It's been a while, but I always come back to her in the end. Padmé Amidala, from the Star Wars Prequels, is a Style Icon and my personal standout from the mess that Episode I to III ended up being. Because of it, I've decided it was time to finish what I started so long ago and finally address Episode III. It took me long enough.
So let's dive back into it for one last chance to love, hate, snark and bark at the astonishing monstrosity that is Padmé's Wardrobe!
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 C: REVENGE OF THE SITH
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith brings the prequel trilogy to a close and, very unfortunately, pushes Padmé out of the spotlight completely by relegating her to the background of the story as a worried wife and mother-to-be. This, even more unfortunately, means she doesn't get to have as many costumes and the ones she does get are much less memorable than her usual standard. Such an absolute shame!
C1. THE VELVET CLOAK
This is the ensemble she wears when she meets Anakin after his mission to rescue the Supreme Chancellor. It's a relatively brief scene, if rather important, as it is when she chooses to tell him that she's pregnant.
Here she appears with a simple purple dress almost completely covered by a rich, voluminous, dark purple robe that enfolds her completely. The underside of the cloak is decorated with a spotted pattern. And there's my first reason to leave it out in the first place: all we get to see of the look is a huge cloak.
Narratively, it makes a lot of sense, as she's trying to disguise a pregnancy. Big heavy clothes will certainly do that. But influence wise, there's hardly anything to mention, because all we can see of this gown is the cloak which is so huge and heavy, that I can not see the dress beneath, so I have no idea what she has beneath it.
The cloak itself reminds me of Anglo-Saxon fashion (pre-Norman Conquest), but there are so many cultures through so many periods that have used cloaks, that it could actually have been influenced by another period/culture and it would be hard for me to pinpoint.
Honestly, in this look, the only standout for me is the hairstyle, which consists of an elaborate twin-bun hairstyle that is highly reminiscent of the Classic Leia Buns.
And like the Classic Leia Buns, it is basically inspired by (if not directly lifted from) the traditional "Squash Blossom" Style of the Hopi Women in North America.
And that's about it as far as references and influences go.
In the end, as you can see, there simply isn't much to talk about regarding this look, and that was reason enough to not warrant a full article for itself.
C2. THE SILK NIGHTDRESS
The proliferation of nightgowns that started in Episode II continues in Episode III as Padme, in turn, continues to be nothing more than a love interest in the plot. This silk nightdress is worn by her early on in the story in a rather infamous scene in which they declare their mutual love. It is also worn in the following scene, where Anakin reveals to her his recurrent nightmare about her death.
This look consists of a light blue, almost lavender silk nightdress. It's a low-cut neckline held up by several ribbon straps. Out of an embossed metal pendant at the center of the top hem are attached three strings of pearls on each side that wrap around her arms. The back of her nightdress is folded in a decorative fan-styled pattern, held in place by several silver clasps. She wears her hair down with a small hair clip on top.
I honestly don't see many interesting influences beyond modern sexy nightdresses. Maybe there's some Ancient greek influence there, but it's very vague. As for the hair, it's completely modern. There's nothing for me to say.
In this case, it seemed logical at the time when I was choosing which costumes to cover just to skip this one. There's virtually nothing to talk about.
C3. THE BURGUNDY VELVET GOWN
She wears this design in a rather brief scene with Anakin in which they discuss politics at home. He's confused in general, and she's smarter than anyone else in the film and they are stupidly in love. And that's the scene.
It makes no sense that she's wearing this for a very private scene inside her house. So I wasn't actually surprised when I found out that this dress was originally meant for a deleted scene in which she's in a political meeting with other senators. My guess is that that scene happened right before or right after the scene with Anakin, so it made sense that she'd either dressed to go out or just came back.
This is a three-layered gown. First, there's a studded underdress (we only see the neckline and the sleeve cuffs of it), then there's a dark Maroon overdress (we only see the sleeves), and on top, there's a heavy, iridescent purple cape decorated with swirling designs with a full-shoulder pauldron and open slits for her arms to come out.
