Star Wars has many known and unknown inspirations and influences, this series will be focusing on similarities, possible influences and possible inspiration that helped shape the look of the Galaxy. Silhouettes, fabrics, and color palette among many, many other factors will all be looked at and explored.
Though there is no evidence we have come across to support this as fact, nevertheless, it is undeniable that Padme’s Green Velvet Gown that she wears in Revenge of the Sith shares many similarities to the The Arnolfini Portrait. Because of of these similarities we are looking at the possibility of this painting being the partial inspiration for the esthetic of Padme Green Velvet Robe.
The similarities between the gowns can be seen in
the color, dark greens,
the weight of the fabric, the paintings is a heavy wool and Padme’s is a heavy velvet.
special linings, the Portraits is fur, Padme’s is patterned and purple
purple belts, though it is a little harder to tell if the paintings belt is purple for sure, never the less the belt placement is the same
a hood (Padme) and hood silhouette to the veil (Mrs. Arnolfini).
Special decorations on the sleeves,
long flowing gown that comes out from under the bust.
According to A Stitch In Time Episode 2, for a very long time people believed that the woman in the Arnolfini Portrait was pregnant. Though this is not the case, it is very easy to see why that would be assumed, she dose look pregnant, without a particular knowledge of the fashion and time period it is essay to assume. The woman in the painting has a silhouette that is similar to Padme’s, who is pregnant.
This is one of the few garments that we think is a spastic influence on a spastic dress instead of simply sharing a more common aesthetic.
Padmé wears this Purple evening gown in Star Wars The Clone Wars, Season 2 Episode 4, Senate Spy. If looking for a very sexual costume from Star Wars without the problematic issues of Slave Leia, then this might be a good choice.
(In summery: Slave Leia is problematic when taken out of it’s story context as a position that Leia is forced into by Jabba. The difference between Padmé and Leia wearing sex-ulized outfits is consent. Padmé elects to wear her revealing clothing Leia does not.)
Because this dress only appears in cartoon form there will have to be some adjusting to translate into the real world. It can be easy to translate cartoons into the real world exactly, however, this often times can looks very cartoonish and if that is not the aim isn’t important to pay attention to the details. Being careful of watching proportions so that translating it into the real world looks good. Also consider that all of these proportions will have to be adjusted for each individual Padmé.
Because it is a cartoon that is specifically designed to look like painted wooded puppet, the fabric Padmé’s dress is made out of is difficult to figure out. The dress seems to be made out of a fairly heavy fabric the way it moves, the dress appears to be made out of a semi shiny fabric, such as a heavy satin. The gown color is a dark dusky purple, there is a light purple color on the front of her dress that makes up the symbols on her gown. (Because its used so widely in Star Wars, silk would be a good fabric to use for this dress, silk often times has a semi shiny look while not being overly lustrous.)
(A possible fabric for making this gown might be Silk Crepe De Chine, as its a light silk fabric with a lot of drape and movement, it was also used in Leia’s Classic Political Gown in A New Hope 🙂 )
Padmé’s purple Clone Wars evening gown has a fishtail skirt, also known as a mermaid skirt. Padmé’s dress also appears to has a narrow ‘A’ line skirt, meaning that the skirt of the dress does not fit tightly around her legs, instead it it snug around the hips and follows an ‘A’ shape down to the hem. (Note: That the ‘A’ line dress, is a more narrow ‘A’ line so it resembles a closer fitting fishtail dress.)
Padmé’s evening gown also has a clear train, the train is noticeable, however, it is not very long. a good estimate would be a little over a foot so many 14″ for the train. this of course depending on each individual Padmé.
Padmé’s skirt is very full, there is a lot of fabric moving when she comes down the stairs, the fishtail part of the skirt which is the widest part of the dress is very full.
Padmé’s dress also goes all the way down to the floor and her shoes cannot be seen when she is standing. The floor length of the dress seems to be just touching the floor in front and a small but significant train in the back.
The bodice of Padmé’s dress has a slight sweetheart neckline, the bodice also does not come up very high on her chest.
The bodice appears to come up to roughly top of the triceps below Padmé’s shoulder,
Padmé’s bodice is open on the side, there is no back to her dress, the bodice comes completely around her breast and onto the side of her ribs (see green line for edge of breast and pink line for edge of dress in picture below).
The bodice of Padmé’s dress is also very structured, from the top down to the bottom of her rib-cage. The bodice hugs closely to her body, until the bottom of her ribs, then the fabrics of her dress becomes somewhat less structured and is looser and has a very slight drape around her lower back and side (see blue arrows for drape of fabric in picture below).
The gaping between Padmé’s dress and her back is more obvious in the picture below, however, note: that the gaping in not very much just enough to tell that the dress is not structured in its lower half.
There is no back too Padmé’s gown, Padmé’s dress comes down very low into a soft round shape. The dress back is lower then Padmé’s natural waist, and appears to show her upper lower back, much like her lake dress from Attack of the Clones. (See blue line for bottom edge of dress, green for waist and red for shape of back of Padmé’s dress.)
