Skip to main content

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

The same way that Padme's character becomes less and less relevant as the prequels progress, so do the designs. That's why most of the designs of Episode III are hardly remembered. The most iconic costumes of the characters, those that everyone remembers, are from the first two prequels.

That doesn't mean that there aren't good designs in "Revenge on the Sith", because there are. The main problem is that her pregnancy, and the fact that she needs to hide it, places such limitations on the designs, that most of them end being too similar and not very interesting.

Still, I'm going to continue this series of articles about the real historical influences behind the costume designs of Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequels with a few designs from "Revenge of the Sith". The first of these designs we will be breaking down will be the "Peacock Dress".


Padme was supposed to wear this somber dress during a meeting with Chancellor Palpatine. Unfortunately the scene was cut from the movie and this dress was never seen on screen. Is it logic to start reviewing the costumes from Episode III with a dress that wasn't even in the movie? Probably not, but it's definitely the most interesting design for me... this is demonstrated by the fact that this is the outfit she actually sports on the official poster.

The gown consists of a glossy turquoise pleated dress, shaped like an upside-down cone and with a high collar. The puff sleeves are drawn at the lower arm and have beads dangling from the cuff. Over this dress she wears a long, brown, layered coat that is somewhat triangular from the front and has a cape that goes over her arms. Small tassels hung off each ending of the coat, which is decorated in its entirety in scrollwork done in ribbon. 


This design takes from both European sources and African sources, the same way that Episode II did, which gives the whole look a very striking continuity with the last movie.

But, despite maintaining the European influence, this time it takes from an unusual time period. It did not find inspiration in the 16th century, nor in the 19th or 20th; but in the French 18th century. Particularly from the so-called Robe Battante.


This type of robe was a large, seemingly loose-fitting, draped gown similar to the Robe a la Française, but much less structured. Because of that loose-fitting shape, it's the perfect clothing shape to disguise a pregnancy. Which makes the choice of using said shape for Padme's design absolutely logical.


From the shape, to the width of the dress, it is a clear reminiscence to Padme's costume. But it's not the only influence.

This design, also takes from various maternity European fashions through history. Particularly, from Victorian maternity fashion.

1850's maternity dress

The mid-19th century maternity fashion was all about not putting emphasis on the baby bump, and so, it's also a really good place to work with for Padme's design.

But what gives the dress a sense of familiarity and continuity is the inclusion of early 20th century elements, which has been recurrent during most of the designs of Episode II. In this particular case, this is found in the shape and consistency of the sleeves.


Those sleeves are very similar to this:


And both are inspired in the early 20th century female shirt sleeves, such as this:


As for the coat, the designer chose to use the 16th century and early 17th century characteristic heavy embroidery.


The type of embroidery used for Padme's coat is very heavy and cluttered and very sumptuous, which makes it very reminiscent of  Elizabethan fashion:

1570's Elizabethan Fashion (detail)

The main difference is the type of patterns that are used, which, as in many of Padme's designs; are taken from Art Noveau, not Elizabethan fashion.


Despite all this, the most iconic and memorable element in the design is the headdress; as is often the case with the most well-remembered Amidala looks. In this case, the headdress consists of a unique, rectangular shaped, metal decoration with an in-facing scalloped front. Centered on her forehead, is placed a coppery metal decorated with serpentine swirls. Her hair is done in a myriad of tight ringlets resembling strings of beads.


The influences behind this look are easily discernable, even at first glance. Both the hairstyle and the headdress are heavily influenced by Ancient Egyptian female fashion.


Padme's headdress is clearly reminiscent of the Isis crown depicted in the picture above. Sure, they changed the shape and gave it a more alien-feel to it, but the basic idea is the same. This is shown even more clearly on the original concept art drawings for this dress.


The hair, as well is taken from Egyptian fashion; from the use of an ornamental wig decorated with jewelry to the use of dreadlocks in it, the hair Padme wears is heavily influenced by the iconic Ancient Egyptian wig.

All in all, this is a gorgeous design that manages to be very recognizable as something Padme would wear, and still be different than anything she's worn before. And it's an absolute shame that, in the end, the dress never made it to the final cut of the movie.

To see full scale:
https://www.pinterest.com/alba0531/a-look-into-star-wars-padmes-dresses/

I don't really know how many more of Padme's costumes will I do, but, worry not, this will not be the last article dedicated to her majestic costumes.

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

Comments

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…