The hair is done in a very intricate style: she has small buns on each side and a small loop of hair beneath each of them. The rest of her hair is braided with a silver strip of fabric braided in with it. An umber, jewel-studded headband completes the hairstyle.
At this point, the main goal of the design, narratively, is to conceal her pregnancy. So most of the designs for Episode III sort of blend together into the category of huge, heavy outfits for me. The heavy layering in all these outfits also makes it really hard to decipher and decode the outfits' influences, because you can barely see the outfit, you only get to see the outer coat, which covers everything else. This was one of the main reasons (if not the main reason) why I only covered two designs from Episode III in the main series.
Still, I see some interesting influences here and there. For instance, the coat with the pauldron feels like a mix between early victorian coats and late victorian coats.
The arm slit and the heavy coat reminds me a lot about certain Renaissance coats. The one pictured below is Italian and dates from 1502.
But the general weight and feel of the outfit, as well as the arm slit, sort of reminds me of mid to late 16th Century Spanish Fashion.
All in all, these are my main guesses for the influences. But I might actually be wrong because it's hard to see the details of the design.
This was the other reason I left this design out from the main series. Nobody wants to read about my blind guesses, to be honest.
C4. THE BEADED DRESS
Padmé wears this gown for another private scene with Anakin in which he confides in her about the Council not trusting him and she tries to convince him otherwise. He also promises that he won't let his nightmares about her dying become a reality.
At least this one feels a bit more like something you'd wear to be around the house.
The design is made of navy blue linen and accented by a beaded black necklace and an elaborate jet belt. The belt, however, does not encircle Padmé's waist but decorates the front of the gown only. The look is finished by a black lace shawl.
Her hair is styled in a rather simple fashion: curly hair with just the front pinned back to keep it out of the face.
This whole look feels weirdly and extremely modern and, for lack of a better world, "real". Like, my first thought was that it looked a lot like something a poor early 20th century housewive would wear (if you ignore the heavy jewelry).
I genuinely doubt (as in I don't truly believe) they had this as an influence in mind, but it's where my brain goes when I see this look. And it feels like a weird styling choice for this particular character.
Jokes aside, the design does feel a lot like very late victorian to me because of the severity of the outfit, but also the neckline.
As for the hair, it's almost remarkable just how unremarkable it is and how little there is to say about it.
All in all, this look was left out of the main series because it felt like it would be a rather short and boring analysis, and nobody has time for that.
C5. THE AQUA NIGHTGOWN
She wears yet another nightgown on the night of the Raid of the Jedi Temple as she waits for Anakin to come home without knowing what is going on. Later on, still not knowing the full truth, she says her goodbyes to him as he goes on a mission for the Chancellor with this same outfit.
The design consists of a soft, flowing nightgown accented by embroidered Naboo designs, tiny shells and a waterfall drapery flowing off the shoulders in the back. The front of the gown parts into a slit, revealing an inner layer of light blue silk satin. There are also gloves that start at her wrist and up to her upper arm, the bottom of which is decorated with embroidery, shells and pearls.
The headdress is a silver alloy inset with aquamarine-colored stones that she wears with her hair down.
I honestly don't know what to say about it. It's a gorgeous nightgown, for sure, but... if you looked at a promo picture not knowing this was from Star Wars, would you say it belongs in Star Wars?
The overall design feels extremely modern and, as for influences, all that I can pinpoint is the embroidery, which is clearly inspired by Art Nouveau design, which is fitting for the character, as it has been a constant influence since Episode II.
And then there's the hair, which is so influenced by the 90s that it's baffling. Like I wouldn't even call it an influence, but a direct carbon copy.
Even going beyond my hate of the sexy nightgown trope, I simply have little to say about it. This, coupled with the fact that it doesn't feel like it belongs in Star Wars ended up making my mind about leaving it out of the main series.
