Star Wars and the Power of Costume

Featuring 70 handcrafted costumes from the first six blockbuster “Star Wars” films, this exhibition reveals the artists’ creative process — and uncovers the connection between character and costume. George Lucas created a fantastical world filled with dynamic characters who told a timeless story of the hero’s journey. The costumes shaped the identities of these now famous characters, from the menacing black mask of Darth Vader and the gilded suit of C-3PO to the lavish royal gowns of Queen Amidala and a bikini worn by Princess Leia when enslaved by Jabba the Hutt. A special presentation for the showing at Discovery Times Square in New York will feature seven additional costumes from the highly anticipated film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” (Discovery Times Square)
Darth Maul, the terrifying villain of Episode I, wears black, layered, kimono-style underrobes. The costume has varying lengths of split tabs, allowing for a great deal of movement during his extensive, complex fight sequences. Its many shoulder-to-ankle circular pieces were pleated, creating a narrow silhouette when motionless. In combat, however, they swirl out into a fully circular shape, like a fabric Shuriken (Ninja blade) cutting through the air. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) Darth Sidious, the evil Dark Lord of the Sith who becomes Emperor of the Galactic Empire, wears the instantly recognizable black-hooded shape that was established in the first trilogy. For the prequels, actor Ian McDiarmid used the original neck brooch, which had been carefully stored in the archives. Darth Sidious's costume barely changes or develops throughout the saga. It was remade for "The Phantom Menace" in a very similar cloth and pattern. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) These aren't the droids you're looking for... C-3PO's look was influenced by the robot named Maria from Fritz Lang's 1927 silent classic "Metropolis." While George Lucas wanted a droid with almost-human feeling of Lang's robot, Robert McQuarrie's design is definitely more male and more elegant that the art deco inspiration. R2-D2 was conceived and designed by Lucas and McQuarrie, and developed by special effects expert John Stears. In the original "Star Wars" films, there two types of R2-D2 models, one that remote controlled and rolled on three-wheeled legs, and another in which actor Kenny Baker operated and animated the beloved robot from the inside. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
"The Phantom Menace" costumes were inspired by the art of the Pre-Raphaelites — 19th-century English painters — who had particular visions of heroines and female beauty. Their use of rich color influenced the fashions of Padmé's handmaidens and the citizens of Naboo. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) The distinctive, somehow contradictory, bright white armor of the Imperial Stormtrooper foot soldiers of the dark side quickly became one of the most iconic costumes in cinema history. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) Amidala's Episode I Senate Gown is a bounty of luxurious fabrics. The loose-fitting robe was made in a velvet fabric decorated with bronze metallic, organza, enhanced with seed pearls on the collar and cuff facings. The underdress of silk taffeta was constructed using layers of pleated panels heavily decorated with antique beads. The Mongolian-inspired headdress was made in copper using an electro-forming technique and then gold plated. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
What if he doesn't survive? He's worth a lot to me. ... The bounty hunter Boba Fett became one of cinema's all-time favorite bad guys in "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." Boba was initially designed in all-white armor, which reflected his role as it was originally conceived as a "super stormtrooper." When the character was revised to be an individual bounty hunter, the armor became custom mismatched colors. The Boba Fett costume was built by several crewmembers and painted by Joe Johnston. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) The characters populating the Galactic Senate, the galaxy's republican governing body, represent the wide spectrum of planets and cultures that make up the "Star Wars" universe. Using costumes, masks, props, make up, and other visual details, the costuming department worked closely with the art department and set designers to invent representatives of these many worlds. They worked together to create a fantasy universe of characters that appear timeless, yet still evoke a singular identity for the many different cultures they represent. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) Costume designers Nilo Rodis-Jamero and Aggie Rodgers designed the slave bikini, but struggled with how to dress the normally modest Leia with such boldness. Inspired by fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, they designed a costume in collaboration with sculptor Richard Miller. They created multiple versions of the costume to accommodate different scenes in the film, including a hard metal piece for scenes in which Fisher remained still, and a rubber costume she and stuntwoman Tracy Eddon could wear comfortably while performing stunts. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
After her death on the asteroid Polis Massa, a funeral was held for Senator Padmé Amidala on her homeworld of Naboo. Amidala, who died after giving birth to twin children—Luke and Leia—was mourned by thousands of Naboo citizens during her funeral in the capital city of Theed. Her body was made to still look pregnant in order to keep Luke and Leia safe from their father: Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith formerly known as Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who fell to the dark side of the Force in a failed attempt to save his wife from dying. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) Yoda was one of the most renowned and powerful Jedi Masters in galactic history. Standing at about 66 cm tall, he was a male member of a mysterious species. He was known for his legendary wisdom, mastery of the Force and skills in lightsaber combat. In service to the galaxy and the Force, Grand Master Yoda spent eight centuries training Jedi. He served as a member of the Jedi Council in the last centuries of the Galactic Republic and as Grand Master oversaw the Jedi Order before, during and after the devastating Clone Wars. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) The costumes of cast members from the new Star Wars, The Force Awakens. From left to right: Finn, a trained warrior desperate to escape his past. Finn is plunged into adventure as conscience drives him down a heroic, but dangerous path. Rey is resilient survivor, a scavenger toughened by a lifetime of dealing with cutthroats of the harsh desert world of Jakku. Pilots of the Resistance soar into battle against the evil First Order behind the controls of a modern X-wing fighter. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
From left to right: First Order Stormtrooper is equipped with sleek armor and powerful weapons, the Stormtroopers enforce the will of the First Order. First Order TIE Fighter Pilot are the skill pilots of the First Order launch into combat aboard advanced fighter craft, hunting down enemy vessels and protecting space around installations and warships. First Order Snowtrooper is the latest generation of cold weather assault Stormtroopers. Snowtroopers wear insulated armor and helmets that reduce the glare of icy terrain. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) The costume of the Jedi had an immediate effect on the actors who wore them, and influenced their portrayals. The success of the lightsaber, the signature weapon of the Jedi and Sith, is achieved through the combination of cutting-edge sound and visual effects, the actor's extensive sword training and careful choreography. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News) Darth Vader, the uber villain costume was created by Ralph McQuarrie to look like a "dark lord riding in the wind" with black flowing robes and a helmet like that as of Japanese Samurai. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
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