The Bloomingdale’s Star Wars Fashion Collection: Conceptually Dull, but Mostly Interesting

Star Wars "Force 4 Fashion" at the Skylight Modern in NYC, photographed by Larry Busacca/Getty Images via StarWars.com

This month, various fashion designers—Cynthia Rowley, Billy Reid, Diane von Furstenberg, Giles Deacon, Halston, Opening Ceremy, Ovadia & Sons, Parker, Rag & Bone, Timo Weiland, and Todd Snyder—created looks inspired by the new Star Wars movie. The looks specifically range in inspiration from BB-8, Rey, Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, the Stormtrooper armor, Finn, and Chewbacca. The looks will be a part of Bloomingdale’s “Force 4 Fashion” holiday charity auction.

The charity event opened December 3rd and was featured in the windows of Bloomingdale’s NYC location. Bloomingdale’s began accepting bids on December 3rd and winning bidders were announced on December 12th with proceeds going to Child Mind Institute, an institute that serves children and families dealing with mental illness and learning disorders.

We of WWAC’s Lifestyle section are pretty excited to see geek franchises serve as inspiration for high-end fashion; if the results are less than appealing, more still will surely satisfy. This set of looks features some truly inspired looks and some not so inspired. As one of WWAC’s resident fashion geeks (we have several on staff), I’mma break ’em down for you.

First of all, let’s talk the inspiration. Star Wars is a pretty huge verse with movies, books, and comics—there’s a lot to draw from. However, judging by this collection, it seems the inspiration was limited to specific characters, or in the case of the Stormtroopers, a group of characters. While this certainly offers a wealth of graphic inspiration, I find this limitation conceptually dull. For example, even CoverGirl, a more affordable beauty line, went more conceptual in their Star Wars make-up line, which was less character dependent and more about the Light Side versus the Dark Side. Either way, the collection is a range of very literal (read: uninspired) designs to designs that simultaneously echo their own vision with a Star Wars edge. So, let’s proceed! To see the original sketches, click here.

Halston

Inspired by Kylo Ren

I’m a sucker for the glamour and fantasy of fashion. Both Halston’s and Parker’s looks hit this mark. Let’s start with Halston, which created a look inspired by Kylo Ren.

This is one of my favorites, because the aesthetic is true to Halston’s glamorous minimalism while also echoing Kylo Ren’s head-to-toe look. In some ways, the design is quite literal: if you look at the UK Stamp for a good visual of Kylo Ren’s helmet design, you can see the same silver lines in the Halston head piece. Further, look at Adam Driver’s Vanity Fair publicity shot: the look is simple and efficient—layers for warmth, but there’s still an echo of the foreboding and grandiose elements of Vadar’s and the Emperor’s costumes from the original films. If you look at the sketch, you can get a better idea of the back of the dress and how it is held up. It’s pure old school Hollywood glamour, but the sheer paneling adds a modern element that balances the vintage aspects of the design. It makes me think of a Kylo Ren as a femme fatale in a contemporary period piece about 1940s international spies starring Cate Blanchett.

Parker

Inspired by Captain Phasma

First of all: sparkly jumpsuit! How can you not love a sparkly jumpsuit?! I adore that this is a glamorous echo of Captain Phasma’s super-shiny armour, and the headpiece that wraps around the entire head adds a unique touch that pairs well with the offbeatness of a sparkly jumpsuit. To me, this sort of motif is, on first view, far more inspired than the next Captain Phasma inspired look.

Giles

Inspired by Captain Phasma

Star Wars "Force 4 Fashion" at the Skylight Modern in NYC, photographed by Larry Busacca/Getty Images via ladynerd.com
Star Wars “Force 4 Fashion” at the Skylight Modern in NYC, photographed by Larry Busacca/Getty Images via ladynerd.com

I found this design boring—a dress with a Captain Phasma print? Yawn. But then you put this dress on a statuesque, badass lady like, say Gwendolyn Christie, and magic happens:

And you can see, this dress is about the movement. These pictures instantly changed my mind about this dress. Considering that Captain Phasma is a woman (who wears armour without breast shaped chest plates), I love the idea of this dress as allowing for movement like swift kicks and power stances.

