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Women's Fashion / Vintage Style

Princess Leia: Sci-fi Pin-Up

In this column, AnOther takes a retrospective look at the style icons of the past

Princess Leia
Princess Leia

In anticipation of Star Wars day, AnOther takes a lesson in futuristic style from Princess Leia

With her white Grecian gowns, cinnamon bun hair twists and blaster guns, Princess Leia has long been an iconic male fantasy. Ever since Carrie Fisher stepped out as Leia in her copper-plated bra and red silk loincloth bikini, or since Rachel famously reenacted this scene for Ross during Friends, she has stood as a cult hero for sci-fi pin ups, oozing charm and attitude.

Star Wars came out in 1977, telling an intergalactic story of love and conflict in a galaxy far far away. The only female lead in George Lucas’ all-star cast, Leia manages to exude sex appeal, power and undeniable cool. She lead the way for the Bella Swans and Lara Crofts of future generations as she set forth across the final frontier wearing a white senatorial gown designed by John Mollo, accessorised by geometric cuffs and belt and a silver Lapponia necklace. Her metal bikini, worn in Return of the Jedi, was inspired by Fantastic Story Magazine’s cover illustrator Earle K. Bergey’s drawing of women in metallic underwear. “If you stood behind me you could see straight to Florida,” Fisher later joked. “You'll have to ask Boba Fett about that." Other outfits included her all-white Margiela-esque hunting look worn with grey-wedge boots and braided hair.

"She is a cult hero for sci-fi pin ups, oozing charm and attitude"

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi
Rodarte sought direct influence from Star Wars this season, with oversized prints of R2-D2, Luke Skywalker and Tatoonie sunsets emblazoned across their A/W14 silk chiffon gowns. The Rodarte sisters have confessed that they are proud sci-fi fans, with previous collections paying homage to medieval fantasies (see S/S13) and Japanese horror films (A/W08). Hussein Chalayan’s S/S06 show echoed Leia, as the audience sat on plastic-bag seats as models in spacey white collars and cape-hems walked the runway, while Lacoste cited her as an inspiration for A/W09. Her dewy skin and high-shine lips have also become a beauty reference in their own right, directly inspiring Creatures of the Wind A/W14. “She always had perfect lip gloss,” commented make-up artist James Boehmer, “no matter what happened.”

Text by Mhairi Graham

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