Star Wars and the Power of Costume Exhibit

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After Celebration ended I decided to keep the Star Wars feeling going by making a trip up to Seattle for the Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit currently running at the EMP Museum.  The exhibit features original costumes from all 6 Star Wars movies and explores the creation of and influences of the iconic Star Wars costumes.  As a Star Wars costumer there was no way I could resist this exhibit.

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I’ve been to the EMP before and always found their exhibits to be different than a typical museum.  The museum itself is one half dedicated to music, especially the music of the Seattle area, and the other half dedicated to pop culture with exhibits covering sci-fi, horror, fantasy, gaming and more.  It’s a very unique museum.

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As you make your way into the museum you are greeted by a display of Boba and Jango Fett’s costumes from Return of the Jedi and Attack of the Clones respectively.  These costumes are behind glass, but are encased and displayed in such a way that you can get very close to them to inspect the details.  These are just a taste of what is in the main exhibit.

Immediately upon entering the exhibit hall you are greeted by the classic Cantina Band music.  It’s a reminder that while this is a museum, this is also something fun for all to enjoy.  The entrance hall also contains the first display, a Yoda puppet used in rehearsals.  It’s a Yoda that is much closer to his Muppets roots than the Jedi Master we are all familiar with.

Puppet Yoda

Entering the main exhibit you are greeted by several displays including Queen Amidala’s iconic red dress from the beginning of The Phantom Menace and Old Ben’s Jedi robes from A New Hope.

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Each piece has a card explaining which character is presented, along with details regarding the construction and design of the piece.  The costumes are presented with minimal glass fronts and many costumes are able to be viewed from a wide variety of angles.

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Most of the costumes are presented in a thematically, we see young Anakin’s Jedi robes from the finale of The Phantom Menace alongside Luke’s Jedi robes from Return of the Jedi.

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There is the Jedi vs. Sith display with Luminara Unduli and Mace Windu’s robes posed in mock combat against the Emperor’s cloak from Return of the Jedi.

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The ornate dresses of The Phantom Menace compared to Leia’s more simplistic and iconic white dress.

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Even an original Threepio and Artoo are on display.

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There is more to this than just displays of the original costume pieces.  There are also reprints of original concept artwork from designers like Doug Chiang and Ralph McQuarrie alongside examples of native costume, dress and artwork that inspiration was pulled from.

Wall Display

A majority of the exhibit is focused on the costumes of the prequel trilogy, which seems fairly obvious since those costumes are the most readily available and the most visually interesting.  However, that’s not to say the original trilogy is neglected.  One of the most interesting for me was an original set of Stormtrooper armor from Return of the Jedi.

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Getting to see all of these costumes up close was incredible, not only from a costumer point of view but also as a fan.  The symbolism and design work that went in is highlighted.  Even casual fans can see the deeper meanings and work that went into the saga.  All in all this was a fantastic exhibit and seemed to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.  My only complaint was that I wanted more.  I know that there enough different Star Wars costumes to do many exhibits like this, but I feel like this one hit the majority of the most important costumes of the saga.

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Star Wars and the Power of Costume runs until October 4th at the EMP Museum in Seattle.

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