Skip to main content

A look into Star Wars: Padme's Dresses. Part II

Let’s continue with our thorough examination of the designs of Padme Amidala’s dresses. This second post in the series will be dedicated to the also terribly famous “senate” gown from “The Phantom Menace”. She wears this dress during her plea at the senate in Coruscant, and it has grown to become a terribly well known gown.

This gown has several layers to it. The base layer is a bright orange silk dress, with a high collar decorated with ornate gold stitchwork and beads. Over this, she wears a dark red overdress with orange hems decorated with gold brocade. This overdress has big sleeves and its embroider with rosettes. Above this, she wears a dark and thick faux fur cloak with shoulder pads that make her look twice her size.

Although what really made this dress iconic, is the headdress that accompanied it. Amidala's hair was dressed in a wide arc centered by a golden headpiece with golden hairbands to keep her hair's shape. This arc was decorated with dangling orichalc suspensas capped with golden ornaments. The medal of the Royal Sovereign of Naboo served as the centerpiece of this hairstyle.

It’s a very interesting design but, as for its influences, well, let’s say that they are very easy to pinpoint. Basically because it mainly takes its ideas from the traditional dresses of the Mongolian Royalty.

19th century picture of a Mongolian Princess

It is very clear that they took the idea of Amidala’s hairpiece from the traditional Mongolian hairpiece. They are very similar.

The texture of the clothing is very similar as well. It uses heavy fabrics, which are also warm. And even the cloak she wears has some resemblance to the cloak the Mongolian princess wears. Both have this huge shoulder pads, and look very heavy and regal.

During my research, I found this picture of the Mongolian Princess that is sent to marry the Emperor in Bertolucci’s “The Last emperor”. And, beside the obvious resemblance of the hair piece, it also uses the same dress structure: first a dress and then an over dress with embroidered hems. It also uses the deep red coloration, and adds some fur to the design.

But, on the other hand, the coloration and the richness of the gown is clearly from some other source. The Mongolian culture is traditionally poor and does not use such regal fabrics. That is probably taken from the Chinese royally. The deep reeds and golden embroideries were very used in China as we saw in the “Red Invasion” gown.

Chinese clothing (from a Zhang Ziyi movie)

I think they wanted to create a homogeneity, throughout color, to the gowns of the queen. Of course that all her dresses aren’t red. She has so many that it would be a bore if each an everyone of them was red. But the truth is that in the two most important public appearances of the character, she wears red, especially in Episode I. That was probably done, also, to accentuate the sense of regalness to the character.

But, as I said before, the most important element of the dress is the headpiece and hairstyle. It’s enormous and pretty odd looking. As I pointed out before, it is practically identical to those used in the Mongolian culture. The main difference between the two hairstyles is the volume. If you look closer, the arcs of the Mongolian traditional dress are actually flat. Instead, Padme’s arcs are round, like a huge head roll.

In this picture you can see, more or less, the back of the hairstyle. You can notice that it is completed with a ponytail or some sort of bun at the back of her head. I personally would have preferred if they had used all the hair for the head roll and had eliminated that pony tail. But I guess they wanted to have some correspondence with the “Red invasion” gown, and have the huge rolls at the front and keep some hair loose at the back.

Senate Gown makeup

Red invasion makeup
The final touch to the dress is the make up. And as we can see, she has the same exact makeup that she has with the other gowns. This is because here, she appears as the Queen, and as we established, this makeup is exclusive to the role of the Queen of Naboo.

This dress takes, mainly, from only one single influence. Still, they manage to create a gown that is very interesting and it certainly achieves what it wants.
I’ll be back soon with another of her dresses! Happy 2014!!

To read A look into Star Wars: Padme's Dresses. Part III click here.


Popular posts from this blog

Moulin Rouge and the art of Kitsch

The spring of 2001 saw the release of Moulin Rouge! unexpectedly shake the movie industry and the box office simultaneously. Despite the many awards, including 8 nominations at the Academy Awards, and the impressive box office numbers, the movie quickly became very polarizing for audiences. Love and hate seemed to be the only two possible reactions to the movie itself.

