Discover how the saga directed by George Lucas has influenced contemporary fashion and street style.
“A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away…“, and more precisely on 25 May 1977, a film was released in American cinemas that was destined to mark the destiny of cinema and fashion forever: Star Wars.
Forty-six years have passed since George Lucas threw open the doors of the Star Wars universe, catapulting the 1970s into an image of the future quite different from the one proposed by contemporary filmmakers, who until then had been following a series of almost funny futuristic clichés: such as silver suits with diagonal stripes, revisited warrior togas or strange jackets with improbable architecture.
Star Wars created a revolutionary aesthetic, disrupting the concept of science-fiction costumes themselves, and above all anticipating a radical moment in the fashion industry that would come at least two decades later.
The costumes of the Star Wars characters, so distinctive and masterfully structured, won the great costume designer John Mollo an Academy Awards. Since then, and for the first time in the history of society, it is the fashion industry that draws from the cinema, and not viceversa.
In turn, cinema draws from folklore: Lucas borrowed plot points and characters from Akira Kurosawa‘s samurai films, with their traditional Japanese costumes.
It is no coincidence that it was at this time that an emerging class of avant-garde Japanese fashion designers began experimenting with their country’s traditional clothes, becoming pioneers of what would shortly become Japanese sartorial Haute Couture: Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Kansai Yamamoto and Issey Miyake play with surreal shapes, with the deconstruction of fabrics, creating looks reminiscent of Star Wars costumes, but much less menacing.
The Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, the Jedi and even Chewbacca have functioned as a recurring source of inspiration for the industry, found so many times in collections from the late 1970s to the present that to mention them all would be impossible.
We will limit ourselves to mentioning the fashion shows that have somehow left a particularly significant imprint on the industry, such as Thierry Mugler’s 1979 show, characterised by metallic dresses and accessories ‘Star Wars syndrome’, as the New York Times called it: pleated silhouettes, semi-rigid architecture on gold and silver jackets and skirts, impossibly scaffolded hairstyles and exaggerated make-up.
In 1999, it was Yves Saint Laurent who was inspired by the ‘Phantom Menace‘ for his Beauty collection dedicated to Princess Padmé Amidala, played by Natalie Portman, who was also the testimonial for the campaign; while in 2012, it was Nicolas Ghesquière at the helm of Balenciaga who dressed the models in headdresses that he said were inspired by Irving Penn’s photographs, but looked much more like the soldiers of the dark side of the force led by Dath Vader.