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Iconic costumes from “a galaxy far, far away” are presented in the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume. The exhibition will begin a 12-city national tour at EMP Museum in Seattle where it will be on view Jan. 31 through Oct. 4, 2015.
Culled from the collection of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: 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 when enslaved by Jabba the Hutt.
“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.”
Presenting 60 of the finest hand-crafted costumes from the first six blockbuster Star Wars films, 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: C-3PO and R2-D2—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.
Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: 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.
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.
Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is a first-of-its kind institution, designed to serve as the country’s premiere venue for understanding the connections and lineage of illustrative and visual art. Conceived by George Lucas, the museum is based on the filmmaker’s passion for education and the role art can play in inspiring young people. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art collection ranges from fine art to animation, from fashion to cinematic design and is comprised of works of the great masters of the Golden Age of Illustration through today’s digital artists, showing the ways culture is reflected in the popular art of any given time.
Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company’s activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.
EMP is a leading-edge, nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel popular culture. With its roots in rock ’n’ roll, EMP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through collections, exhibitions and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower its visitors. At EMP, artists, audiences and ideas converge, bringing understanding, interpretation and scholarship to popular culture. EMP is housed in a 140,000-square-foot Frank O. Gehry-designed building. This spectacular, prominently visible structure has the presence of a monumental sculpture set amid the backdrop of the Seattle Center.
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