Diane von Furstenberg

Inspired by Rey

Like the Halston look, Diane von Furstenberg’s design embodies the designer’s aesthetic while make its cinematic reference point clear.

This is chic working gal—of the kind that Furstenberg caters to. The silhouette is very similar to Rey’s (which is very similar to Luke’s—see the side-by-side comparison from VanityFair.com). Then there’s the 1970s feel to this jumpsuit that I adore. It references the era when the first film debuted, when we got an ass-kicking princess in the form of Princess Leia, but who eventually came to be largely represented in Star Wars fashion and merchandise by a slave bikini she wore for only a brief time in one of the three original films. Furstenberg’s is a powerful woman who doesn’t reject a feminine aesthetic—much like Carrie Fisher, who requested an aesthetic change, which resulted in the slave bikini because she wanted to be perceived as womanly, but also coached Daisy Ridley with, “Don’t be a slave like I was … keep fighting against that slave outfit.”

Rag & Bone

Inspired by Kylo Ren and Rey

Rag & Bone’s designs are another standout, based in how they represent the fashion brand and Star Wars simultaneously.

This is urban and chic, with an obvious hip-hop legacy to the aesthetic. What I like about these two designs is that they remind me that Star Wars costume design, at least what I can tell by the promotional material, has been updated to reflect, in particular, changing gender roles. Rey wears an outfit that references Luke, but that is also functional to her role in the film, and the Rag & Bones are similarly modern designs that reflect changing gender roles and use hip-hop fashion as a point of inspiration.

Ovadia & Sons vs. Opening Ceremony

Inspired by Stormtroopers

Star Wars "Force 4 Fashion" Opening Ceremony and Ovadia & Sons designs at the Skylight Modern in NYC, photographed by Larry Busacca/Getty Images via Quartz.
Star Wars “Force 4 Fashion” Opening Ceremony and Ovadia & Sons designs at the Skylight Modern in NYC, photographed by Larry Busacca/Getty Images via Quartz.

Yet again, with Opening Ceremony’s design (the first two images above), we have a very literal interpretation of a Stormtrooper. So why not just wear the real thing? But consider Ovadia & Son’s design, to the right. This is something you could wear! People may not get the inspiration, but when they do, or when they ask, it becomes one of those delightful moments of, “Oh, yeah!” The Ovadia & Son’s design is inspired, utilitarian chic.

Todd Snyder and Billy Reid

Inspired by Chewbacca

Star Wars "Force 4 Fashion" Todd Snyder and Billy Reid's designs at the Skylight Modern in NYC, photographed by Larry Busacca/Getty Images via Quartz.
Star Wars “Force 4 Fashion” Todd Snyder and Billy Reid’s designs at the Skylight Modern in NYC, photographed by Larry Busacca/Getty Images via Quartz.

Look closely, because you might miss that these are two different designs. The texture is similar, the colour too, but the cuts are vastly different. The first two images, Todd Snyder’s designs, are for the rugged guy—but one with a sense of humor and no irony about wearing a Chewbacca inspired coat. Billy Reid’s is a sleeker peacoat for the more urbanite Star Wars geek. Both designs are very current, and fun takes on Chewbacca with a lovely attention to subtle detail.

Timo Weiland

Inspired by Finn

I mean, it’s nice. It is clearly referencing the jacket which Finn wears in the above scene. Actually, the jacket in the movie is better. Should have stuck with the original and just auctioned that off.

Cynthia Rowley

Inspired by BB-8

And finally, we end with Cynthia Rowley’s more whimsical take on BB-8. How can you not be whimsical about droids like these? Adorable. Also, there’s a total Speed Racer vibe.

In summation

On the whole, I appreciate that the collection features a range of clothing from evening wear to outerwear, and the more conceptual designs that remain true to their designer’s brand really stand out. This isn’t a collaboration series that’s resulted in bad clothes. But what is exciting to me, specifically, is how Star Wars merchandise has moved from kids toys and items to the legions of high end fashion.

What about you? Would you wear any of these?

Ginnis Tonik

Ginnis Tonik

Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik
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