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View Sample Pages : Santa Fe New Mexican, October 02, 2005

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New Mexican (Newspaper) - October 2, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico FASHION Designed for a galaxy far far away gallery exhibits Star Wars costumes By Valli Herman Los Angeles Times LOS ANGELES Probably only Dorothys red shoes have endured as much obsession Just as those sequined pumps inspired intense awe and imitation so do the iconic costumes from the Star Wars movies Darth Vaders helmet and light saber the Jedi tunics and Queen Amidalas throne room gown hemmed with fur and glowing globes Now more than 100 original costumes from all six Star Wars movies are on display in the downtown gallery of the Fashion Insti tute of Design and Merchandising the whole wonderfully unwieldy weight of the Star Wars universe Feathered head dresses furry 8foot Wookiees Jedi kids in mini tabards and horned bluefaced beings wearing something like saddles on their shoulders The queens and handmaidens are in one room the pilots and soldiers in another and Jedi knights senators and bounty hunters make appearances too And then there are the fans who bought thousands of advance tickets and occasionally show iip dressed as stormtroopers themselves George Lucas the man who started it all was on hand too to inspect the show and attend a preview party earlier this month Adjusting a bead here a man nequin there he said that depicting the height of intergalactic style in the Star Wars prequel trilogy was so daunting he almost didnt make the films Clothing them was one of the biggest Lucas said because I didnt want the costumes to look designed I didnt want them to jump out at you Or to go back 20 years and look at the film and say Theyre Concept artists created vast visual guidebooks that illustrated life on every planet including the alphabet archi tecture vehicles and fashions Then designers began to imagine distinct styles for each character Costume designer Trisha Biggar led a crew of up to 120 artists including cos tume props supervisor Ivo Coveney and costume supervisor Nicole Young Though warriors and soldiers look the part mostly this is a world of royalty good guys and bad guys all dressed in variously opulent long and flowing sil houettes laden with quirky accessories In this world tailors embroiderers and velvet must have been cheap and plenti ful Photos by Christine Angeles Times Costumes from Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith on display at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Biggar chose many floorsweeping hemlines since we dont wear long everyday it removes it from the now or the known and But it is precisely that nod to the known that helped give the first Star Wars its iconic imagery Like most of the original Star Wars costumes the first Darth Vader was a mockup that costume designer John Mollo created from stock clothing Flis Darth Vader was pieced together from a World War n German helmet and gas mask a monks cloak a leather motor cycle undersuit and a metal medieval breastplate Mollos Luke Skywalker wore an orange flight suit that modem audiences may recall seeing on test pilots Those familiar items help the viewer bring a builtin association of good or evil to the characters a process that is more complicated in the later movies Coveney Biggar and their crews appear to have been burdened by a need to make every episode bigger better grander They juggle references from so many cultures Japanese geishas Eliz abethan and Jacobean England Samurai and medieval armor clerical vestments African prints and even Star Wars itself that you almost have to be a fanatic to know which look goes where Of course Biggar was well aware of the cultlike fervor surrounding the films Indeed it was the first Stars Wars that Coveney saw as a 12yearold that inspired him to pursue costuming You know people are going to put these things under intense Coveney said In fact a glossy book cataloging the films costumes Dressing a Galaxy The Costumes of Star Wars Insight Edi has just been released And last week many of Biggars designs actually went down a runway in a show of her work during New York Fashion Week By the Monday opening of the gallery show here several dozen fans including 20 in costume waited for the doors to open About 350 people attended open ing day and 3300 advance tickets had been purchased In the increasingly computergener ated movies the costumes remain one of the few handmade humanscale artifacts Standing inches from the cos tumes if s possible to appreciate the complex pleats layers and construction of Darth Mauls black cloak the majesty of the royal wardrobes and the wacky challenge of dressing a furry elephant sized alien in an opera gown Though Lucas is considering send ing the exhibit on tour in later years he hinted that theres one thing hed like that tour to include an Oscar Hopefully we will get a said Lucas referring to the Academy Awards Thats the biggest slap All this work and not even a nominatioa Indeed the Star Wars franchise has been nominated only once for a cos tume design Oscar since Mollo won the category with his cobbledtogcther wardrobe in 1977 Biggars clothes try to match the Star Wars phenomenon in grandeur With her precise construction rich fabrics and complex finishes the wardrobes have grown from simple costumes to theatrical couture Even the raggedy creatures are wearing supple chamois and nubby linens not some stiff rag Shes a master at combining fabrics which she customizes with every imag inable technique There will be many who revel in each stitch and even shell out for a lim ited edition of the costume book Fan MaryAlice Ladd flew from New York at 8 SUNDAY Oct 28 2005 The New Mexican magazine ;