The gloves that Padmé wears with her evening gown also double as sleeves, these gloves have a cut out that is the shape of an rectangle with rounded ends. The top of the cut outs on the sleeves falls in line the middle of Padmé’s chest. The bottom of the cut outs on Padmé’s gloves falls roughly in line between the bottom of Padmé’s rib cage, and her natural waist, the cut outs also end several inches above the elbow.
Padmé’s gloves are cut very high, the fabric goes up to her underarm but does not attack to the dress in any way and also does not have a lot of extra fabric there.
The top of Padmé’s glove is a rounded shape that comes up over her shoulders, the sleeves also seem to be structured. Note: that the rounded top of the sleeve that covers Padmé’s shoulder is flush to her body. This indicates a form of structure that also allows glove to stay in place on her arm, (see blue arrow). The lower half that comes around the under Padmé’s arm is not flush with her arm, (see green arrow).
Padmé’s gloves also have a detail on the top rounded part that covers her shoulders, it appears to be cut wide enough to allow for several small folds to occur through the structured part of the glove. almost reminiscent of a very, very slightly puffed sleeve (see link for reference image of puffed sleeve).
Padmé’s hair is styles in a simple three strand braid down from the base of her back and down her back, the braid falls down to middle of Padmé’s back. Her braid is fastened at the end if a apparently metal semi cone shaped decorative fastener.
The Shoes that Padmé wears with her evening gown are the same color of purple as her gown. though it is hard to see it appears that she has a squared/rounded toe to her shoe, in the lower second picture vaguely appears to be middle average in height high heals, or more accurately pumps they appear to have some kind of back to them.
Padmé’s dress has seven symbols on the front of it in descending size and order from her lower abdomen.
Padmé carries a bag with her evening gown, one of the few times she is ever seen with a bag. Her clutch bag is the matched to her dress and is the same purple color with silver accents like her hair fastener.
Most female Twi’lek’s wear a little hat like headgear or headdress, this is most likely due to the practical need of hide hairlines and Lekku seems.
These hats seem to be only worn by the female Twi’lek’s and have several popular variations, but they almost universally cover the ears, hairline, including the back of the head, and side of the head. Often times they have spaces for the ear-cones to show through.
Concept art for Oola, shows the inspiration of the Twi’lek hats, Oola’s human design has a hat that covers much less of the head. A gag was included originally as well in the concept design, and the ear-cons appear to have originally been a part of the headdress. (Images By: DIY The Galaxy of Star Wars) (Images From: The Art of Return of the Jedi: Star Wars Book)
Sometimes these hats have chin straps, such as Oola, Hera and Aayla’s.
Some of these hats cover the cheeks with little flaps
While others don’t cover hem at all.
Many of the hat’s feature medallions on the forehead.
Some of the hats cover the ear-cones, such as Oola and Hera and the child Twi’lek, they can sometimes be decorative when covering the ear-cones.
These hats can be completely decorative such as those of senate Twi’lek’s, or only have decorative parts, such as Oola’s.
Some of these hats come in multi colors,
while others come in brown which seems to be a popular color,
Or, like Hera and Numa, have different colors and patterns on their hats and they also cover more of the Lekku.
In combination with these hats some Twi’lek’s wear their Lekku wrapped in strips of fabric or leather or with a sleeve over them. These can be done only a little or almost all over the Lekku, or not done at all.
Males typically don’t wear hats, a few wear helmet like hat,
For the most part the males only form of decoration or headgear is wrapping their Lekku.
Some don’t wear any form of Lekku decoration at all.
Twi’lek’s are some of the oldest and best loved aliens in Star Wars, this post is part of a series braking down Twi’lek’s from the movies and TV shows.
Ears and ear-cones, these are variously listening appendages that Twi’leks have and can sometimes be a little inconsistently represented in Star Wars. In Return of the Jedi, Bib Fortuna has human like ears, these ears where actually part of the prosthetic that was built for the actor.
Oola has a headdress that covers her ears and is where the idea of the ear-cones most likely arose. In the concept art for when Oola’s design was human shows that the white cones are a part of her headdress. However, since than Oola’s headdress seems to have morphed into ear-cons for female Twi’leks.
The purple Twi’lek singer Lyn Me does not appear to have ear-cone, instead her headdress covers her ears and as there are no lumps under the headdress it appear that her ears are likely to be like Bib Fortuna’s and are humanoid ears. Which is why it seems likely that Oola’s headdress is the point origin for ear-cones.
Getting into the prequels, Aayla Securra and all other Twi’leks have what appear to be ear-cones. These ear-cones are the same color as their Lekku and skin so it looks like they are what female Twi’lek’s have for ears. No male Twi’lek to date has been represented with ear-cones. (see further down article for male Twi’lek’s ears.)
Star Wars The Clone Wars has several different episode that future Twi’lek’s heavily, in these episodes the male Twi’lek’s have humanoid ears and humanoid ears with points.