C6. THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY GOWN
This stunning design is worn during the final Senate Appearance of Padmé, where the Chancellor announces that the Republic will become an Empire (and therefore, he'll become Emperor) and where the one good line of dialogue in the whole prequels is uttered by Padmé herself: "So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause". Quite relevant to the times we are living.
This design consists of a long, heavy, purple embroidered underdress with a heavy velvet overdress in a lighter hue of purple, puff sleeves and a high collar. On top of that, she has a darker purple pauldron that clasps at the front and attaches to a front panel of the fabric of the same hue that reaches the floor. The final touch is brought by a lighter purple scarf that goes around her shoulders, clasps at the front with the pauldron and falls down her front to the floor.
As for the hairstyle, she wears it sternly pulled back into a bun and decorated with a silver hairpiece resembling two wings that fold to create a circle.
This, influence wise, is a bit hard to read. Basically because in the movie, you only see her in a close-up shot, so you barely glance at the whole ensemble, and this promo pictures, are very contrasted and I can't really read the details that well. Which was a deciding factor in leaving it out of the main series: I can't analyze it if I can't fully see it.
And it is a shame because what I can see is spectacular. It's regal, extravagant, fits the character, and it sort of recuperates a certain Asian flair that we haven't seen in the character for a long time.
From the general shape to the layering, to the weight and theatricality, this design is very reminiscent of the Wonsam, a traditional Korean Garment.
Even though the sleeves feel more Victorian than Korean. Same as the pauldron, that seems to take a lot from the aesthetics of the Inverness Cape.
As for the hairstyle, it's very simple, yet works really well. The silver hairpiece, clearly reminiscent of a Religious figure's holy crown, creates a striking image.
It's a shame because such a gorgeous design was barely captured on screen and robbed me of the opportunity of getting to fully appreciate it in motion.
C7. THE REVELATION ENSEMBLE
She wears this design when Obi-Wan goes to visit her to get information about Anakin's whereabouts and ends up revealing to her that he has turned to the Dark Side.
This ensemble consists of a glossy purple dress decorated with swirling embroidered motifs and a fluffy, dark blue robe clasped with two beaded tassels. On her shoulders and sleeves, the coat is decorated with an embroidered trim.
Her hair is rolled along the side of her head and into a sort of ponytail at the back, held with three wide, embossed, silver band at intervals down the length of her hair. On top of this, she wears a headpiece that consists of four metal headbands twisted together.
Design-wise, I personally love the aesthetic of this. Narratively, it's a bit wonky. The fact that the design doesn't hide her pregnancy, points out to the fact that this is homeware, and that she was not expecting company. And we've seen how she wears her hair when she's not expecting company (like a 90s girl, basically). And this is not it. This hairstyle is way more complex than her regular stay-at-home standard, and it feels a bit out of place, even though I prefer this styling to the loose-curly-hair-with-a-headband styling.
But at least it's not a sexy nightgown. I appreciate that.
As for its influences, it is very reminiscent of the Black Coruscant Gown from Episode I to me. Although that probably is because it's made of the same fluffy fabric.
Beyond that, it just reads like a modern bathrobe. Yet the decorations make it feel alien enough.
As for the hair, the overall style, to me, reads as a take on Disney's Jasmine iconic hairstyle, which in itself it's not based on any historical style. I'm pretty sure it's not that, but its all I can see.
But, jokes aside, if I had to name a historical reference, I would say it is very reminiscent of the Italian trinzale, a popular headwear during the late 13th century and early to mid 14th century. This consists of a fabric cap covering the back of the head and was often worn accompanying the coazzone (a thick ponytail hanging down the back wrapped with scarf fabric, ribbons, and decorative trim).
All things considered, this design was left out of the main series because there was so little to talk about. It's pretty, but in the end, it's just a fancy nightgown and a robe. The hair is the most interesting part of the equation, and it takes less than 5 lines to talk about it. So, it was an obvious decision.
