Red, gold, and stars: How Darna costumes have evolved through the years

Mars Ravelo’s Darna has finally premiered and its pilot week was indeed the talk of the town, especially when Jane De Leon transformed into Darna. As we look forward on seeing her more in her red and gold ensemble, let’s look back on how the iconic Pinay supeheroine’s costumes have evolved through the years in this special feature!

Around seven decades ago, esteemed Filipino comic artist Mars Ravelo created the first-ever Pinay superheroine Varga, who first appeared in the volume 4, issue number 17 of Bulaklak magazine on July 23, 1947. She was said to wear body-hugging long-sleeved shirt that has the sun and three stars of the Philippine flag and skimpy shorts, which she accented with a simple belt, loincloth, and an elaborate headpiece.

His fallout with the editors compelled Ravelo to resign and left Varga behind as the publication took ownership of the character. Yet, this didn’t stop him from continuing the story of the superheroine as she retooled it into the Darna that we’ve known over the years, initially relaunching it in Pilipino Komiks on May 13, 1950 with a different costume and as Darna.

As Ravelo tapped Nestor Redondo to be the illustrator, they’d come up with the superheroine’s distinct and iconic appearance: red brassiere with a gold star on each cap, red boyleg shorts, red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged accent, gold arm cuffs, golden medallion belt with a loincloth and red boots.

DarnaPhoto credit to owner

First-ever Darna Rosa del Rosario’s costume adhered to the komiks version

Due to its immense popularity, the late Fernando Poe, Sr. produced and directed the maiden film adaptation of Darna in 1951, with Rosa del Rosario as the premier actress to ever portray the iconic heroine on the silver screen. She reprised her role the following year in “Darna at Ang Babaing Lawin”, donning the same ensemble comprised of a red bustier with gold star design on each cap, boy shorts accentuated with a gold medallion belt to which a loincloth was attached through a cross, red mid-calf boots, helmet with golden wings accent, and gold cuff bracelets.

DarnaPhoto from philstar.com

Liza Moreno donned a glittery version of the costume in two 1963 Darna movies

Since then, 12 more films and three TV remakes were made in the succeeding years, which also featured different versions of Darna’s iconic costume. For the 1963 films “Si Darna at Ang Impakta” and “Isputnik vs. Darna,” Liza Moreno was cladded in the glittery red version of the costume matched with a gold helmet.

DarnaPhotos from Mars Ravelo's Darna the Superheroine FB

The 1965 Darna film featured Eva Montes in a sparkly gold outfit

She was succeeded by Eva Montes, who was chosen to portray the titular role in “Darna At Ang Babaing Tuod” in 1965, which was the first-ever Darna movie to be made in full color. The then-newbie actress ditched the red ensemble as she wore a sparkly gold outfit instead.

DarnaPhotos from Mars Ravelo's Darna the Superheroine FB

Gina Pareño was the first one to wear the Darna costume in light blue color in the 1969 film

Four years after, Gina Pareño was tapped to play the superheroine in the 1969 incarnation titled “Si Darna at ang Planetman,” wherein she sported a totally different rendition of the costume. It was composed of a light blue two-piece bikini with a red star on both brassiere cups, a red loin cloth attached to the gold medallion belt, gold bracelets, and a red helmet with ruby-encrusted gold-winged medallion.

DarnaPhoto from Mars Ravelo’s Darna The Superheroine FB

Vilma Santos wore two different costumes for the first two Darna films she starred in 1973

Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos followed suit as she headlined four Darna flicks in the 1970s, which were all blockbuster hits. And in each movie, she also donned four different costumes! For the “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” in 1973, she wore a red bikini with gold stars, a red helmet with gold winged medallion, gold belt with red loin cloth attached, and gold bracelets and belt.

DarnaPhoto from philstar.com/ Vilma Santos The Star For All Seasons FB

It was also on that same year when “Darna and the Giants” was released, wherein she was seen dressed in “an all-gold ensemble with red details, and topped it off with a gold choker.”

DarnaPhoto from StarForAllSeasons.com

In 1975, the Star for All Seasons donned a dark blue bikini with red stars and gold accessories

She was cladded, meanwhile, in a dark blue bikini with red stars, the same sets of accessories, and the choker, as she headlined “Darna vs. The Planetwomen” in 1975.

DarnaPhoto from starforallseasons.com

Lorna Tolentino was the first one to fly in a one-piece suit for the first-ever Darna The TV Series in 1977

In 1977, Lorna Tolentino became the first actress to take on the coveted role on television via “Darna The TV Series” aired on KBS-9. At the same time, she was also the first to fly in a one-piece instead of the classic two-piece bikini. Besides, her headpiece and belt had a star detail instead of ruby, while her golden cuff bracelets had a red lining, too! She was also the youngest Darna as she was only 14 when she did it.