My Unfounded Theory:
It’s possible that the first Twi’lek’s from [Retune of the Jedi] had normal humanoid ears, but Oola’s headdress has been interpreted into ear-cones. (Note: that in concept art as seen earlier in this post, the ear-cons are a part of Oola’s headdress, particularly in her human design.) The idea of Twi’lek’s morphed from what they had stared as in [Retune of the Jedi] and developed into something new. So in this theory the female Twi’lek’s ears have been retconned and now they have ear-cones instead of humanoid ears.
It also appears that some of the hats that Twi-lek woman wear have decorative covers that go over the ear-cones.
“Silk crepe de chine, from the French “crepe of China”, is a famously versatile silk, possessing a very glossy luster and a subtle texture, as well as a surprisingly light weight and truly excellent drape. The fabric, slightly more textured than silk 4-ply woven crepe, is made with tightly twisted weft yarns, or filling, running in reverse directions from left to right. These twisted yarns produce both the crepe texture of the material and its flexible drape. Silk crepe de chine is probably the most durable of cultivated silks – those woven of single, reeled strands – and is found to be exceedingly even and uniform in texture. Silk crepe de chine is popular for bridal and formal evening wear, and also works well in blouses and men’s shirts. Also used in home décor, the fabric lends a light and luxurious feel to any project. Silk crepe de chine is also an exceptionally forgivable silk when it comes to sewing, as it takes thread well and will typically not fray overly when cut. Dry cleaning is the recommended method of care for this fabric”.
The body of Leia’s political dress is very simple; the dress seems to be cut out on a ‘T’ pattern, the fabric being folded in half fully length ways and then again width ways.
Because of the way the fabric is folded before cutting there are only 2 seems one on ether sides. There is no front or back seems, there are also no shoulder seems and no seem on the top of the sleeves. There are really only 4 seems on Leia’s dress, the 2 side seems which are continuous up through the underside of the sleeves, 1 seem for the collar and the seem for the keyhole back opening.
The side seems are left open from about the knee down, to allow for ease of movement, this split in the dress does no go any high then Leia’s knee, (roughly just below the knee cap).
Leia’s political dress is self lined, meaning that the same fabric that was used to make the dress is used to line it. Leia’s dress has the raw seams enclosed between the lining and the body of the dress.
The bottom hem of the dress comes down to break at the top of Leia’s foot and is a folded hem that is secured down with invisible stitching, possibly sewn by hand.
The top of Leia’s dress is blouses and appears to have elastic ruching used to gather in the waist. (Sadly there are no pockets).
Though different necklines where plaid around with in the concept art faze for Leia’s political dress, the approved design has a turtleneck collar (possibly more of a mock-turtleneck since it does not fold over). This turtleneck collar closed in the back with what appear to be hooks and eyes that are sewn on the inside of the collar so they are not visible from the outside.
Princess Leia’s political dress closes with a series of hooks and eyes closer at the neck, and a keyhole back opening. This opening is more or less a strait cut opening down the center back that goes no lower than mid shoulder blade.
Leia’s hood is made out of a single layer of crepe de chine (so it’s not lined), the hood comes down to roughly just below the top of Leia’s hips. The hood seems to be likely cut out on a trapezoid shape and gathered on the edges before being sewn under the collar.
The hood is attached under the turtleneck collar and the hoods hem is a rolled hem which is stitched down by hand with an invisible stitch. The hood is also left open in the back and is not a closed hood, the fabric for the most part lays over the top of the head.
Leia’s political dress has open wide cut sleeves, Leia’s sleeves at the widest point, the wrist, appear to be more than 14” long (Pam’s Costumes: suggests 14″ inches in length for the sleeves). The image below shows Leia’s hand at shoulder level and the sleeves drops down to roughly Leia’s waist. (Perspective in the image has to be taken into account when figuring out the proper length of the sleeve.)
Note: that for movies there are lots of the same costume made, and often times those used during action sequences will have shorter hems and less full skirts and sleeves. It is likely then that Leia’s dress will appear slightly different throughout the movie and promo stills.
There are no shoulder seems or seems on the top of the sleeves, [some of the patterns that were released had raglan sleeves; however, this is not how the screen dress is constructed]. Since the dress is cut out on a ‘T’ pattern, the only seems that exists are on the underside of the sleeves where it’s the continuation of the single body seem on the side of the dress.
Leia’s political dress belt was made to have a medieval look, the belt itself is made out of leather with aluminum medallions. Leia’s belt also has a clear line of stitching around the entire border.
There are 7 to 8 medallions depending on the belt (the belt worn in ANH has more medallions then the belt worn in ESB). There are 6 to 7 rectangular medallions and 1 center diamond medallion (though more rectangular medallions can be added as needed as long as there evenly spaced). The medallions are made out of aluminum and snaps are used to close the belt in the back. In some versions of the belt, such as the one worn in ANH, a medallion covers up the snap closure, however, the belt worn in ESB appears to only have 7 medallions, leaving the snaps uncovered. (This picture pattern below for the medallions is a rough pattern and may have to be adjusted for each individual Leia, figuring out proportions helps.)