Like any Star Wars fan, this week I'm filling my nights by re-watching Episodes I-VI to get pumped for The Force Awakens. Also like any Star Wars fan, a ton of wine was consumed during the re-watch of Episodes I-III (most particularly Episode II.)
In addition to watching the movies, I kicked off my Star Wars excitement in New York City this week and visited Discovery's Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit, which has costumes (and droids) from all of the Star Wars films. As one can imagine, Queen Amidala/Padme's wardrobe had multiple displays and even a room of its own. (How fierce is the one on the far left?)
There's something very personal about learning the behind-the-scenes of a film. Queen Amidala's infamous red-cloak costume from Episode I, for example, was lit using a car battery that Natalie Portman had belted underneath her dress. When my husband and I watched Episode I the other night, that's all I could think about during that scene: "How exactly did they belt that to her? How big was it? How the Hell did they get all the grease off of it?" (That last one comes from my one and only encounter with anything that lives underneath the hood of a car.)
Another fun fact is the Eastern influence Lucas used for the infamous Jedi warriors. The humble brown and tan robes of the Jedi are designed to indicate purity and embody the look of an ancient Eastern warrior (I dive more into this in my recent podcast.) Of course, the classic black-colored cloak is representative of the evil that lives inside the Sith lords.
The costumes were also used to showcase the development of a character. Padme's costumes from Episode I to II evolved from a regal queen to an intoxicating woman in love, depicting her journey into falling in love with Anakin. The exhibit shares that Padme's character started with only a few outfits, but by the end of filming she wore into a whopping 18. Each outfit has a story: The robe she wears when she sees Anakin after his nightmare took months to make, and the lead designer pulled an all-nighter to sew pearls on her wedding dress after a last-minute decision. Again, these are the things that got me through the re-watch of Episodes I-III. Dare I say it, it actually made the movies bearable.
Of course, seeing the actual Vadar costume, Leia's infamous white and slave dresses, and Han Solo's space-cowboy garb was an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. Harrison Ford is quoted in the exhibit expressing his disapproval for the original white undershirt for Han Solo. As noticed in the films, some of the costumes have a Renaissance-type feel to the them. Keeping with the trend, Han's original white shirt had a massive floppy collar. Harrison pointed out that the gun-slinging anti-hero would never be that flamboyant, and they ended up cutting off the collar to make the look every fan loves today.
Another influence George Lucas took to was the Nazis, using their uniforms to represent Darth Vadar's soldiers. Lucas took not just their uniform, but the way they commanded and ruled. In Episodes IV-VI it's apparent that all sense of expression (verbally and through fashion) is gone, due to the control of Darth Vadar. (Like Leia's white dress, for example.)
Any Star Wars fan will enjoy this exhibit, and it's the perfect experience to kick off your Star Wars re-watch before seeing The Force Awakens. The contents of the exhibit rely heavily on nostalgia, which is a good thing - it's why we love the films so much.
Oh yeah, and you get to see Yoda (#score):
Tickets are $20 for children, $24 for seniors, and $27.50 for adults.