DarnaPhoto from Mars Ravelo’s Darna The Superheroine FB

Rio Locsin stunned in a red and gold number for the 1979 Darna movie

Rio Locsin was then tapped portray Darna in the 1979 flick “Bira, Darna, Bira!” wherein she wore a red bikini with gold dots surrounding the gold stars, a yellow loin cloth, and all-gold helmet, belt, and bracelets.

DarnaPhoto from Mars Ravelo's Darna the Superheroine FB

Vilma Santos rocked “her most daring Darna costume ever” by putting on blue and red bikini

The following year, Vilma Santos took back the stone as she had her last appearance in “Darna at Ding”. As she seemed to have saved the best for last, she astounded moviegoers when she rocked “her most daring Darna costume ever” by trading the boyshorts to a high-waisted shiny blue bikini with a white loin cloth and putting on a shimmering red bikini top with gold stars.

DarnaPhoto from starforallseasons.com

Sharon Cuneta wore a one-piece suit for her cameo appearance as Darna in the 1986 movie “Captain Barbell”

The Megastar Sharon Cuneta was also given the opportunity to play the legendary character in 1986 for her cameo in the movie “Captain Barbell” starring Edu Manzano. She’s the second one to don a one-piece Darna suit that was in red and blue with gold stars.

DarnaPhoto credit to owner

Nanette Medved’s costume for the Darna full-length film in 1991 was extra stylish and sexy

After a decade, Filipinos were able to witness Darna soar again in a full movie in 1991 through actress Nanette Medved. This was when the boyleg shorts turned into a high-cut panty, the classic red helmet became a ruby-encrusted winged medallion tiara, and her cuffs and belt also got extra stylish.

DarnaPhoto from Mars Ravelo's Darna the Superheroine FB

Anjanette Abayari was also mesmerizingly striking and sexy in the last Darna film in 1994

The last Darna film to be created was “Mars Ravelo’s Darna! Ang Pagbabalik” in 1994, which was headlined by Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 1991 Anjanette Abayari. She sported a gold headpiece made of two entwined leaves, a red brassiere with gold stars accentuated by big red crystals in the middle portion, a red hi-cut panty with red loincloth attached to its gold accent, gold bracelets and belt, and red loin cloth and boots with yellow accents. 

DarnaPhoto credit to owner

Regine Velasquez wore a simpler version of the Darna costume for the Captain Barbell movie in 2003

When another Captain Barbell film was released in 2003, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid was the one tapped to play Darna. For her cameo appearance, the Asia’s Songbird wore a yellow and red one-piece suit with a yellow star and gold accents on each cup of the red brassiere, gold belt with white loincloth attached to it, red cap with gold winged medallion in front, gold cuffs, and red high-heeled boots.

DarnaPhoto credit to owner

Iza Calzado and Jane De Leon were indeed ravishing in their slick red and gold costume as the two Darnas in Mars Ravelo’s Darna

Unlike the past film and teleserye incarnations, ABS-CBN’s Mars Ravelo’s Darna features two figures of the iconic superheroine, with seasoned actress Iza Calzado being the first one. She may have taken a rest from her duties as Darna and lived as Leonor Custodio, yet she was able to still fulfill her calling to save other people as a paramedic.

However, as extraterrestrial beings invaded the planet Earth, she didn’t hesitate to swallow the magical stone and transform into Darna. Her costume was a combination of red and gold – from the intricately-designed one-piece suit with broad straps, cuffs, knee-high boots, and helmet with winged headpiece.


She may be initially hesitant to accept the duty of being the next Darna, but the stone was still able to find Narda, played by Jane de Leon, at the time when a lot of people needed her help. We were totally mind-blown by her transformation into Darna, whose costume are also in red and gold. But unlike her mom’s, hers is quite revealing as it is comprised of red brassiere with gold star at each cup, red bikini bottom with gold loincloth attached to the gold belt, red platform boots with gold brim, red and gold cuffs, and red helmet with winged headpiece.


Despite the changes in the iconic costume of Darna, three common elements have been always present – the winged headpiece that signifies Ravelo’s ambition to become a pilot, the stars on the bra top that symbolize the Philippine flag, and the loincloth that represents the conservative side of Filipinas – as disclosed by the son of the “King of Philippine Komiks,” Rex Ravelo, in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News in 2017.

Which of these Darna costumes through the years stood out to you the most, Kapamilya?

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