Make Up in Film: Star Wars

by - Monday, January 16, 2012

When it comes to hair styles, in film, Princess Leia is without any shadow of a doubt, the owner of the most iconic hair do. It's a simple (ish) hair style that has been copied, parodied and appreciated (albeit sometimes ironically) pretty much ever since the first film was released.

Princess Leia, looking actually quite scary...!
However, Leia (Carrie Fisher) was not known for her makeup, in fact, it was quite minimal and hardly worth mentioning. No, in the world of Star Wars, the accolade for most iconic make up, has to go to her onscreen mother Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman).

Queen Amidala, looking also quite scary...!!
Around the time that The Phantom Menace was released, in 1999, I remember reading an article (where, I haven't a clue) that suggested that Amidala's look was sign on very different times, within the Star Wars galaxy. Whilst Leia's outfits and make up had been very subdued and without real "fashion", due to events that had been occurring in the lineage of the films. However, Amidala exists just before these events, when women presumably had more time for being fashionable.

This is of course all speculation, because I don't know George Lucas or what he ideas are/were, but to me, this makes perfect sense.

I also can't help noticing that the make up makes Amidala look so stern and scary. I also have a feeling that Amidala was one of very few (if not the only, I can't quite remember, so please correct me, if I'm wrong!) women on the Counsel, so was the makeup a way of creating a persona that was taken more seriously, in a world of men? I don't know, and can only really speculate.

Knowing a little about Amidala's covert use of decoys also make me wonder if the makeup was being used, by the character, as a sort-of mask to be used to deter the enemy. Again, I'm only speculating.

Amidala's look was completely juxtaposed to the look of alter-ego Padme, who's look and overall feel when it came to both makeup and costume, was closer to Princess Leia, but still somehow more fashionable, due to the colour schemes of her outfits, compared to Leia's generally white robes.

Padme, looking serious,
but not so scary!

Padme's makeup is a lot more natural, and allows us to see the character's real beauty, rather than one that is projected from the use of large amounts of makeup. The character is much more relaxed, in this get-up and so much more beautiful, in an elegant and stylish way.


One of the areas of Padme that intrigues me the most, is the elegant dresses that she wears when meeting the Senate. Considering that the world comes across as very futuristic, Padme's outfit appears to have roots a lot further back in history, and I really like that touch.

What do you think of Leia, Amidala and Padme's makeup and costume looks? Whose look do you prefer?





*I know that there are some real die-hard Star Wars fans out there, waiting to shred my facts and analysis apart. If I've made any factual errors regarding the films, please let me know. If you simply don't agree with my opinion, please keep comments civilised. Thank you.

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