Sure, ‘The Phantom Menace’ ruined Star Wars for a lot of people, but not for me. My earliest Star Wars memory comes from leaving the theatre after seeing the flick thinking I had just watched the coolest movie ever. I loved the podrace, Queen Amidala and the (brief) final battle against Darth Maul. Most of all, I loved the costumes. Being just six-years old, the costumes helped tell the story and explain the characters I couldn’t understand all too well.
Even if I wasn’t old enough then to appreciate Star Wars on its own merits, the costumes were enough to start my admiration for the entire saga. That’s why when I learned that the ‘Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume’ exhibit was showing in New York City, I knew I had to go!
As a traveling exhibit showcasing costumes from all seven films spanning 30 years, it can only make it out to certain areas. And since everyone can’t go, I thought I’d share a play-by-play of my experience–it’ll be like we went together!
10:10 AM: My day started like any other since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with a swipe of my Star Wars Cover Girl lipstick. You know, the nameless red one? Mhm, that one! I opted out of wearing any of my Star Wars merch to wear my favorite pants and break in some new boots.
I feel like I’m going to regret that decision.
11:05 AM: I don’t. I let my friend Allison, who will be joining me, know that I am on my way and that I’m running a little behind because I was duct taping my heels to prevent blisters. (UPDATE: IT WORKS!)
11:55 PM: We meet in front of the exhibit and practically run inside.
12:02 PM: After handing over our tickets, we are guided to the entrance of the exhibit to wait for admission. Above us is a quote from Mr. George Lucas himself. Before we get a chance to talk about any more of Lucas’ other quotes ( you know what I’m talking about), we are let into a dark room.
12:09 PM: We are told we are going to watch a brief introductory clip before we are able to roam around free for as long as we want. I clench my heart.
A Few Minutes Later: The clip finishes and to everyone’s surprise–a hologram of Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan appears. I hear the children behind me squeal with excitement and it gets me more pumped.
The lights go on– the door on the left, that I’ve been eyeing on and off during the clip, opens.
The Queen’s regal gown. I am aware that I am just moments into the exhibit, but I declare it the best exhibition I have ever seen. EVER.
The gown is more spectacular and even tinier than I imagined for 16-year-old Natalie Portman. It’s beautiful. I cry. And while I am already incredibly satisfied, I move on to the rest of the show.
Did you know the lights along this gown’s hem were powered by a car battery? Crazy, right? The more you know.
We enter another room also filled with Episode I frocks. I immediately hear lightsaber sounds, but it takes me a minute to realize that they are triggered by the coordinating buttons that you can press on the display. Bdzzeeeeeeew~
Young Jedi. Young Padawan.
12:14 PM: Going into the exhibit, I expected to just see clothes and props, so droids were not on my radar! But since they were costumes, it made sense for them to have their own room. BB-8 was there too–It was a lovely surprise!~
12:16 PM: The moment I’ve been waiting for, the royal wardrobe! I lay eyes on Princess Leia and Queen Amidala’s gowns simultaneously and–WOW! They’re more beautiful than you can possibly imagine.
Next, is more of Amidala and her handmaiden’s wardrobe!
We were able to touch the fabrics used to make up these wardrobes which made not being able to try these on a whole lot easier to cope with.
12:22 PM: We enter a dim lighted hallway consisting of mirrors and Stormtrooper helmets that lead us to wardrobe from the original trilogy!
We then see a case of lightsabers that put the one I bought from Toys R Us 8-years-ago to shame. Close up, I was able to notice the significant differences between each one.
12:26 PM: Next is the Senators’ Wardrobe which was beautifully displayed with ringed lighting behind each mannequin!
Notice the final red light over Palpatine!
12:29 PM: I pose next to a carbonite frozen Han solo before squealing at the surprise sighting of a ewok at the next turn.
12:31 PM: The infamous metal bikini! Knowing the history of Carrie Fisher’s experience in it made seeing the costume in the flesh less enjoyable, but it was still amazing to be 5-feet away from it.
Up next, one of my favorite looks from the prequels that I never imagined would be on display here! Since you know, it was only shown for a few minutes.
12:34 PM: Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly lose it. I completely lose it.
Every important Padme look ever! The mirrors were a great touch to see the back of the costumes that totally kept my temptation to climb over the barriers to myself.
D’awww! Too bad it doesn’t work out.
Allison gets a peek of the next room and then immediately turns to me and says, “Oh my god–get ready!”
I wasn’t ready. While Padme’s funeral scene was brief, it was one of my favorite gowns and scenes of the prequels. It was even more beautiful in person! The only thing was– I never knew she had party ribbon in her hair.
She totally had party ribbon in her hair!
Yoda it is!
12:40 PM: I appropriately pose for a force choke photo that will stay in my phone forever.
12:45 PM: Sadly, the exhibit comes to an end with a The Force Awakens costumes display. Had I not seen photos on my Instagram feed from friends who attended the event, I would have never guessed to see these costumes at the exhibit.
It is a great finale.
Right next to the final display is an interactive game that allows you to use the force to turn yourself from overly excited fan into Stormtrooper extraordinaire. I, of course, made my buckethead pose with their blaster on their hip.
12:50 PM: We make our way down the stairs and into the gift shop where I clench my wallet and make some moves. Although, the Star Wars x Loungefly collaboration and “Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy” were tempting–I manage to go home without them!
I have to say, this exhibition was without a doubt my favorite that Discovery Times Square has ever shown. Every time I turned a corner, I had no idea what to expect! Not only were 70 hand-crafted costumes from all Star Wars films on display, but each costume’s connection to the character was explained. Everything I wondered as a child was answered. Which was amazing as someone who appreciates cosplaying, to learn how the costume came about.
Not to mention, there were no staff rushing or intensely watching you to make sure you were on your best behavior which made taking it all in more comfortable.
The “Star Wars and the Power of Costume Exhibition” runs at Discovery Times Square through Sept. 5, 2016 and will then move to the Denver Museum of Art for a November opening. So if you’re in NYC, I say you have to go! But if you can’t make it, I hope this recap made you feel like you were right there!