring gear go by the wayside when I know it’s being done for the sake of parody. And I often feel like Herr Professor is making fun of himself a bit with some of his more outrageous drawings. With Girl Genius, however, I’ll admit that there are several of our heroines’ outfits that I find reasonably effective. The character Violetta’s is one of my favorites.
Violetta is a Smoke Knight from the Hugo Award-winning Girl Genius by Professors Phil and Kaja Foglio. The Smoke Knights are thieves, spies, and assassins working for the Strumvoraus family and the Knights of Jove. Violetta is a fairly minor Strumvoraus cousin who changes her allegiance over to the title character, Agatha Heterodyne, at her cousin Tarvek’s behest. Like the other Smoke Knights, Violetta specializes in stealth and deception, slight-of-hand, and hand-to-hand or small-blade combat. Her outfit appears to be standard-issue for agents of the Smoke.
Oddly, the coloration of Violetta’s cloak and jumpsuit work well for me. While purple and violet aren’t… typical colors for sneaking and stealth, they’re both flat and non-reflective, and thus allow little Violetta to blend reasonably well with the darkness. The cloak serves multiple purposes, such as warmth and blending with shadows, as well as cover or distraction for various sleights-of-hand. I’m not sure what her boots must be made from to be hip-high, yet still offer the level of flexibility that they do, but it’s important to note that they are not high heels. Violetta wears no armor other than the leather corset, and the jumpsuit itself is light, allowing our heroine quickness and flexibility for long jumps and various acrobatics.
The seemingly innocuous diadem on Violetta’s circlet also functions as a hunting light.The pocketed corset, however, might be my favorite accessory in Violetta’s outfit. Better than Batman’s utility belt, the pockets give our heroine quick access to all of the tools of her trade: poisons, potions, smoke bombs, gas bombs, and various throwing and stabbing knives. In particular, though there are no knives visible on her person—ie: sticking from her boot or sheathed on her belt—Violetta seems to always have one handy when the fighting starts.