Star Wars costume to go on display in V&A Dundee

24 August 2018

V&A Dundee will celebrate the work of Scottish costume designer Trisha Biggar by displaying a gown from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

The intricately embroidered dress, inspired by vintage Paisley pattern material, was worn by Natalie Portman’s character Padmé Amidala and features an ornate copper plated headdress and burgundy silk cloqué coat.

Biggar, from Glasgow, spent eight years leading the team responsible for creating some of the most memorable costumes in film while working on the Star Wars™prequel trilogy. She was involved in the design of everything from Jedi robes to CGI clothing for characters such as Jar Jar Binks.

Known as the travel disguise costume, the gown that will be displayed in the new museum was worn by Padmé as she secretly travelled with Anakin Skywalker to her home planet of Naboo.

Biggar took inspiration from a Paisley pattern swatch she found in Glasgow for the textile design. The mustard dress, collar and cuffs feature floral shapes and motifs embroidered in burgundy and green, reminiscent of the piece of vintage material. The distinctive shape of the garment was influenced by Russian folk costumes.

Trisha Biggar said: “The V&A is my favourite museum and my first port of call whenever I’m in London. I’m thrilled there will be a V&A in Dundee and am delighted that one of my costumes is going to be on display in it.

“By the time we were constructing the costumes for Star Wars I had collected a large quantity of vintage fabrics and trims, a lot sourced in Glasgow, to decorate and embellish the elaborate pieces being created. The textile design of this gown was inspired by a vintage Paisley pattern swatch. Around three quarters of all Padmé dresses have got a touch of Scottish vintage on them somewhere.

“Everything for every planet and culture was being created anew. We used references and drew on a multitude of influences from all over the world, from every culture, country, civilisation and period, mixing them up to shape new fashions. By reinterpreting ideas and drawing on history the audience would – albeit subliminally – recognise and identify with the myriad of Star Wars styles.”

Biggar started her career in costume by chance after a family friend suggested she apply for a summer job sewing costumes at Pitlochry Festival Theatre in Perthshire.

From there she went on to work at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow before studying costume at Wimbledon College of Arts. She worked with Lucasfilm Ltd on the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, created, co-written and produced by George Lucas, before being asked to take part in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Biggar continues to live in Scotland and has worked all over the world designing costumes for film and television. She will soon begin working on the next series of Outlander.

The Star Wars gown is being loaned to V&A Dundee for six months from The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, currently under construction in Los Angeles, California.

Joanna Norman, Director of the V&A Research Institute and Lead Curator of the Scottish Design Galleries, said: “This beautiful costume designed by Trisha Biggar will be displayed in the section of our Scottish Design Galleries that represents the power of design in storytelling.

“This dress is fascinating, like all of Trisha’s Star Wars costumes, because it includes so many different elements and draws on a range of influences to convey the otherworldly qualities of the Star Wars world through its costumes.

“V&A Dundee aims to display the unexpected, tell lesser known design stories and celebrate ingenuity. Many visitors to the new museum will have no idea that the costumes for the Star Wars prequel trilogy were designed by a Scottish designer, or that they include references to the country’s rich design heritage.”

V&A Dundee is Scotland’s first design museum, an international centre for design and a place of inspiration, discovery and learning.

Alongside a programme of changing exhibitions, the Scottish Design Galleries will show the deep talent, inventiveness and entrepreneurship of Scottish design from the 15th century to today.

V&A Dundee opens on Saturday 15 September 2018.