Skip to main content

A look into Star Wars: Padme's dresses. Part VI

The next design that we'll look into from "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" is the one she wears out on the meadows of Naboo: the "picnic" costume.

She wears this dress during the picnic with Anakin in Naboo. Again, it's a brief scene, but it's an iconic look, because it was used in many promotional pictures for the movie.

The dress is, basically, a light, summery dress intended to show her more romantic and free-spirited side. The skirt is a light and flowing yellow and it's decorated with tiny, white stitchwork flowers and olive-colored leaves. Her bodice is a golden shade of yellow, with brightly embroidered flowers, and leaves. The sleeves are tied at the lower arm with brightly colored ribbons. Over this she wears a light cape embroidered with flowers similar to those on the corset. The edges are done in a bright yellow and green. The dress is ribbon strapped, with single flowers capping off each one.

As the previous dresses we've looked at, this design keeps its focus on western influences, abandoning completely the Asian influences of Episode I. In this case, though, it's influences aren't necessarily historical. Most of its influences come from European pictorial art.

This makes it easier for these influences to blend without being crystal clear where they are pulling from, and gives the design a very unique look compared to all her other designs.

The most obvious influence is, perhaps, found in the paintings of the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (early 20th century), both in the coloration of the dress and the shape itself.

"The Kiss", Gustav Klimt (1907-08)
"Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", Gustav Klimt (1907)

Klimt is pretty well known for his use of gold and bright colors in his paintings, as well as his integrations of nature within his art. The choice of color for this design is obviously taking a lot from Klimt's paintings, both in the use of gold and the choice of colors for the embroidered cloth and the ribbons.

"Bildnis Margaret Stonborough
Wittgenstein", Gustav Klimt (1905)

Though color wise it's very different, the shape and type of cloth of the dress depicted in this painting is very reminiscent of Padme's picnic gown. From the low cut neckline to the pleated, flowing skirt and down to the use of chiffon for the dress. The main difference (aside, from the color) is the corset. Padme is wearing a corset, whilst the dress in the painting has the midsection wrapped around in more chiffon. This idea is modified in Padme's design and turned into the several ribbons that tape her lower arm.

But Klimt isn't the only pictorial influence on the design. It also takes many elements from the late 19th century romantic paintings from the artists known as pre Raphaelites. The paintings that conform the movement portray a romanticized vision of the past, especially focussing on the medieval period and the realm of legends and fairy tales. It's from their paintings that comes some of the false preconception regarding medieval fashion.

"Mariana in the South"
(1897, John William Waterhouse)
(1903, John William Waterhouse)
 "At the First Touch of Winter,
Summer Fades Away"
(1897, Valentine Cameron Prinsep)

These painters had a tendency to portray women dressed in flowing chiffon dresses that gave them an air of delicate flowers. It's this feel, that the designer is trying to imprint of Padme's costume. This helps accentuate the romantic feel of the design and make her look delicate.

As seen in the picture above, the design is clearly trying to recreate the texture and consistence of these types of dresses.

"Queen Guinevere's Maying",  John Maler Collier (1900)

Another important element of the dress is the corset, which is what holds together the dress. Its shape and general design do not fit with any historical corset. Instead, it has much more in common with the corset pictured in the iconic painting by John Maler Collier.

This design is topped off by one of the most gorgeous hairstyles Padme wears in any of the three movies. Funny enough, this is also one of the few looks she gets where both the headdress and the dress receive the same attention. Usually the headdresses are the thing that is most remembered about her look, but with this design, people remember equally both.

She wears her hair down except for two buns on the side of her head, which are decorated with a yellow hair net. The rest of her hair is tied loosely behind her with brightly colored ribbons similar to those on her sleeves. The hair style is finished off with a green headband decorated with stitched-on flowers.

This hairstyle pulls from very different and distant influences: from the medieval crispinette fashion to Renaissance hair to the original drawings of Ozma for the book "The Marvelous land of Oz" (L. Frank Baum, 1904).

We'll start by the most obvious: the medieval crispinette. The crispinette was a type of headdress used during the late 13th century and most of the 14th century. There are many different versions (being such an extended fashion in time, it suffered a lot of modifications), but the most well-known is the simple two-bun structure over the ears. To maintain those buns in place, they used hairnets and with time, hair cages (where you couldn't even see the hair beneath).

