Skip to main content

Star Wars The Force Awaken: The Fallen Pupil

The most challenging design for the movie was, undoubtedly, the design of the villain: Kylo Ren. Villains, in general, are hard in this type of movies, because they need to be threatening and iconic but not too over the top. It's really a fine and delicate balance. But in this case, it was even harder, because it had to live up to Darth Vader, arguably, the most iconic baddie ever.


All in all, I think they did a really good job in the design of the character. The biggest risk they had was making him look too much like Darth Vader and turning him into a cheap knock off. But, luckily, that wasn't the case.

KYLO REN: THE FALLEN PUPIL

Talking about his design without including spoilers is pretty difficult. Basically, because the reasons behind the design are completely intertwined with his character and who he is. So.... SPOILERS AHEAD.

SPOILERS AHEAD
CONTINUE READING AT YOUR OWN RISK
------------------------



Kylo Ren is a Dark Side user working for the First Order. He used to be a pupil of Luke Skywalker until he turned to the Dark Side and destroyed the Rebuilt Jedi Temple. He also happens to be Ben Solo, Han and Leia's son and Luke's nephew. And, of course, Darth Vader's grandchild.

He is very young, More a teenager than a full-grown man.

Why is that so important? Because he is a wannabe. A fanboy. He adores his grandfather, even praying to him as if he were a God. That idea is clearly reflected in his costume.


The costume consists of dark, heavy, black robes held together by a metallic belt a ragged hood and a robotic mask. He is clearly trying to emulate the look of Vader. There's no discussion there.


The character is running away from his identity, claiming a new one centered around the dark side. That's why every single human aspect is completely covered: note how he doesn't even have his hands uncovered.

The purpose of the design created by Kylo Ren is as much to appear intimidating and inhuman as is to boost his confidence.

What sets him apart from Vader (both in character and in design) is his humanity. Darth Vader had been robotic for so long that he was barely human. Kylo only tries to appear his robotic (deep down he is fully human and pretty conflicted with his own humanity). This is shown through the materials used; textile elements are more prominent in Kylo's design that they ever were in Vader's suit. And the metallic elements are scarce, and only found in the elements he wears to create this new identity: the mask.


Vader was more machine than man. Kylo Ren is a child. And though not at first glance, the design manages to transmit that, especially when he has the mask off. It's on those occasions where the roughness of the costume manages to create a wonderful contrast with his fresh young face.

Another important element for the design is the structure of the costume itself, which doesn't resemble that of Vader's suit. Instead, it takes its main form from the traditional Jedi robes. This simple element helps to create a visual link with his background and it underlines his connection to the New Jedi Order.


He never knew Darth Vader, but he knew Luke and the Jedi. He, himself, was trained as one. The so-called Knights of Ren are Ben's own interpretation of the Dark Side and what it should be. And so is the costume.


All those elements build up to a really well-thought design that has a lot of chances of becoming iconic in and on itself. A lot of character-related elements are worked into the suit, subtle but still there, which makes the costume unique.

Yes, it's reminiscent of Vader, but it's very distinct at the same time.


This movie was, all in all, a welcome return to the feel of the original trilogy and I cannot wait to see where they take these new characters (both story-wise and design-wise).

And so, with Kylo's design, I bring to an end this brief series of articles about Episode VII. I hope that you've enjoyed it, and I promise that towards mid-January I will go back to writing long fleshed-out articles.

Happy New Year!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

Comments

  1. Hi! I was looking for victorian nightgowns inspiration and found your crimson peak analysis. And let me tell you: I have fallen in love with you blog lol. I've always had a big love for star wars and your padme's analysis was also on point! Btw would you consider analysing the last jedi? Ben Solo and mostly Rey (if I'm being honest) new costumes have always intrigued me and I'd love to see your approach on them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! This makes my day, absolutely. I'm so glad you enjoy the articles! As for analysing The Last Jedi, I had not actually considered doing so, but it is true that there is a lot to unpack there. I briefly wrote about it in my Top 10 Costume Designs of the Decade articles, but it would be fun to write about it in more detail. Thanks for the idea!

      Delete

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