Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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LA Daily News: Spywitness

By Sharon Knolle

JULY 22, 2004 -- CAT SCRATCH FEVER

Halle Berry looked absolutely purr-fect in a sexy Roberto Cavalli baby doll dress at the Monday night "Catwoman" premiere.

But everyone was talking about her ripped leather jeans/bra cat suit, which shreds the classic styles worn by former foxy felines Julie Newmar and Michelle Pfeiffer.

"I think that over the years, they (the costumes) have all evolved," Berry explained. "When you look at the very first one and then you look at the one Michelle Pfeiffer wore about 10 years ago, it changed a lot. And our rendition of Catwoman is just another step in that evolution."

An evolution designed, says "Catwoman" director Pitof, to "show Halle (her body) off and to give her maximum flexibility and space."

"Catwoman" fan backlash was fierce when the new design was first revealed. But Pitof thinks that when people actually see the movie, they'll like the new look.

"They were just judging a still photo. I can't wait for all these guys (who criticized the suit) to see the movie and see Halle in action. It's designed to be seen in motion."

It's hot, I love it!" agrees Lee Meriwether, of Berry's new catsuit. Meriwether played the cat in the 1966 "Batman" film opposite Adam West. "I would have worn it back then, although I didn't have Halle's figure. It would have been a lot more comfortable. Our costume was a metallic-based Lurex and a couple of times we were working outdoors. When the sun hits you... A few times I was burned!"

Sharon Stone, who plays the film's villainess, also sizzled on the carpet in a slinky green Mandalay dress. But it's not easy competing with a hot young bombshell. Stone worked half the press line, then fixed her melting makeup and skipped ahead to pose for the panting paparazzi. Me-Ow!