The Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit “Star Wars And The Power of The Costume” Is Coming To the DIA

Nick Megdanoff, Writer

Star Wars, an element of pop culture that began in 1977 with the release of the first of many movies, is bringing a whole new universe to the world stage. This new universe came to life with a variety of special effects that show the different cultures and inhabitants of this universe through the smallest of details within the very costumes they wore. These thought out costumes led to the creation of the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit “Star Wars and The Power of The Costume,” coming to the Detroit Institute of Arts May 12. The exhibit will give a behind the scenes look at the creation of 70 different costumes used in the films.

“This is the third collaboration that we’ve had with Lucasfilm and we really wanted to look into how does your clothing make you,” Project Director of the exhibit Saul Drake said. “The type of clothing you wear sort of reflects the way you act, if you’re a good person or a bad person, your cultural background, what environment you come from. So, we really wanted to focus less on the characters and more on what do the costumes look like, what are they made of and how do they define the characters that are wearing them.”

The costumes in the exhibit will originate from every Star Wars film released until “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens”, displaying the iconic costumes and props of the characters used in the films.

“All the costumes in the show are actor worn and screen worn, so when you look at the Obi-Wan Kenobi costume in the beginning, it was actually worn by Alec Guinness,” Drake said. “Some of the other costumes, like Han Solo’s, Luke Skywalker’s and all the way up to the Episode VII costumes, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega’s costume, are all actor worn. Everything you see in the show are the original costumes these actors worn and that’s really cool right off the bat. It is interesting to see the costume designer, Trisha Biggar, who is mixing fabric, mixing embellishments from different time periods to actually create the costume that you’ll see in the show.”

The different origins for the costumes will be explained through behind the scene interviews of the teams that worked on them, ranging from the concept artists to the costume designers.

“There’s first hand quotes from George Lucas, Trisha Biggar, just some of the individuals who worked on the classic trilogy of movies.” Drake said. “There’s first hand accounts of how these costumes came to be and what were the influences that, not only George Lucas and his team sort of drew upon, but also the costume designers themselves. What kind of fabrics were they mining, where were they traveling to.”

Fans like senior Ethan Tiong will be able to learn more about these different costumes and dive deeper into the intertwinings of the Star Wars universe with this exhibit.

“I think it’s pretty cool, actually, being able to go deeper into the Star Wars universe, because it is such a big universe. It’s just pretty cool to find out more information about it,” Tiong said. “I grew up with it, and it’s made a huge impact on my life, so I consider it important to me. I definitely think the costumes are a part of that world, but I also think how Star Wars could very well happen, not anytime soon, but it could happen from how society will form and shape to be like that.”

The traveling exhibit will be at the Detroit Institute of Arts from May 12 – Sep. 30, letting fans see the costumes in person and learn about the different factors that led to their creation. Ticket prices will range from $6 – $14 depending on the age of the visitor. If this exhibit sounds interesting, make sure to hop in a landspeeder and race on over to the Smithsonian Institution’s “Star Wars and The Power of The Costume.”