Star Wars: Fashion from a galaxy far, far away
Star Wars is the largest commercial empire in the history of cinema. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most hotly awaited film of the decade. It and its prequels have even become a kind of cultural heritage in the world of fashion.
The fact that Star Wars is a commercial empire is not down to the millions of movie fans who are now flocking to the world’s cinemas, but rather because the stories and aesthetics of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away spill over into many other areas of our lives: art, religion, philosophy and fashion, too, all feel the Force of Star Wars. Fashion and accessories brands from mass to niche producers, from the luxury leather jacket label Matchless to the cosmetics line CoverGirl, have all met Disney’s licencing requirements.
Yoda high heels
While other blockbusters have to be content with bedclothes and mugs as their merchandise, Disney has even authorized licences to high-class couture houses and designers who printed large-format film stills on their ready-to-wear creations – as Rodarte did in 2012. The watch label Nixon – originally from the surfer, skater and snowboarder scene – launched a Star Wars watch in August that soon became a bestseller. Even Peter Pilotto, the Austrian who works in England, designed a jumpsuit inspired by the Millennium Falcon, which to the delight of fans everywhere makes a comeback in the film this year. The label Irregular Choice then took the biscuit with shoes that have heels made of Yoda figurines.
Nicolas Ghesquière brought the subject back into the high-end fashion universe for Louis Vuitton. At the Bob and Dolores Hope Estate in the desert of Palm Springs, he presented the 2016 cruise collection which undoubtedly outs the designer as a fan of sci-fi. On the catwalk the collection – needless to say without a single Disney print – had the hallmarks of a creative sneak preview of the latest Star Wars release.
Star Wars liturgy
Since the release of the first Star Wars film in 1977, The Telegraph claims that sales of related merchandise have totalled some $32 billion. In comparison, Harry Potter’s $25 and James Bond’s $8 billion look like peanuts. The difference is simple: while Bond engaged Tom Ford and Omega for his costume design to draw the world of luxury design into the film reality, the Star Wars galaxy works the other way around by extending into our lives. Whether in Vienna’s MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, which asks us: “What Forces shape you?” Combined, of course, with a large show of memorabilia from the past trilogies (including Darth Vader’s original costume). Whether in Berlin’s Zionskirche church, which is celebrating a Star Wars liturgy complete with scenes from the 6th episode and associated music: after all, Luke Skywalker is considered a role model for having bravely resisted the dark side of the Force. Whether in England, where some 400,000 people have converted to Jediism. Or on the catwalks, where the creations and materials often look ahead to the future or back into the past of distant galaxies.
In full Star Wars regalia
We have found a couple of Star Wars outfits for the Austrian premiere in the current collections that work well as everyday wear in our solar system, too. At the Hollywood premiere even the white stormtroopers and the robots R2-D2 and C-3PO marched down the red carpet, surrounded by fans in full Star Wars regalia. Instead of chic suits and glamorous gowns, there were Yoda ears, Princess Leia plaits and Obi-Wan Kenobi habits. After all, it is a massive spectacle to see stars from the first trilogy – Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) – back on board at last.