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Dressing A Galaxy: The Costumes Of Star Wars
Trisha Biggar
InsightEditions / Harry N. Abrams hardcover $50

review by Amy Harlib

Born in Scotland with training and experience gained in the UK, costume designer Trisha Biggar, with a preface by George Lucas and a foreword by Rick McCallum, pens the text for Dressing A Galaxy: The Costumes Of Star Wars - a large-format, glossy, coffee table tome. It reveals just how truly dazzling and spectacular her sartorial efforts were, adding so much to the visual splendour and power of the images of the Star Wars prequel trilogy of films. In these pages, Ms Biggar does not neglect to give nods to the apparel designs of the original trio of Star Wars productions, describing how important it was to use them for reference and inspiration and continuity guides for her work.
Divided into six chapters: Jedi vs. Sith; Royalty; Military Wear; The Galactic Senate; Slaves, Rogues and Bounty Hunters; and Padme's Journey followed by the author's filmography, a costume index and acknowledgements, Biggar offers the first in-depth presentation of Star Wars fashions and provides a detailed behind-the-scenes account of their creation for The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, and Revenge Of The Sith. Biggar gives full credit to director George Lucas, her assistants and large construction crew plus colleagues in the make-up and prop departments, conceptual artists and of course - the performers. All collaborated to bring the wonders of the Star Wars universe to cinematic life.

Graced with more than 300 full-colour photos and illustrations from the Lucasfilm archives, portraying characters and costumes from the entire Star Wars sextet, the book primarily and of necessity focuses on Biggar's contributions the Episodes I, II, and III - each film requiring hundreds of garments that needed to be handcrafted at least three times over. Reinforcing the amazing visual impact of the Star Wars oeuvre, this volume, in and of itself, is spectacular, presenting numerous, exquisitely photographed full-body portraits of the actors resplendently attired for their roles with many close-ups of details documenting the care that went not only into the stars' clothing, but also into that for supporting, minor and even background players - each costume being a work of true artistry.

Besides the fabulous photos, the book includes views of animated CG personages in their virtual ensembles. Enhancing Biggar's descriptions of her modus operandi, commentaries by Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and other performers provide intriguing insights about how it felt to be clad in those ingenious and beautiful creations.

Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) Museum and Galleries in Los Angeles, Dressing A Galaxy stands solidly on its own, offering a uniquely fascinating textual and visual experience. A testimony to Trisha Biggar's imaginative genius, elegant taste and mastery of her craft, the contents of this book provides an essential treat for Star Wars fans, professional or amateur costumers and fashion designers and anyone who loves exquisite fabrics and their decoration. Worth its hefty price, this hefty tome rewards repeated gazing at the wonderful talent displayed within its pages and will make encore encounters with the films much more entertaining (a deluxe, very expensive special edition of this book is also available featuring lots of extra goodies).
Dressing a Galaxy: the Costumes of Star Wars

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