One of the questions I regularly ask my Galactic Fashion guests is which Star Wars character outfit is their favorite. The answer that comes up the most? Padmé Amidala.
I was 13 years old when I first saw the trailer for The Phantom Menace and one of the scenes I connected with the most was Queen Amidala standing by a window in a stunning red gown. It’s one of my favorite dresses in her extensive wardrobe, so it was an absolute delight to see it and a portion of her collection in person at the Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit at Discovery Times Square in New York City.
“We, at the Smithsonian, love to tell stories,” said Saul Sopoci Drake, the exhibition project director at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). “We understand George Lucas and his pop cultural phenomena of Star Wars, but we wanted to dig a little bit deeper. So we thought it’d be great to partner up with Lucasfilm and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to put on a show about costumes. It’s very difficult to try and remove the characters in the franchise from the costumes because they’re so iconic, but what we really try to do is to get people to focus in on the costumes. Some of the costumes in this show are worn by characters for a fraction of the time in the movies, but I don’t really care about that. What I see is this really elaborate costume–the artistry, the craftsmanship–all of that is the story I’m interested in.”
And for many Star Wars fans out there, these are the kinds of stories you’ve been looking for. The exhibit takes you through 70 hand-crafted costumes from The Phantom Menace all the way up to a special presentation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and as you walk through, you’re met with the familiar sounds and songs from a galaxy far, far away. Along with interactive iPads, fabric swatches to brush your hands over, and mirrors that transform you into iconic Star Wars characters, the entire exhibition is a treat for fans of all ages.
My own experience at the exhibit exceeded expectations, especially when I was presented with the opportunity to meet C-3pO himself, Anthony Daniels.
When I asked him what the general experience was like for him on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Daniels said, “The atmosphere on the set was so exciting, so loving, so fun-filled–a complete joy every day. It’s still hard work, it’s still hot, and kind of uncomfortable [in the suit], and you’ve got to be patient and be able to do it over and over and over again. If the joy on the set comes through onto the screen, it’s going to be a very good film.”
And as for his character’s fate, he said, “Does Threepio survive? It’s rather of worrying. Someone said to me a while back, ‘What happens to C-3PO in the end?’ I was so shocked. I know I’m personally going to die one day, but Threepio? I still don’t have the answer. I don’t know what happens to him. I would hate to think of him vanishing in the corner somewhere. I don’t know because I’m very fond of him.”
The exhibition will be on display at Discovery Times Square through September 5, 2016. Purchase your tickets today! Also, make sure to follow SITES and Discovery Times Square on Twitter for the latest #StarWarsCostumes updates. Click through the image below to view my online gallery.