C8. THE MUSTAFAR TRAVEL ATTIRE
After finding out Anakin has turned to the Dark Side, she rushes off to Mustafar with Obi-Wan to try and bring him back. And she does this in this outfit.
This action-oriented outfit consists of a simple long tan shirt that reaches the top of her thighs with a turned-up collar clasped with a delicate piece of metal goldwork. On top of it, she wears a sort of harness made of brown leather that clasps on top of her belly with an intricate gold pendant. She also wears tight-fitting white pants (in the film they read like white, in the promo pictures they read sort of green, and I'm not sure which one it is) and simple brown boots. The look is completed with a pair of tan gloves that go from her knuckles to her upper arm.
Her hair is worn simply pulled back away from her face and (not so simply) into two large twisted braided buns, with the remaining hair worn into a loose long braid tied off with a band of leather.
This, for me, is what the White Battle Outfit of Episode II should have been. It's very reminiscent of the look of the original trilogy, but without being a clear carbon copy of another character's look.
But it still has a lot of design elements that make the look feel adequate for the character: the gloves, the use of metal decorations, the hair, the harness... It's Classic Star Wars but its still very much her. I would have liked to see more of this and less 90s hair.
For me, this is the only design of hers that truly makes me think both "this is the same universe as Episode IV" and "it's also 19 years earlier".
In the end, it was left out because, despite my personal like for it, there's very little to talk about. It's a very simple look that takes a lot from the original trilogy, as well as ideas about the character that has been established through the three previous films she's been in, but little else.
C9. THE BIRTHING ROBE
As she lays unconscious giving birth, she is shown wearing a simple white robe.
This a fancy hospital gown. Literally, nothing to see here. I think it's obvious why it was left out and discarded as a possible full-length article. Moving on!
C10. THE FUNERAL GOWN
Following her death, Padmé's body is returned to Naboo for a solemn evening funeral and buried in this water-themed ensemble that reminds us, one last time, that the Costume Design team was way too good for this film.
The design consists of a simple pleated, aqua-blue dress with an iridescent dark blue cloak studded with pearls. Her hair is styled loose, gently fanned out and adorned with delicate white flowers.
Here, I feel like the main influence was the traditional imagery of Ophelia's death, particularly the very famous painting about that very subject by Sir John Everett Millais. Which makes sense, as both represent the tragic, untimely and unnecessary death of a bright young woman brought forward in some way by her idiot lover.
Her outfit is clearly constructed to create the illusion of water flowing, which makes for a pretty image. But relies on a motif that I don't feel has been that clearly established for the character and sort of bothers me.
If you go digging around on the internet, there's a lot of people claiming that the water motif is linked to her character, but it really isn't. Her planet isn't established as a "water" planet until Episode II, and there isn't an explicit inclusion of that motif on her character up until this very costume. And that makes the whole thing a bit tagged on for me.
Last but not least, her hair feels very influenced by the pre-Raphaelite paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the dramatism of romantic painting.
And that's about it. It's a very simple yet very effective design, but there's little to talk about and, in all honesty, it couldn't fill a full article. So it was left behind.
Unlike with Episode II, in this final episode of the prequel trilogy, there is not much that I actively and viscerally hate. There are a few designs that I don't really like, but I don't hate them. It certainly is an improvement.
In Episode III there is less on an emphasis on making the character "sexy" and that allows the designs to return to the outlandish and weird choices that became so memorable (even if flawed) in Episode I. That doesn't mean there aren't "sexy" gowns in this movie, because there are a couple, but it isn't as widespread.
In the end, the main reason behind all these designs being cast out tends to be the same: there isn't enough to fill a full article.
And so, with this article, I bring to a close my longest-running series in this blog: The Padme Series. Right now, I've looked at and dissected every single outfit worn by this character, and I don't foresee a way to keep talking about her. So, for the time being, I bid the lady goodbye! Adieu, au revoir and farewell, at least until I find a way to continue talking about her...
If you'd like to read the whole series, go here.
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