Video: Forget blasters. Forget lightsabers. Forget navies and flotillas, and armies of clones and droids alike. Padmé Amidala’s wardrobe is the deadliest weapon in the galaxy far, far away, because these looks are killer.
The Star Wars Kids Channel’s “By the Numbers” series is one of the weirdest, most specific bits of official ephemera Lucasfilm puts out about Star Wars lately, a wonderful love letter to a) how archival obsession is endemic to the text of Star Wars itself and b) how wonderfully dorky that is in the first place.
Specifically, the many excellent and stylish looks of Padmé.
Turns out, across the three prequel movies, Padmé has a whopping 61 costume changes — although they kind of cheat a few such as counting Padmé getting her white Attack of the Clones jumpsuit conveniently clawed into a crop top as a costume change, as if Nexu claw wounds were a hot new accessory setting the Theed fashion elite into a fluster.
And, sadly, it doesn’t include any of Padmé’s looks from the Clone Wars animated series, which is a shame because she has some great ones there — I’ll always love her action-ready jumpsuit/vest look from that series; it’s an almost smuggler-esque aesthetic.
If we have to stick to the movies though, as much as I do love that caped Attack of the Clones Geonosis look — Padmé’s first ever Black Series action figure has it, and it’s perfect — I can’t help but go back to the iconic Padmé fashion era that was The Phantom Menace.
Whether it’s the ornate, vividly coloured robes she wears in Theed’s throne room, to the somewhat-more-practical-but-not-really battle gown she dons to liberate that same throne room in the film’s climax, Padmé’s fashion in TPM was striking and unlike anything we’d seen in Star Wars before, a refreshing and bold set of design choices in and among the film’s other attempts to marry themselves into the design hallmarks of the original films.
Say what you will about The Phantom Menace, but it’s crucial to what makes Star Wars great. Sure, it introduced lots of not-so-popular characters and concepts, but it balanced that out with even more things that, in the 20 years since its release, have aged quite gracefully.