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:|
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.