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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 in the span of time compressed 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 the heavy fabrics are clearly taken from this period.

Elizabeth succession allegory (1572)

The dress show 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 1600's, 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 is pretty reminiscent of Padme's design undoubtedly. Yes, her dress is shinier (the embroidery happens to include beads), and a bit wore "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 any more.

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.


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