Star Wars Franchise: Working With Synthetic Braiding Hair

Hair is one of the most stunning pieces of costuming in the Star Wars franchise, however, sometimes working with synthetic hair can be difficult. Here are some suggestions that might make working with synthetic hair easier.

Why Synthetic Hair?:

Synesthetic hair is a better option for making hair pieces for achieve Star Wars hair styles then human hair in most cases. Often times human hair is unethically sourced so avoiding it is a good idea, unless you know it’s origins. That said, if your human hair can he ethically sourced then it can also work well, however, it is always going to be a less affordable option.

Some articles that break down the ethical issues of  human hair extensions

Synthetic hair is also more affordable, for many of the hairstyles in Star Wars a lot of hair is required, and that can become very expensive. Synthetic hair like Kenekalon Braiding Hair and other brands like it are typically a more affordable option when buying a lot of hair. Synesthetic hair can also hold up longer then human hair when taken care of

Another alternative to human hair is horse hair, buying horse hair extensions, they are less affordable and depending on the sealer may also be unethically sourced. However, as an option, the hair is natural and looks so.

Weight, real human hair can be heavy, synthetic hair is often times lighter weight then real hair and can be worn longer because of this.

Styling products, when styling with synthetic hair, styling products such as hair spray or moose, are not needed, because the hairs are all the same length unless altered there are few if any fly-always that need to be smoothed.

Hair Color:

When using synesthetic hair for a costuming it can be hard to find a matching color, this is partly due to the fact that natural hair is not one color, humans have several different colors making up teach individuals hair including high-light and low-lights. Synesthetic hair is typically one color, and it’s hard to match and make it look natural right out of the package. For a more natural look blending 2 too 3 colors of hair together will help, see video for tutorial on blending. (Note: for making hair look more natural, using more of the base color and chose a smaller amount of your high-lights and low-lights.)

Hair Texture:

2 of the main textures for synesthetic hair are natural or yaki and silky, both will work great, however, most Star Wars hairstyles in the movies use a silky finish, this is not as important when doing a hairstyle such as Classic Leia (a.k.a Political Gown Leia), however, most of the headdresses that Queen Amidala wears require silky hair finish to be used, such as her Red Invasion Gown headdress.

Tangling:

Synesthetic hair can tangle easily, so to untangle it start by brushing or combing depending on the need, at the ends and slowly working up the tail of the hair. Starting at the top and going to the ends will only make the tangling worse and more difficult to get out. Sometimes using fingers to come the hair can be easier then a brush, and if using a brush a wig brush would probably work better then a normal hair brush. For general untangling and styling a wide toothed come works grate.

Washing:

For some people synthetic hair can be itchy right out of the package, to remove the coating the hair comes with make a bath or water and vinegar and let the hair sock a while, then rinse and let dry. This processes might be easiest if the hair is still in its loosely braided form that it comes in right out of the package.

 

Storing:

Storing the synthetic hair for reuse, put a fabric covered elastic at the center of the hair bundle and loosely braid the hair. Coil the braid into a circle and place inside a hairnet. See Alexa Poletti’s video on storing wigs.

Resources:

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The Last Command: Leia’s Flame Vest

The Heir To The Empire or Thrawn Trilogy was turned into a comic adaptation in the 1990’s. In the The Last Command, the 3rd part of that comic adaptation, Leia appears in a vest outfit very similar to her Bespin outfit from The Empire Strikes Back. I’m naming this outfit from the comics Leia’s Flame Vest outfit, because it has similarities to both Leia’s Bespin vest outfit and that coloration of Padme’s Flame handmaiden outfit from The Phantom Menace.

TLC8

(The Last Command: Leia’s Flame Vest)

Translating Cartoon To Reality:

When translating an outfit from drawn image to reality it is important to look at it as not a direct translation. A direct copy will end up looking cartnoonish, and if that is not the intention for the outfit then it will not have the desired effect. Keeping an eye towards proportion will help avoid a cartoonish look, however, this also requires interpretation about proportions comic characters are not proportional to real humans. That said the comic still provides good guide lines for how the end product should turn out.

It is also important to note that when a outfit is being rendered in the drawn medium that both highlights and low lights are used to give definition to the character. (Especially in clothing that is black in color, since it would be very hard to show any kind of definition in black colored cloths without them.) However, these high and low lights are not meant to represent the kind of fabric the outfit is made out of.

When translating an outfit decisions about where seems go, and specific details have to be made without much help from the source images as often they are not a detail that is shown. However, with this particular outfit, since it is so close in design to Leia’s Bespin Vest outfit using the details from that outfit for Leia’s Flame Vest would work well.

Fabric:

The Bespin outfit the Leia wears in TESB is made out of Crepe de Chine silk, it seems likely that this outfit too would be made out of a similar fabric. Avoiding shiny fabrics is a good idea, shiny fabrics are rarely used in Star Wars.

