Newspaper article The Canadian Press

A Fashionable Force: 'Star Wars' Poised to Add to Franchise's Rich Costume Legacy

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

A Fashionable Force: 'Star Wars' Poised to Add to Franchise's Rich Costume Legacy

Article excerpt

Will new 'Star Wars' be a fashionable force?

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TORONTO - From Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi robes to Darth Vader's mask and Princess Leia's golden bikini, costumes featured in "Star Wars" are arguably as famous as the franchise's characters themselves.

As "The Force Awakens" arrives in theatres on Friday, costume curators and creators can't wait to see how fashion plays a role in the latest instalment.

"From the prequels, you look at some of Natalie Portman's gowns, they're so lavish, they're so fashionable. And what that says to me is that society is doing well," said Saul Drake, project director of the Smithsonian travelling exhibition "Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: 'Star Wars' and the Power of Costume."

"What's really interesting to see for 'The Force Awakens' costumes is that it's kind of almost a return to form for the classic style of costume. They're very sparse, they're very monotone, there's not a lot of embellishment on there. And without even seeing the movie, what that tells me is that the society is not doing that well. There's struggle going on.

"It's interesting to see how those costumes not only create character, but they also reflect what's going on in the 'Star Wars' movies in that time period."

A selection of designs from "The Force Awakens" are among the 70 costumes currently on display in the Smithsonian's exhibition at the Discovery Times Square centre in New York until Sept. 5, 2016.

Styles sported by newcomers Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) are also featured alongside notable ensembles from the six previous films spanning from the 1977 debut to 2002's "Attack of the Clones."

Toronto-based costume and set designer Sarah Armstrong said she's noted some parallels between the designs she's seen so far on Finn and Rey and those worn by their onscreen predecessors Han Solo and Leia (Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.)

They harken back to fashions from the original movies, which encompassed Asian-inspired designs with simple shapes alongside military-influenced styles, Armstrong said. …

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