Designing Costumes for ‘Star Wars’ Jedis, Princesses and Naked Creatures

Designing Costumes for ‘Star Wars’ Jedis, Princesses and Naked Creatures


How many costumes did you design for “The Last Jedi”?

More than a thousand. And they’re all individually made, all in different fabrics. They needed dresses and gloves and jewelry. You can’t go out and buy clothes for “Star Wars.” We had a milliner. It was like M.G.M. in the ’30s. We had hats made, gloves made. We had people just making jewelry for this one sequence. The creatures would come to us naked, and we would dress them.

Were the creatures anatomically correct?

No comment.

Which was your favorite “Star Wars” costume?

Photo

The ninja-inspired Praetorian Guards on the red carpet.

Credit
Danny Moloshok/Reuters

Praetorian guard. We looked at 1950s muscle cars. The costumes had to be on stuntmen who were fighting very hard. They use weapons and they need to have complete range of motion. And if these guys fall, you don’t want the armor cracking. And the helmets look like they have no way of seeing, but there’s actually tiny slits, and they can see out perfectly well. They’re very samurai, very Japanese, but very clean. Very “Star Wars.”

The Academy tends to reward period pieces for costume. Does that annoy you?

They don’t love science fiction. I don’t see it changing. Even the original “Blade Runner,” which didn’t have all the characteristics of a science fiction film, was still totally disregarded. And look what it has become. And with sequels, I think they think it’s already designed. It’s done.

I do find it a bit odd, because when you’re doing a period piece you can do research. You can look at costumes that someone else made. But with the future you’re actually blazing new territory.

What was Carrie Fisher like to work with?

She commented on everything. But whenever she was talking, there was laughter. She referred to her costume in Episode 7 as her Sunoco gas station attendant costume. For “The Last Jedi,” the director Rian Johnson wanted her to look more regal. I got a really lovely letter from him, saying, “You made her look so beautiful in these costumes for her final film.” It meant a lot.

Photo

Carrie Fisher, center, on the set of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with the director Rian Johnson, left.

Credit
David James/Lucasfilm

Are you inspired by current fashion trends?

I don’t look at fashion magazines unless I’m doing a contemporary movie and the actress is wearing something very trendy. The last time I was influenced by fashion for a movie was looking back to the ’60s, when I was doing “Star Trek,” seeing Courrèges and Pierre Cardin and trying to harken back to that period when “Star Trek” was developed. I actually did the same for “Star Wars.”

Would you ever design a line of clothing yourself?

I really don’t have an opinion of what other people should wear. Marc Jacobs always says to me, “I could never do what you do.” And I say to him, “Of course you could, but I could never do what you do.”

Tell me something I don’t know about “The Last Jedi.”

The first rule of “Star Wars” is you don’t talk about “Star Wars.”

The interview has been edited and condensed.



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