If you like this post, you may also like: our Costuming 101 podcast episode, Comic Con 2013 Cosplay Report, The Phantom Menace:The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,  Attack of the Clones: Anakin the Creepy Creeper

Star Wars and the Power of Costume

Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: A behind-the-scenes look at some of the most iconic costumes in film history.

Open January 31-October 4, 2015. At Seattle’s EMP Museum
EMP Museum is located at 325 5th Avenue N at Seattle Center

Ah, Star Wars. No one hates Star Wars. Well, there may be someone out there who hates Star Wars; but I choose to live in a better universe. One with a galaxy far, far away…But I digress.

The Costume Creations that Brought Star Wars to Life

We fell in love with Han. We wanted to be Leia. We all tolerated Luke like the whiny little brother we know is a good guy but just needs to grow up. We all feared Darth Vader. The prequels came along about a decade later. Man, we love to hate those. What the prequels showed us was that our far, far away neighbors could be really annoying. (Why hasn’t Jar Jar been written out?!) But the COSTUMES!!! I die. The amazing creations of costume designer Trisha Biggar, particularly Padme’s gowns and those of her handmaidens, are the stuff of geek costuming legend. The only thing I could think of that would be better than watching those beautiful costumes on a big screen would be seeing them in person. I got the chance to do just that this June at the EMP museum in Seattle, WA. It did not disappoint.

Star Wars Costumes From the Original Trilogy & Prequel Films

The costumes on exhibit were from both the original trilogy and the prequels. For those of us who build/remake/recreate costumes, this was a great opportunity for some serious research ogling. (Research ogling is a part of the process, guys.) Immediately when you enter the exhibit area, you are greeted with a SW treat. The staircase looked like the inner workings of a Star Destroyer and the music playing in the entryway can be heard in Jabba’s Palace when you watch Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars Exhibit

Queen Amidala’s Awesome “Invasion Gown”

Right up the top of the stairs you see a beautiful display of Queen Amidala’s “Invasion” gown. The teardrop shaped gems at the bottom lit up as they were in the invasion scene in The Phantom Menace. Next to it was the original trilogy Obi-Wan Kenobi full costume. Such a defining contrast between the court costume of the queen and the hermit from the desert. The costumers would appreciate being able to note that Obi-Wan’s robes where raw edged and frayed during production.

Star Wars Costume Exhibit


star wars costume exhibit

Emperor Palpatine’s Wicked Robes

The Emperor’s robes are displayed in battle with Jedi Masters Luminara and Mace Windu from Attack of the Clones, complete with light-up lightsaber buttons for the Jedi’s blades. Across the way, little Anakin Skywalker’s padawan robes are displayed with Luke’s darker robes from Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars Costume Exhibit

Anakin’s Jedi Robes and Padme’s Wedding Gown

Further down the way, we see Anakin’s Jedi robes again, but displayed with Padme’s wedding gown from Attack of the Clones, arranged as they were in the wedding scene. Again, the details here are stunning. You can see all of the thousands of pearls sewn onto the lace by hand, a detail added at the last minute by Trisha Biggar herself.

Star Wars Costume Exhibit


Boushh and Slave Leia in Contrast

They even had Boushh The Bounty hunter (Leia’s bounty hunter disguise from Return of the Jedi) displayed next to the iconic Slave Leia costume from the same movie. Which Leia look is your favorite?

Star Wars Costume Exhibit

Rooms Full of Luscious Costumes

The rooms full of luscious costumes continued on and we can talk about it for days. But I won’t ruin it for you.
If you have the opportunity to get there for this, I would highly recommend it. Just don’t lean over the glass to take pictures – apparently there is an alarm. All three guards came to tell me that. Twice. Each. …Very informative guys. ;)

If you liked this article on the Star Wars costume exhibit: Star Wars and the Power of Costume, you might also enjoy: Our interview with Ultra Sabers (a custom lightsaber company), Women of Star Wars, our Ultrasabers Lightsaber Review and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

More Awesome Photos

About the Author

Sith Jen
Sith JenContributor/ RL BFF / Sithy Healer
Jen is Mom to a small horde of geek minions, Professional Nurse, Costume designer for Renaissance and Fantasy Faires, Halloween Champion Team Coach, ComicCon goer, Cosplayer of heavy Star Wars influence and Denizen of the Empire/501st hopeful (wish me luck with my first application this year!)