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Costumes From A Galaxy Far, Far Away On View In St. Petersburg

Nov 13, 2017

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg hopes to attract both Star Wars fans and fashionistas to their newest exhibition.

"Star Wars, and the Power of Costume" opens this weekend for members of the museum and on Monday for the general public.

The show takes visitors inside the creative process of designing costumes for iconic characters from Darth Vader to Chewbacca. It features more than 60 costumes from the first seven Star Wars movies along with sketches and photographs.

Original Star Wars costume designer John Mollo said that one glance at a character should communicate their essence. 

To create the earliest concepts for Darth Vader, Star Wars creator George Lucas told a designer that he wanted the character to look like "a dark lord riding on the wind" with black flowing robes, and a large helmet like that of a Japanese samurai warrior.

The museum’s Executive Director Kristen Shepherd said Star Wars is an important cultural touchstone across generations.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to present the artistry of these costume designs at the MFA," she said. "Design is a critical element in narrative art forms, including film, and these are some of the most significant costumes in film history.”

Jorge Vidal, Special Projects Manager for the museum says he can remember the first time he saw the original Star Wars movie.

"I immediately knew that it was something different,” he said. “It's a great story,  right? It's a big story. It's more than just war. There's love and family mixed in there too. It's managed to hold our imaginations for forty years, so I think they're relevant characters for us."

The Museum of Fine Arts partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to bring the show to St. Pete.

The Smithsonian's Jennifer Schommer said the exhibit offers a glimpse into the mind of Star Wars creator George Lucas and his creative team.

"From one man's ideas, through to his work with the concept artists, to the costume designer who has to figure out: What are the fabrics? What are the materials?” she said. “That's what we want to do with this exhibition, to inspire people."

"Star Wars and the Power of Costume" is on view through April 1 at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Entries to the exhibit are timed every 20 minutes on the hour.