Thursday, 17 April 2014

Costume Analysis: Gold Handmaiden part 1

After I've finished with my 1787 revolutionary I'm going to start concentrating on the Gold Handmaiden costume. I've been researching the costume for a long, long, time though, my first collection of reference pictures are from 2007. Before I start working on it, I'm going to collect some of my thoughts and plans for it here.

What costume is this?

True to myself I've once again managed to pic a costume that probably very few people have noticed, outside of the members of the Royal Handmaiden Society and dedicated Star Wars royalty costumers. It's one of few costumes with no representation in the Rebel Legion. I've seen one reproduction of it, back at Celebration IV in 2007, but I remember that it had taken a few shortcuts. I've still never seen a fan version that's tried to recreate it down to all the details.

The costume can actually be seen three times in the Star Wars Prequels.

First is in the very first scene with Queen Amidala in Episode I

This is a reason why it's some times called the throneroom handmaiden costume. Then it's scene at the end of Episode I, when Queen Amidala greets Senator Palpatine after the defeat of the Trade Federation.
Fun fact here is that two of the handmaidens here are unidentified, but I've actually asked and gotten confirmation from Nick Gillard, the stunt coordinator of the Star Wars prequels, that he's in one of the costumes.

It's seen a third time, in a blink and you miss it moment. In Episode III, when Anakin runs to meet Palpatine at the opera you can see two women dressed in this gown in the background.
This costume has also been part of at least two different travel exhibitions, I saw it in London in 2007 and in Örnsköldsvik 2008.
I'm not a photographer, so I've taken all my photos with a regular point and shoot camera, but I'm still impressed with the details that I've managed to capture. I had a strategy to try and zoom and click away, if I was lucky I would get something useful out of it, and I did.

In general it can be said that the costume consists of three parts
  • A velvet robe
  • A pleated gown
  • A wide sash or obi
I'm dead certain that the inspiration for the whole costume comes from the famous Delphos dresses created by Mariano Fortuny, they are also known as fortuny gowns.

Here is an original Delphos gown
And here is a photo from wikipedia where the gown is worn together with a loose robe.

Unfortunately it's unknown how Mariano Fortuny mainpulated the fabric to creat those special pleats.

Now we have identified the costume, in the next post I'm going to start going through the different parts of it.

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