Skip to main content

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

This is the last Senate design for Episode II; the "velvet Senate" gown, and it's one of the most over the top designs. It's big, lavish and extravagant; it's the ultimate Senate gown. And yet, it's not even in the movie.

She wears this gown during her address to the Galactic Senate after the attempt on her life. Unfortunately, this dress was cut from the final edit of the movie (you can see the scene in the DVD special editions), which is a sad fact waste of a gorgeous design.

The design consist of a golden underdress with a dark blue velvet overdress that has the lapel and collar turned up. Attached to both sides of the collar, under the lapels, rests a glossy, crimped scarf-like shawl that is tied together at her mid-back with a large, beaded ribbon. The ends drift apart as they fall down.

The full sleeves end at the elbow, giving way to a drawn-up sleeve of lustrous fabric. The gold underdress is decorated with needlework around the high collar, which is also decorated with beads. The overdress is embellished with large Naboo designs along the inner hem in a light yellow thread.

As all of the Senate designs, this one takes mainly from a myriad of European influences, mainly focused on the period between the 16th century and the 17th century.

Portrait dating ca. 1587

The basic structure of the dress (dress and overdress) is, again, taken from Elizabethan fashion (second half of the 16th century). The big, rigid forms and heavy fabrics are clearly taken from this period.

Elizabeth succession allegory (1572)

The dress shown above is particularly similar to Padme's design, especially the turned-up collar and the high neck (even though Padme is not wearing a ruffle).

But the design of the gown also borrows from Jacobean fashion (ca.1630) for several key elements.

Princess Henrietta Maria of France,
Queen consort of England

(Antoon van Dyck,1632)

The huge puffy sleeves were common in Elizabethan fashion, but they were always full-length sleeves. In Padme's design, the puffy sleeves end just below the elbow. Just like in the 1630's English fashion. But they share more than the length; Jacobean sleeves are made of a lighter fabric, softer, allowing them to have more volume. Just like Padme's.

But that's not the only element taken from the Jacobean period. Around the early 1600s, we find another fashion trend going on; open-front jackets or gowns that reveal brightly colored brocade stomachers.

Isabella Brant, portrait by Paul Rubens

Note how this historical fashion is highly reminiscent of Padme's design. From the color to the shape itself. The main difference is that Padme's design does not use a stomacher but a real dress. Still, the effect is quite similar.

But the patterns in the fabric of the golden dress are less 17th century and much more late 19th century/early 20th century. Look at this texture:

The first influence that comes to me is the golden hues used by Klimt in his works. After all, this would not be the first design for Padme to use his work as a relevant influence (look at this design).

The embroidered high-neck also feels much more modern. It actually resembles the late-Victorian and Edwardian laced high-necks.

Wedding dress, Barcelona (1900)

Look closely at the laced neck.

Wedding dress, Barcelona (1900). DETAIL

The patterns and feel of this are pretty reminiscent of Padme's design undoubtedly. Yes, her dress is shinier (the embroidery happens to include beads), and a bit more "Goth"-like, but the base concept is more than similar.

The hair design consists of an intricate upside-down dual-fan shape, with a half-crescent bun in the back. This is decorated by a small jeweled diadem at the front.

This style is very reminiscent of the styles of Episode I, and, therefore, are much closer to the Queen look than to the Senate look. This is because it is mainly inspired by the Japanese culture, taking certain elements of the samurai look and mixing them with certain elements of the Geisha look.

First of all, the bun at the top of her head is certainly reminiscent of the traditional Samurai bun. Of course, hers is bigger and more feminine, but it's still a call back to that iconic Samurai look.

And the upside-down dual-fan shape is clearly a more extravagant and alien versión of the Geisha hairstyle.

The shapes of the hairstyle are much more angular and hard, more aggressive in a way. Less kind. I guess this was done in order to create a contrast with the more rounder, softer shapes of the first movie, as a way to show that she's not a girl anymore.

To me, this design feels like it belongs in Episode I, more than it does in Episode II; probably because of the larger, rounder shapes and the overall extravagance, which set a stark contrast with the simpler, more elegant shapes of Episode II.

