Character Makeover: Josie, Valerie and Melody, Part I.

Welcome to the third installment of my 1920s Josie and the Pussycats makeover series! If you’re interested, the overall synopsis of my endeavor can be found here. Previously, antagonist Alexandra’s flapper-inspired makeover was revealed last August, and the group’s dudes, manager Alexander’s and roadie Alan’s, duds were transformed in September. At long last, it’s Josie, Valerie, and Melody’s turn,  but I’m doing to do something a little different this time around.

Roadie Alan, antagonist Alexandra, kitty Sebastian and wannabe swell Alexander in their 1920's styles.
Roadie Alan, antagonist Alexandra, kitty Sebastian and wannabe swell Alexander in their 1920’s styles.

When a quick Google image search is performed, most of the pictures that appear for “Josie and the Pussycats animated” show the band in their cat-inspired leotard costumes. To be honest, a large portion of the cartoon dealt with a great deal of mishaps and adventure before the Pussycats could even make it to their shows, so for this particular redesign, I’m going to draw a round of “casual” clothes (but still with a bit of Pussycat flash), then next time, I’ll create a new stage costume.

From 'Melody Memory Mix-Up'.
From “Melody Memory Mix-Up.”

As I have done in the past, I have a Pinterest board for Josie, Valerie, and Melody, so if you’d like to take a look at some more inspiration, please check them out!

Josie McCoy


Josie is the band’s namesake, leader, and guitarist, thus she generally exhibits those forthright characteristics one typically attributes to an individual in such a position. Therefore, I’d like to make her new ’20s outfit reflect a certain practicality that befits her rank. In the animation, her off-stage outfit is traditionally a medley of blues, so I shall also incorporate that into her makeover as well.

Inspired by images of “beach pajamas,” I thought that maybe a gal like Josie would like the comfort and versatility of pants. Although it was atypical for a lady to parade around publicly in pants, even during a time like the 1920s when young women were committing such subversive acts as chopping their hair short and wearing what were, at the time, scandalously short skirts and dresses to go dancing and drinking, I’m using some artistic license here. Also, the fact that Josie’s the leader of a well-known group of performers is enough to overlook what was considered socially acceptable at the time.

Louisa Brooks in a dapper loungewear outfit!
Louisa Brooks in a dapper loungewear outfit!

On top, a fur-accented jacket over a drop-waisted blouse and sash in complimentary blues lend a sort of carefree feeling that I associate with the Pussycats. Since her red crop of hair was already styled in a sort of ’60s bouffant-bob, it didn’t take much for me to decide that a blunt Louisa Brooks-style bob would compliment Josie’s new, avant-garde outfit.

Josie's chic new 1920s-inspired outfit!
Josie’s chic new 1920s-inspired outfit!

Valerie Brown

In the cartoon, Valerie provides vocals and plays the tambourine on stage.  Off-stage, she’s reasonable, intelligent and exhibits great mechanical prowess, which comes in handy when the JatP gang gets into all of their zany misadventures. Her animation outfit colors fall into the purple and pink range.

Valerie demonstrating her resourceful nature!
Valerie demonstrating her resourceful nature!

In order to portray these characteristics in her 1920s makeover, I decided to put Valerie in a very symmetrical suit with clean lines, inspired by the revolutionary designer Coco Chanel. Maybe she’s not working on a car in this suit, but Valerie could definitely be giving a speech or teaching a class in her new look.

Josephine Baker, 1928.
Josephine Baker, 1928.

Hats were de rigueur for many years past and many years to come, so a little felt cloche tops her outfit off, along with a hairdo inspired by entertainer extraordinaire, Josephine Baker.

Valerie's new casual 1920's style is a structured suit!
Valerie’s new casual 1920’s style is a structured suit!

Melody Valentine

JatP’s drummer Melody does, unfortunately, fall victim to the dumb blonde trope throughout the various incarnations of her character. She’s portrayed as cute and naïve, so to a certain extent, the range of green in her cartoon outfit does befit her character in this sense (green meaning immature in age or judgment; untrained; inexperienced, in this case). Of course, there is nothing wrong with inexperience, as a person always knows nothing before they know something, so I would like to think that maybe Melody’s more of an optimistic, ethereal day-dreamer. The Luna Lovegood of the group, if you will.

Melody Valentine.
Melody Valentine.

To convey this concept, I looked at images of America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford, for inspiration. My 1920s version of Melody is dressed in soft layers of fabrics that the sun can shine through. Hers is the most delicate outfit, a nod to the lightness of her demeanor and the willingness with which she’ll offer a smile.

Mary Pickford, 1929.
Mary Pickford, 1929.

A spray of silk flowers adorns one shoulder and she wears a soft head scarf atop her curls, as opposed to the confining rigidity of a hat.

Melody's makeover has her in a dreamy, soft chiffon dress!
Melody’s makeover has her in a dreamy, soft chiffon dress!

Thanks for reading and keep a look out for the final installment of the Josie and the Pussycats Character Makeover!

Do you have characters you’ve personalized through a unique redesign?  Any sketches, drawings, or actual costumes? Feel free to share your pictures or drawings down in the comments section!


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