It is also important to note that when a outfit is being rendered in the drawn medium that both highlights and low lights are used to give definition to the character. (Especially in clothing that is black in color, since it would be very hard to show any kind of definition in black colored cloths without them.) However, these high and low lights are not meant to represent the kind of fabric the outfit is made out of.

Vest:

Vest Collar & Yoke:

TLC3 Vest Collar 2

(TLC: Leia’s Flame Vest: Collar Is Red)

Similarity to Leia’s Bespin vest, the collar on Leia’s Flame Vest is a semi Mandarin collar, it seems to be fairly blunt in some of the pictures, however, the more detailed pictures suggest that the collar has a slight curing at the very ends. Leia’s vest collar dose not come up past her jaw, instead stopped half way up her neck, similar in proportion to Leia’s Bespin vest collar. The collar on Leia’s Flame Vest is a deep red color.

TLC6 Manderin Collar 2

(TLC: Leia’s Flame Vest: Collar)

Leia Vest Inspired

(TESB: Bespin Leia Vest Collar & Yoke)

The Yoke of Leia’s Flame Vest is burnt sunset yellow, the the yoke is similar is proportion and construction to Leia’s Bespin Vest. The soft diamond shape appears in the front and back of  the yoke on Leia’s vest is the same in both Leia’s Flame and Bespin Vests.

TLC1 Vest Level With Belt

Vest Body:

The body of the Flame Vest is deep red, and the construction appears like the Bespin vest. The red fabric is pleated or gathered which allows for a fuller skirt to the vest, see the pink arrows for the gathering. It’s likely pleated like the Bespin vest.

TLC1 Vest Pleets

The arm howl for the vest ends roughly around the top of the elbow, the arm opening appears to be oval or circular. Like with Leia’s Bespin Vest, the vest likely falls to around Leia’s ankles.

TLC1 Vest Arm Level With BeltTLC3 Sleeve Arm Vest

Dress:

The Color of the dress Leia wears under the Flame Vest seems to be char coal grey

Neck:

TLC2 Boat Neck Black DressThe neckline for the dress that Leia wears with the Flame Vest has a boat neckline,  

Sleeves:

TLC3 Sleeve LengthThe sleeves of the dress are strait sleeves, with a cropped length, they are longer then 3/4, however, they are not full length sleeves.

Dress Body:

TLC3 Pleeted SkirtThe skirt of Leia’s dress is sleeted or gathered, the dress falls most likely to her ankles, the dress also appears to have an A line or slightly wide skirt. It appears that Leia is wearing a fabric covered leather diamond shaped belt similar to her Bespin belt. However, it also appears that the waistline for this dress is a V shape where the gathered skirt it attacked, the bodice appearing to be fitted similarly to the Bespin tunic.

TLC5 Belt or Bodice

Hair:

Leia’s hairstyle that she wears with her flame vest is simple, and almost a combination between Hoth Leia hair and Bespin Leia hair. her hair has no part and instead is pulled back, a crown braid runs over the top of her head and the rest of her hair is left to hand down in a soft looping bubble that just touches her shoulders.

TLC2 No Part HairTLC3 Hair Shoulder LengthTLC2 Side Coyals Hair

Inspirations & Similarities:

Clearly Leia’s Flame Vest is inspired by Leia’s Bespin outfit, however, there are also some similarities to some of Padmé’s costumes that are featured in the prequels. These comics came out before the Prequel Trilogy so the similarities to this outfit from the Prequel’s outfits is more coincidental. However, it also attests to the fact that the artist had an eye for what would be appropriate for Star Wars fashion.

Leia Hair Inspiration 3

(ROTS: Padmé’s Purple Senate Hairstyle) (Images From: The Padawans Guide)

 The Hairstyles that Leia wears with her Flame Vest Outfit, has a similar back to the lower half of Padmé’s Purple Senate Outfit from ROTS. The looped over bottom part of the hairstyle has a similar shape and volume.

Flame Vets Inpiration
(TPM: Padmé Flame Handmaiden)

The similarity in color patterns between the flame handmaiden outfit from TPM and Leia’s Vest is why I’ve named it Leia’s Flame Vest. The deep red color of the body of the vest is similar to that of the under-sleeves sleeves and hip sash on the flame handmaiden outfit. the yellow skirt of the flame handmaiden outfit also is similare in color to Leia’s flame vest, through in this picture the yellow is a darker shade on Leia’s vest then the skirt of the TPM dress.

Insparations Vest
(TLC: Leia’s Flame Vest Collar & Yoke Similar to Leia’s Bespin Vest)

Leia’s Flame Vest, is very similar to the Bespin Vest she wears in The Empire Strikes Back. The collar and yoke are similar in construction, as well as shape and proportion.

Images From: