Without these fantastic costumes, Star Wars just wouldn’t have been the same.
While visiting family in Tampa, FL over Thanksgiving, I got the fantastic opportunity to go to the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. The museum was hosting an exhibit called Star Wars And The Power of Costume. It was well worth the $25 entry fee.
Star Wars Across The Ages
The showcase began with some of the most iconic costumes, including Obi-Wan, Leia, and Padme. The exhibit was specific to show the differences between the prequels and classics in design and opulence. In the original trilogy, clothing was meant to be downplayed with Obi-Wan and Luke in muted colors and understated design. By comparison, the prequels took place on Coruscant and were meant to showoff the wealth the capital held.
Costumes could also show how a character progressed in the series. You can see this clearly in Palpatine’s clothing as he moves from respected senate leader to a Sith Lord. His clothing becomes less opulent and “creepy”.
The widest room held Boba and Jango Fett, Han and Chewie, the droids, Leia’s infamous bikini, Rey, sandpeople, and many more. The walls were lined with concept art. It was actually incrediably humbling to stand in a room with these costumes. I was literally 6 inches from Luke’s starfighter jumpsuit.
Did you know: BB8 was created from an original concept drawing for R2?
The War Room
My favorite room was, what I will call “the war room”. It had the costumes for The Phantom Menace’s Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Maul, Luminara, Sidious, and Mace. Their lightsabers were also present and could be lit up from standing buttons around the room. The costumes worn by both Sith and Jedi are modeled after Japanese Kimonos, meant to signify a common past. Remember, Sith were created by dark Jedi.
Did you know: During the Gungan water scene in The Phantom Menace, the material on Obi-Wan’s cloak kept shrinking to knee length and had to be replaced every take.
The highlight of this room was definitely Maul. The walls were lined with concept art for him. George instructed the artist to “draw his worst nightmare”. He did, and was then told to take it down a notch. I was shocked to see one drawing in particular. Star Wars has always been known to reuse old designs. And that’s how a concept for Maul became Mother Talzin from The Clone Wars.
The transition room to the upstairs section contained Wicket, Hayden’s Darth Vader suit, Vader’s stunt helmet, and Yoda.
Padme-The Queen, The Senator, The Wife
The last room was one of the most impressive. It was a collection of nothing but Padme’s costumes, some of which she only wore for a single take. They were unbelievable. Everything was hand stitched and took hours to create, the longest 6 weeks. In The Phantom Menace she was a queen, and dressed like it. In Attack of the Clones, the goal was to simply make her beautiful. Concepts for dresses covered the walls. Again, Star Wars artists showed their resourcefulness. A concept for Padme became Satine, Duchess of Mandalore.
I wish I could show you every picture I took, but that’s just not possible. These costumes are amazing. If you are going to be in the area, this exhibit is open until April 1st. I highly encourage you to have a look at these amazing costumes.