Skip to main content

Star Wars The Force Awakens: The Scavenger

I cannot even begin to describe how much I liked The Force Awakens. I though it was well written, well directed, and very well acted; the younger actors really surprised me (Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver are really good as their respective characters) and the original cast did a really good job with Han, Leia and Luke.

All in all, what made me love this movie (really love it) were the characters themselves. These are great characters. And what is a great character without a great design?


The costumes for the movie were designed by Michael Kaplan, an American designer, also known for his work in movies such as: Blade Runner (1982), Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999), Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013).

And the best aspect of his designs, for me, is the coherence with the Star Wars original trilogy (1977-1983). They really feel like they belong in the same universe and feel real and organic in the larger picture (something the prequels never really achieved).

But instead of doing a general assessment of the costumes, I'm going to analyze them separately, starting a new Star Wars series for this blog (do not worry, I will finish the Padme series as well). And we will start with my favorite character of the movie: Rey.

REY: THE SCAVENGER

Without entering into spoiler territory (which I will avoid as much as possible), Rey is a Scavenger in the junkyard planet of Jakku and she makes a living out of finding old pieces of ships and selling them in exchange for food.


The costume consists of a cotton light brown jersey, a half-length trousers and wool and leather boots. On top of these, she wears a long scarf draped over her torso that is tied around with a leather belt. The look is finished by the cotton cloth wrapped around her arms.

This is her main costume throughout the whole the movie (which makes sense because she's constantly on the run) and the first thing you notice is how practical it seems.

Here you have a character who is really poor and has a very physical job, so it really makes sense that her design would be first and foremost practical; it allows her to run, and move completely free.


This that sounds so incredibly logical is very uncommon in movies. Most female characters are primarily dressed to look good and feminine, not comfortable. Especially in fantasy media, most female characters are always designed to show a lot of flesh, without taking into account how unpractical and unsafe it is.

Credit where it's due: image taken from here
And so, the costume is, basically, utilitarian. The arm wrappers are there to avoid scratches and such accidents when scavenging, the half-length trousers also are so to avoid accidents (much the same way that bikers tie the ends of their trousers when riding).

This is a major change (and a welcome one at that) in regards to the design choices of the 2000's prequels, and to many fantasy-adventure movies.


The design also includes a scarf wrapped around her head that she uses to cover her hair and her face when she's out in the desert. She also has a protective goggles to keep the sand out of her eyes.


This is very clever. Anyone out in the desert would definitely need one of this to survive out there.

Her hair design is also very nice (and I'm sure it will become iconic) and it follows the same rule as the rest of her design: be practical.

Here you can see my take on the hairstyle

This is the only picture I've found where you can actually see it. It's a three-bun hairstyle that keeps all of her hair out of the way. Which really makes sense when thinking about what her job is.

The fact that her hair is out of her face is something that I really like seeing, especially in a world where most female characters have to look pretty and therefore always wear their hair loose.


I also like the fact that it has the same feel that Leia's styles had in the original trilogy; alien, but never too alien, like you could actually wear it in public (which is true for all of Leia's hairstyles except the New Hope buns).

The main directive for the design is that it be practical, utilitarian; and it is. So it really achieves what it wants.

Also, it's sort of based on the type of clothes worn in desert cultures. But, unlike Amidala's designs, I thing this design was much more inspired by the costumes in the original trilogy than it is in any real historical fashion or culture.


To me, Luke's costume in A New Hope is a big starting point for Rey's design, and it gives this look a sense of continuity and coherence with the previous movies. This is actually very welcome, because it makes the movie feel like it's really in the same universe than the original movies.

This continuity is also a thematic threat in the movie, so it's great to see it there, in the costumes also.


This is, all in all, a very clever design that knows clearly what it needs to be and it really takes into account the character that is going to wear it (what does she work in, who is she, does she care about looks? and all those pesky questions a designer should make himself).

All these help define Rey in a very visual way and definitely help make her one of my favorite characters to date in the Star Wars universe.

Comments

  1. Even though I hate Rey, her costume looked very great and different.

    ReplyDelete

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, 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…

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 us to join the yelling contest, I guess.
If we're 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 Grimm Brothers…

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 us, here at The Costume Vault. It's our anniversary!!! We're celebrating our third anniversary! Though to be honest, we didn't actually start this project seriously until last year... So, we're a three year old, with the experience of a one year old...? Oh, who cares. Today, three years ago, we 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.... we had quite the free time back then, to be honest. But the project took off, and now we continue even when we don't have as much free time. But it's worth it, because we get to share our love for movies and costuming with you.
To this day, we've written sixty articles, most of which we are quite proud indeed. And what's even better, you seem to enjoy reading them…

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 we 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 our 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 tonal shipwrec…

Remembering Janet Patterson

This past October, Costume Designer Janet Patterson, passed away. The four-time Oscar Nominee passing was somehow quite unexpected and very much ignored by much of the mainstream media, which is such an incredible shameful thing on their part.
As a 19th century specialist, her work is rather brief (restraining itself to movie focused on that period of time). But that makes it no less impressive as it is, as it includes such costume design masterpieces as ThePiano (Jane Campion, 1993), The Portrait of a Lady (Jane Campion, 1996), " Oscar and Lucinda (Gillian Armstrong, 1997), Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009) and Far from the madding crowd (Thomas Vinterberg, 2015), which we actually included in our Favorite Costume Designs of 2015 list (read here).
What all of her movies share, and in great part thanks to her, is an incredible sense of realism and sensibility. And, because of it, her work has become one of the best examples that accurate historical costume does not detract from th…