Star Wars - Thirty Years of the Best Costume Design

by Fran Walker
Fashion School Review Columnist

June 16, 2005

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The recent resurgence of the epic film has seen dazzling scope in set, clothing, and costume design not seen since the epics of the 1950s. Old-fashioned craftmanship and attention to detail has been combined with computer aided design.

Star Wars Episode 3, with its dizzying array of clothing design, real and virtual, is a worthy addition to the genre. It also boasts the reappearance of Darth Vader - one the simplest and most iconic costume designs of all time.

Star Wars' Clothing Design

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Star Wars has always been more of a visual than a verbal experience. Long before the astounding digital effects, the clothing and costume design emphasized the struggle between good and evil. In Star Wars Episode 6 (1983), the costume designs for the characters on the dark side are artificial and colorless - white body armor for the storm troopers - black clothes and a mask for Darth Vader. In contrast, the valiant rebels in Star Wars are clothed in earth tones - beiges and creams and greens - emphasizing their struggle to restore order and harmony.

Some of the most stunning clothing design in the new trilogy has been reserved for Padme Amidala, the tragic heroine and mother of Luke and Leia. As in Star Wars Episodes 1 and 2 she wears an enviable array of gowns that enhance her femininity. In Star Wars Episode 3, this is taken one step further with a fabulous range of maternity wear.

Could Your Costume Design Program Involve You in the Next Star Wars?

The vastly increased budget and technological capabilities means the newer Star Wars trilogy boasts a vast array of different species, each with their own unique clothing design. Many of these characters are completely computer generated.

Modern costume design programs combine the traditional elements of clothing and costume design such as figure drawing and pattern making, with up to date design technologies such as Photoshop.

While there will, sadly, be no more Star Wars movies, a live action TV show is expected. Hopefully the Star Wars franchise will continue to inspire and employ costume and clothing designers for many years to come. Not every graduate can work on Star Wars after their costume design program, but it is the best chance you have for costume design success.

About the Author
Fran Walker is a freelance writer, editor and researcher specializing in educational, health, safety and domestic issues. Previously, she spent five years in marketing in the self-help, health and health and safety sectors before leaving to start a family

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