Iconic costumes from “a galaxy far, far away” are presented in the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida until April 1, 2018.
Culled from the collection of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Star Wars and the Power of Costume is a partnership of the museum, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Lucasfilm. George Lucas imagined and created a fantastical world filled with dynamic characters who told the timeless story of the hero’s journey. The costumes shaped the identities of these now famous characters, from the menacing black mask of Darth Vader and the gilded suit of C-3PO, to the lavish royal gowns of Queen Amidala and a bikini worn by Princess Leia.
“Craftsmanship and artistry in costume design are valued creative components in the Star Wars saga,” said Lucas. “The detailed precision of a design can be as bold a measure of storytelling as words on a page, leading to truths at the core of a character, situation or shared history. From initial concept drawings to complex physical constructions, the costumes featured in this exhibition serve to
further define crucial aspects of worlds created to move, educate and entertain us—to inspire the imagination.”
“Star Wars is an important cultural touchstone across generations, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to present the artistry of these costume designs at the MFA,” said Executive Director Kristen A. Shepherd. “The exhibition will take visitors inside the creative process by showing how designers interpret and translate George Lucas’s vision for the iconic Star Wars characters into reality. Concept drawings and actual costumes will be on view, so visitors can explore the process of their creation and enjoy the sheer beauty of both.
“Design is a critical element in narrative art forms, including film, and these are some of the most significant costumes in film history,” Shepherd added. “The MFA looks forward to announcing details about the exhibition on May 4 (Star Wars Day) through our platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”
Presenting more than 60 of the finest hand-crafted costumes from the first seven films in the Star Wars series, the exhibition uncovers the challenges, the intricate processes and the remarkable artistry of Lucas, the concept artists and costume designers. The costumes reflect an eclectic mix of cultural, historical and mythical sources that add rich texture to the story. Through nine presentational “chapters”—Introduction: Dressing a Galaxy; Jedi versus Sith: Form, Function and Design; Concept and Design for Royalty and Beyond; Symbolism and Military Power; Outlaws and Outsiders; All Corners of the Galaxy: The Galactic Senate; After the Throne: Padmé’s Journey; Darth Vader: Iconic Villain; and Droid™ Design—visitors will explore the creative process from Lucas’s vision through concept drawings by artists such as Ralph McQuarrie and Iain McCaig, to the final costume designs of John Mollo and Trisha Biggar, among others.
Featured costumes include the:
- Monk-like robes of Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker
- Intimidating suit and complex breathing apparatus of Darth Vader
- Military-influenced uniforms of the Imperial Stormtrooper, Senate Guard and TIE Fighter Pilot
- Yak hair and mohair costume of the towering Wookiee Chewbacca
- Intergalactic outfits of Senators Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and Mas Amedda
- Fierce armor of mercenary bounty hunters Jango Fett, Boba Fett and Zam Wesell
- Elaborately detailed gowns of Queen Amidala, Queen Jamillia and their handmaidens
Short films in Star Wars and The Power of Costume provide a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process and include interviews with artists, designers and actors. The visitor experience will be enhanced by interactive flip books featuring sketches, photographs and notes that capture the creative team’s inspiration and vision.
Star Wars and the Power of Costume is the third exhibition on which SITES has collaborated with Lucasfilm. Previous projects were Star Wars: The Magic of Myth and Star Wars: The Art of the Starfighter.
Ticketing information for Star Wars and the Power of Costume can be found at Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. The exhibit runs until April 1, 2018.