But that should not come as a surprise. The film was directed by Baz Luhrman, who has consistently been, throughout his career, one of the most polarizing filmmakers of his generation. I still have to meet anyone who simply doesn't mind his movies (which include Romeo+Juliet, Australia and TheGreatGatsby); it's either absolute love or absolute loathing. There is no middle ground with him. And that's mainly because he himself doesn't compromise when it comes to his style, which is so characteristic at this point (fast and frantic editing, a vivid use of flashy colors and sparkly and stories about true an…

Burning Question: What's wrong with Belle's gown?

Since the first promotional pictures of Disney's new Live-Action remake of Beauty and the Beast hit the internet, there has been a lot of discussion around Belle's iconic ball gown. And, even months after its release in cinemas, there still continues to be a lot of buzz around it. Why? Mainly, because a lot of people feel that it is just doesn't look that good.
The thing is, Belle's animated yellow ball gown is, at this point, an iconic staple of animated cinema. Everybody knows it and everybody loves it. And, as a result, everybody can see the new one and say "this is not the costume I know". Therefore, everyone can compare it down to the smallest detail and see that it just doesn't quite look right.
Today, our goal will be to try and dissect the design in order to answer the burning question everyone has been asking themselves: what's so wrong with the "new" dress? Or, to put it bluntly, why is it so incredibly underwhelming?

This might n…

Creating the Seven Kingdoms. Part I: The North

As we promised a few weeks backs, we are going to cover more tv shows from now on, mainly because there is just too much awesomeness in our TV's these days to ignore it. And for the last 5 years, the crowning jewel of TV costume design has been, without a doubt, HBO's Game of Thrones. So it was only logical to start there.
The downside is that there is so much to talk about that it becomes really difficult to decide where to start exactly. G.R.R. Martin's sprawling epic covers many characters and many places, and therefore there's really a lot to pick up from. In the end, we decided that we would take a page out of the author's tactics and split it in several different series of articles to be published gradually. And so, this is going to be the first of many. And we probably should warn you, there will be spoilers ahead. CREATING THE SEVEN KINGDOMSGame of Thrones, from an adaptation standpoint, faced many of the same problems that Peter Jackson had to face when b…

The Huntsman: Winter's War. Untangling the mess. Part II

As we heavily remarked in our last article (click here to read), the Costume Design for the monstrosity that was The Huntsman: Winter's War wasn't really as good as everyone was claiming it to be. And because we are sort of unrelenting in our grudges and hates, we are going to continue hammering down this idea, this time focussing on the true stars of this movie: the two Evil Sister Queens.
So, without further ado, let's get into the madness. IV. FREYA, THE ICE QUEEN That tonal dissonance that we pointed out in the huntsmen characters becomes a cacophony the moment we consider the two Queens in this movie: Ravenna (because how could they do this movie without bringing back the only successful character in the last movie?) and her sister, Freya, who basically becomes Elsa from Frozen.
Before starting, I feel like I need to clarify that my main quarrel about both their designs has nothing to do with if they are pretty or not, which most of them are. But prettiness is not wh…

Oscars Retrospective 2017: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first of the planned spin-off/prequel series of the Harry Potter Saga and the screenwriting debut of J.K.Rowling, the mind behind the Harry Potter Books.
This new installment is an ambitious attempt, both in scale and in narrative, as it tries to tell both a brand new story with brand new characters and also be linked to the original saga through the character of Grindelwald.
The problem is that this juggling act forces the movie to fit in together two stories that have little to do with each other. On the one hand, there's Grindenwald and the Obscurial's story and on the other, the bizarre adventures of Newt Scamander as he tries to fetch back his creatures. Separately, these two stories, could have made for two entertaining movies, but the problem is that, together, they just don't mix  very well. On top of that, the radical changes in tone throughout the movie only manage to drag the final product further down.

But, despite…