I remember the moment Queen Amidala first appeared on screen in The Phantom Menace. I thought to myself, “Her hair! Her makeup! What is she wearing?” I gasped, a little perplexed and confused in the beginning, but was shortly after struck with awe and a sense of obsession for this character who looked and dressed like no one I’ve ever seen before (and I’ve watched a lot of weird anime, mind you).
There’s no doubt about it: Star Wars isn’t a “geek-only” phenomenon. It’s become an influential pop culture force that has triumphantly made its way into fashion in the form of street style, runway inspiration, and even beauty pegs through the years. All thanks to the collaborative work between George Lucas and costume designers John Mollo (original trilogy) and Trisha Biggar (prequels), Star Wars was able to create the best dressed sci-fi characters to ever appear on screen. And, I dare say, Padme Amidala tops that list in effortless fashion—not Leia, not Rey, not even Vice Admiral Holdo from The Last Jedi despite her scene-stealing Givenchy-inspired draped gown.
Since it’s May the Fourth, we give tribute to the reigning galactic queen of style and prove to you why Padme is a formidable fashion force to reckon with.
1. She never compromises style for comfort.
Try to recall a moment in Star Wars history when Padme went into battle looking lazy or drab. Never. Not once. In that iconic battle on Geonosis, where she beat the odds and saved both Anakin Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi, Padme opted for an all-white catsuit with a matching wool cloak. Monochromatic and oh-so chic!
Even in the 3D animated Star Wars series Clone Wars, Padme never looked like she simply rolled out of bed and decided to wear “some clothes” at random. The queen-turned-politician always made sure she looked great—whether inside the senate or on the battlefield.
2. She uses fashion as a weapon.
Palme knows that a great sense of style can command a room. If you haven’t noticed, she’s quite strategic with her fashion choices. As a senator in Attack of The Clones, Padme showed us different sides of herself style-wise.
The persisitent and brave politician:
… and the vulnerable refugee:
At some point, also a seductress:
Each look defined a moment in the film, all of which were beautifully communicated through these costumes. Whether she was out to sway Anakin’s feelings or she just wanted to be a steadfast figure of the republic, Padme knew what was best to wear and when in order to get her message across.
3. She always thinks about her overall look.
Not only did Padme have an iconic wardrobe; she had iconic hairstyles that went with it! From messy braids, to full-on curls, to half ponytails with knots and buns here and there, and even geometric French buns—Senator Amidala never ran out of pretty ways to showcase her tresses whenever she was on screen.
Even in death, Padme is a vision.
And might we add, she never wore anything ill-fitting.
We dare you to screencap a moment and find it!
4. Her style is a unique combination of avant-garde, romantic, and oriental—a rare mix that oddly works.
Star Wars creator George Lucas admitted that he was heavily influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s movies, hence the very subtly Japanese and oriental feel to the entire dress code in the galaxy far, far away.
Which brings us to Padme’s royal attire as Queen of Naboo that was oversized and kimono-like to some extent. Her beauty look was also a remix of traditional geisha makeup reimagined for a sci-fi setting. Then she moved on to more medieval-inspired dresses as the films progressed, eventually slipping into more svelte pre-Raphaelite silhouettes with futuristic accents. In a way, Padme’s style has a penchant for contrasts that work, mainly because she pulls it off so well.
Padme's wedding dress is a vision in lace.
There is not one scene in the movies where you would think she looks ridiculous in those clothes. Rather, she’s a scene-stealer, making people's heads turn no matter who they are, Jedi or Sith Lord alike. Much praise to Natalie Portman for really embodying the crcharacter with poise, and fully understanding how much Padme’s wardrobe is Padme herself.
5. She perfectly symbolizes a woman of style and substance in a galaxy (and genre) of male heroes.
Padme’s legacy did not stop when she was queen. She managed to juggle a successful and uncorrupted political career as a senator, be a spy for the Jedi, wage battle when needed, try to convince her dark-side possessed husband to turn good while being pregnant—all while looking like she was dressed in the crème de la crème of couture! Yes, SHE DID THAT.
What I like is the fact that her character showed no signs of insecurities, gender-wise. Being in a room of male politicians or Jedi or clones, never stopped her nor bothered her to do what needed to be done. Feelings be damned! She didn’t warrant attention nor lived for it, she was strong just because she is.
So when you ask the question, “Why can’t a woman be stylish, intelligent, powerful, opinionated, and loving all at the same time?” Padme proves you can, even when the galaxy is going to ruin. If that’s not the most powerful fashion statement in the universe, than what is?