But because of this, I feel that this is the route the designs should have taken. This design manages to be different from the one in the previous movie but still feels cohesive with it. it feels like it belongs in the same world, which is more than I can say for the many of the other designs. It's a real shame that this was the design that had to be cut out.

And on the more practical side, it's definitely a waste of talent and resources;  having to create such a lavish dress only for it to be removed from the final editing.

To see full scale:

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


If you enjoyed this article and would like to support the blog, 
consider buying me a Coffee? 💛💛

If you want more content like this, subscribe! Or come say hi on FacebookTumblrTwitterInstagram and help us grow!

DISCLAIMER: I claim no credit for images featured on this site unless noted. Visual content is copyrighted to its respective owners, and inclusion here is under fair use for criticism, comment, and news reporting purposes. If you own the rights to content here and wish it removed, please contact me.


  1. I'd be curious to know if this dress from 1895 had any influence on this Amidala costume because the similarities are pretty striking:

    1. Hi! Sorry it took me so long to respond, I was working and didn't see it before.
      As for what you ask, I can't say for sure. All these articles are what I like to call "informed speculation". I basically write about the influences I see. That doesn't mean that the designer had those precise influences in mind or that he had some other that I might be leaving out. I wish I could actually interview her and ask, but in the meanwhile, I have fun speculating.
      Overall, I don't see much of the 1890s in the dress, basically because big sleeves have been fashionable at many points in fashion history, and I feel like the overall dress is too heavy to be reminiscent of the 1890s.
      With that said, it is reminiscent of the specific dress that you sent. I think it's the combination of the big sleeves and similar color palette. So, yes, well spotted! That specific dress could perfectly have been an influence for the dress.
      Thank you for your comment and for finding said similarity!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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, my 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?

Disney's Cinderella(s) and the evolution of the "princess" aesthetics

Every girl, at some point in life, has wanted to be a princess. It has become undeniable that the concept of the "princess" is, for better or worst, inseparable from girlhood. We live in a "princesses" obsessed era, and we have for a long time now. And a lot has been said about it, with loud people yelling over the internet about the positive and negative aspects of it. So it was about time for me to join the yelling contest, I guess. If I'm going to talk about princesses, the logical place to go is to the Global Mogul Conglomerate that has led the trend and, in many ways, defined it: Disney. They have, undeniably, redefined the fairytale and have turned the term "princess" into a best selling Licensed Entertainment Character Merchandise. The thing is, even though princesses have been part of the fairy tale canon for a very long time, they didn't become the central figure until Walt Disney placed them there. In the tales that the G

Historic Accuracy in Costume Design: The 16th century

I've never been a purist with historical accuracy as long as the changes made have real reasoning behind (generally a narrative or symbolic one). I will always think that La reine Margot (1994) costume design is one of the most gorgeous and smart designs ever, even if said designs' main premise is to purposely bend the period in regards to costume. But there are certain things that bother me in regards to historical accuracy in costume which I realized when I found myself constantly irritated while watching The other Boleyn Girl (2008). This led me to post a question: when is it right to bend history? why is it interesting sometimes? whilst other times it's simply horrendous? To me, when these changes are made for the narrative's sake, I'm usually on board (like the 2012's "Anna Karenina" designs, which mixed the 1870's fashion with 1950's fashion in order to enhance the sense of theatricality and falsehood in Imperial Russia). But wh

Crimson Peak: Dressing Edith Cushing. The Butterfly

"Beautiful things are fragile" - Lucille Sharpe - Opposite Lucille stands our main character in the movie: Edith Cushing, a young and naive American with ambitions to become a writer. She meets and falls in love with a handsome and charming, but impoverished, English baronet: Sir Thomas Sharpe. They eventually marry and return to England, to the Sharpe's dilapidated mansion: Allerdale Hall. There they live with Thomas's sister: Lucille. The deadly apparitions that haunt the house will force Edith to slowly uncover the buried secrets of Crimson Peak. And so, Edith is to become a fragile butterfly caught in a moth's trap. PART II: THE BUTTERFLY Edith has considerably more frocks and gowns than Lucille does. It's only logical. Edith is our protagonist and, as such, has a bigger emotional arc throughout the movie, and she undergoes bigger changes. These are, in part, expressed through the costumes she wears and how these change throughout the mo

