First of all, I feel I must warn you that my knowledge of the Star Wars franchise is….limited. Most of my interest is based around the photography and art design and, of course, the costumes! Especially those of one Queen Padme Amidala. So when my co-workers told me about the Star Wars costume exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, I was all in. I even got to drag my husband along with me (he wasn’t very hard to convince!).
I did not color correct any of the photos from the show – all images are as shot so you can see the colors as accurately as possible. However, my iPhone SE doesn’t have the greatest camera and the lighting at the show is pretty dim, so I apologize for the shadowy photos.
The Queen Senate Dress
Featuring design influences from Russia and the Chinese Imperial Court, this is the first gown Queen Amidala wears in the movies. At this point in the story, she is a queen of only 14 years old! This is the dress she wears to greet an Advisory Council during the invasion of Naboo.
The dress holds its shape with the help of a steel-boned crinoline, and is trimmed in faux fur. Of the lights that decorate the skirt, costume designer Trisha Biggar explains: “The lights that illuminated the bottom were in a vac-formed Perspex (acrylic resin), color-washed with French enamel varnish.”
Velvet Senate Gown
Bodice and skirt under a full-length overcoat in dark violet. Burnout velvet and fabulous beaded detailing and corded embroidery. She also wears a neckband given to her by the Naboo Council.
This dress pulls from the Elizabethan era, but the neckpiece and hairstyle feel distinctly African. The level of detail on these costumes is fantastic. The big screen does NOT do justice to all of the hard work that goes into realizing these costumes.
Green Cape Dress
Leather and Feathers
This is an interesting departure from the overall aesthetic of the film, for sure. (Apparently that can be explained by the fact that Lucas himself had a lot to do with the design of this costume, and not Trisha Biggar.) I personally prefer the look with the feather shawl, but you don’t see much of it in the movie. The fit and flare skirt is in fully-lined chenille lace, topped with a corset of unknown material. The style was inspired by looks from the 1930’s.
Red Senate Robes
Kudos to the designer for paying so much attention to the backs of these costumes. There is a heavy Grecian influence in the cut and drape of her silk nightgown.
Black State Gowns
This one has a very vintage-inspired feel, from the sleeves to the full gathered skirt to the beaded “stomacher”. Padme could easily have stolen that blouse from Anne Shirley 🙂 The skirt appears to be dupioni silk, with a velvet jacket and lightweight silk sleeves. There is turquoise beading in the embroidery. The double-breasted corset is lightly armored to provide additional protection to the queen while traveling.
Queen Amidala travels while disguised as a pilot.
Rainbow Lake Dress
Worn during Amidala’s retreat on Naboo, this is one of the more well-known looks from the series, and this dress definitely has presence. Made from printed chiffon in a graduated colorway, with a silk border.
The Picnic Gown
Such a perfect gown for a picnic in the meadow! This one really speaks to all my most romantic sensibilities, and actually strongly reminds me of my own Junior High graduation dress. Somewhat pre-Raphaelite in its tone.
The bodice is in silk with filigreed embroidery, and the skirt and shawl are a lovely floral appliquéd tulle. Check out my knit snood tutorial if you want to make some similar hair accessories for yourself!
In another bit of Edwardian inspiration, Amidala’s wedding look features a full-length princess seam gown and sheer overcoat with beaded headpiece/veil. The lace detail overlay is made from a repurposed antique Italian bedspread in Battenburg lace. The veil is bordered in Maltese lace and covered in pearls and wax flowers.