14th century bust 
"Braveheart" (1995)

As you can see, the influence is very clear on this one. In Padme's design, they chose to use a golden hair net to keep the buns in place, which helps to focus the attention of the hairstyle on them. But there's more to it. With the medieval crispinette there was never any loose hair strand, it was all bundled under the net. This is not the case with Padme's hairstyle. She has a lot of hair which is only loosely kept together by a few ribbons so it cascades onto her shoulders. It is here where we see the Renaissance influence.

Detail from "The birth of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli (c.1486)

Most of the Italian Renaissance hairstyles (especially in pictorial representations) consist of loose wavy hair, either loosely braided or merely held together by ribbons.

"Venus and Mars" by Sandro Botticelli (1483)

So, while the side buns are clearly a medieval influence, the overall look of the hair comes from Renaissance paintings.

Still, there might be another influence thrown into the mix: the design of the character "Ozma" from the Oz series by L. Frank Baum. She's always portrayed in a very similar manner: two red flowers on each side of her head, a golden headband across her forehead and wavy, lush hair cascading down her shoulders.

Original illustration from
L. Frank Baum's works
Original illustration from
L. Frank Baum's works

Padme's design is undoubtedly reminiscent of her look with both the headband and lush hair.

Again, a clean face finishes of her look for this specific design. This is a very lush and romantic look for the character, maybe a tad too romantic. The design takes from certain art forms that are already romanticizing history. So, what it's really doing is romanticizing an already romanticized version of history, therefore it doesn't quite fit in with the already established look for the character which is, generally very grounded on historical influences, feeling real. This dress doesn't look real, it looks like it's out of a dream. And I know that she's supposed to look like a dream fro Anakin, but it might have been a tad too much what they did.

To see full scale:

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


Popular posts from this blog

A look into Star Wars: Padme's Dresses. Annex A

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, the size of Padme's wardrobe is leaning towards big. One might even say gigantic. Because of this, we are forced to choose which ones we review and which ones we don't. Otherwise, we would still be reviewing the costumes from Episode I. Thanks to this selection process, right now, in our Padme series' we are reviewing costumes already from Revenge of the Sith. But lately, we've been thinking a lot about those designs that got "lost in the selection", as we call them.
WHY WEREN'T THESE SELECTED? Generally, those that we did not select for our series were considered "not interesting enough". But what does that mean? Well, it means two things; either they pulled from the exact same influences as any of the dresses we had already addressed (which would make for a very repetitive article) or were considered too simple and basic to talk about them at length.
And then, of course, were those that we simply did …

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 suspens…

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…

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

I’ve decided to start this blog by dedicating the first posts to the designs of Padme Amidala’s dresses in the first three episodes of Star Wars. Although  I’m not particularly fond of these movies, I have to give some credit to their wardrobe design and the thought and creativity that went into it. 
We will look into the most iconic dresses of Padme Amidala and do a breakdown of the influences behind them. Each post will be dedicated to one of these dresses.
The first one of these series is the one I like to call the “Red Invasion” gown. It’s featured the first time we see Natalie Portman’s character in The Phantom Menace, and it’s probably one of the most iconic gowns she has.

This gown is made of embroidered silk and faux fur that lines the double collar, tabards, double sleeves and hem. The alien-like touch is given to the dress by the electric lights placed on the skirt, that are made to resemble ladybugs.
The head piece that accompanies this dress is also pretty iconic in and on it…

A look into Star Wars: Padme's dresses. Part X

The last design from Episode II which we are going to be covering is the wedding gown, which happens to be the literal last outfit worn by the character in the movie.

She wears this dress in the final scene of Episode II, during her wedding with Anakin. It's a brief scene, but somehow people really remember this gown.
The design consists of an intricate gown made of lace and beads that goes with a lace veil. The gown is long and flowing, and has a small tail. The white fabric is decorated with an off-white delicate embroidery. The sleeves reach her elbows and are hemmed with scalloped lace. The entire gown is studded with pearls.

This gown takes from various historical sources, most of them pertaining to the early 20th century. The basic one with which it work are Edwardian fashion (1901-1911) and the 1920's.
The basic structure, with the gown and the laced overdress, is clearly taken from late Edwardian fashion.

These dresses (dated 1912) are quite similar to Padme's gow…