The infamous costume addition featured in both Batman Forever, starring Val Kilmer, and Batman & Robin, starring George Clooney.
In a wide-ranging interview with Mel Magazine, Fernandez explained where the idea came from, and how it eventually evolved into something beyond his control.
“With Val Kilmer’s suit in Batman Forever, the nipples were one of those things that I added,” he said. “It wasn’t fetish to me, it was more informed by Roman armour — like Centurions.
“And, in the comic books, the characters always looked like they were naked with spray paint on them — it was all about anatomy, and I like to push anatomy.
“I don’t know exactly where my head was at back in the day, but that’s what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it.”
Asked why he thought the nipples were so heavily mocked in Batman & Robin, but not in Batman Forever, he said: “Well, in the first one, they were just a little blob of clay. It was subtle — it was a blip.
“But for Batman & Robin, Joel Schumacher loved the nipples, so he said, ‘Let’s showcase them. Schumacher wanted them sharpened, like, with points. They were also circled, both outer and inner — it was all made into a feature of the Batsuit.
“I didn’t want to do it,” he added, “but he’s the boss, so we sharpened them, circled them and it all became kind of ridiculous.”
When asked why Batgirl’s costume didn’t feature nipples like Batman and Robin’s, he replied: “With Alicia Silverstone, they wanted nipples on her too. They said, ‘If the guys have nipples, the girls should have nipples, too.’
“After I sculpted it though, everybody realised, maybe not. It was a bit obscene, so we took the nipples off.”