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

Love her or hate her, Padme and her costumes can never be far from our minds. They are too iconic, and probably one of the few memorable aspects of the prequels, so it's really fun to talk about them. And so, I've decided to continue what I started and focus on the costumes I left behind from Episode II . So let's dive back into it! A BRIEF REMINDER What are the Annexes? Well, the Annexes focus on all the costumes that were "left behind" in my selection of Padme Costumes for the A look into Star Wars: Padme's Dresses series. Here, I point out influences, likes, and dislikes, and anything that might feel relevant whilst digging into the gigantic wardrobe of this Galactic Queen. With this out of the way, let's go! ANNEX B: THE ATTACK OF THE CLONES Episode II: The Attack of the Clones brings the character and her designs to a completely different level; she is not a queen anymore, which unfortunately means that she no longer has amazingly weird an

Crimson Peak: Dressing Lady Lucille Sharpe. The Moth

"At home, we have only black moths. Formidable creatures, to be sure, but they lack beauty. They thrive on the dark and the cold." - Lucille Sharpe - CRIMSON PEAK is Guillermo del Toro's new film. Released this past October, the movie is written by del Toro himself and Mathew Robbins (who has also collaborated with the likes of Spielberg and Lucas throughout his career). The movie aims to be a gothic romance movie through and through, and it stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. The story goes as follows: Edith Cushing, a young budding American author, meets and falls in love with a handsome and charming but impoverished English baronet: Sir Thomas Sharpe. They eventually marry and return to England, to the Sharpe's dilapidated mansion: Allerdale Hall. There they live with Thomas's sister: Lucille. The deadly apparitions that haunt the house will force Edith to slowly uncover the buried secrets of Crimson Peak. In the movie

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 The Great Gatsby ); 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, vivid use of flashy colors and sparkle and stories a

Marie Antoinette: Working with an historical basis

A couple of months ago, I talked extensively about the narrative aspect of the designs for 2006's  Marie Antoinette (see here ). But that's only one half of the story. This movie is, after all, a period piece, so let's have a look at how they translated that period into the costumes. MARIE ANTOINETTE : WORKING WITH AN HISTORICAL BASIS Period accurate pieces are actually the hardest to get by; that is because clothing in past centuries was way more complex and expensive than our 21st century standards. Because of this, most costume designers end up being constricted by their allotted budgets and have to make compromises with accuracy. This was not the case with this movie. Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette had a rather large budget, which allowed renowned designer Milena Canonero the freedom to create period-accurate pieces (the inaccuracies were only added for narrative purposes, not budget constrictions). Because of this, Canonero decided to work off

The Costume Vault Anniversary!

Good day, beautiful readers!! First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Today is a very special day for me, here at The Costume Vault . It's our anniversary!!! We're celebrating our third anniversary! Though to be honest, I didn't actually start this project seriously until last year... So, I'm a three-year-old, with the experience of a one-year-old...? Oh, who cares. Today, three years ago, I published our first article ever. So, today is a day of celebration. This project started out of a deep love for movies and costuming and a need to share that. And also boredom... I had quite the free time back then, to be honest. But the project took off, and now I continue even when I don't have as much free time. But it's worth it because I get to share my love for movies and costuming with you. To this day, I've written sixty articles, most of which I am quite proud of indeed. And what's even better, you seem to enjoy reading

The Dressmaker. Part I: A glamorous outsider

2015's The Dressmaker is the wet dream of any costume lover in all of its 120 minutes of runtime. The Aussie film directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse is the adaptation of the Rosalie Ham's homonymous novel. After quite an impressive run in the Festival Circuit (it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival) and garnishing numerous nominations and wins worldwide, it finally got a theatrical release, becoming a box office success and the 11th highest-grossing film of all time in its home country. So there certainly was a lot of hype around it when I finally got to see it and had a lot of expectations to live up to. ABOUT THE MOVIE So, is the movie actually that good? ... Sort of? Well, it's complicated. That's my official review tagline: it's complicated . The thing is; the movie has a ton of problems of all sorts. A lot of it doesn't work, but what does work, works really well. Let's start with the negatives. First of all, the movie is a t