A Look at the Star Wars and the Power of Costume Exhibit on Tour [Photos]

Seventy plus costumes from seven Star Wars movies are on display as part of a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition in partnership with the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and in consultation with Lucasfilm Ltd. I was invited to stop by Star Wars and the Power of Costume at the Discovery Center Times Square in New York and now I get to share a look at what I saw inside.

As a professional photographer, an amateur costume maker, and a long-time Star Wars fan, this exhibit was a visual treat. Many Star Wars costumes don’t get a lot of screen time or we don’t have much opportunity to appreciate the complexities, textures, and detail work put into them. With The Power of Costume you can get fairly close to the costume pieces and get a better understanding of how they could help an actor transform into someone in a galaxy far, far away.

A lot of thought has gone into most of the displays – just wait until you see the final Padmé room. Most costumes are not behind glass and there are a lot of spots with great lighting. Some rooms have a very strong sense of style including one that feels almost as if you’ve walked into Padmé’s closet. It’s a splendid perspective on the Star Wars saga and the role costumes play in storytelling. For me, the only disappointment was The Force Awakens section. Seven costumes from that movie have been added to the exhibit in the New York City leg of the tour and it’s clear their inclusion wasn’t part of the exhibit’s very careful design. While I’ve spent a lot of time studying those costumes, if you haven’t you’ll only find  basic character information for those but no further insight on the costumes themselves. I’m sure that’s due in part to the mystery box and in part to them being part of the saga that’s still in motion. After this I look forward to the day we get an exhibit of all the costumes to come out of the sequel trilogy.

Overall Star Wars and the Power of Costume is a great experience for learning more about the costumes while feeling like you get to stand amongst a part of the saga. As much as you’ll see in the gallery below, there’s still parts I left out and a few things you really should experience for yourself. You can find the exhibit in NYC until September 2016. It’ll be on tour through 2019 with Denver being the next destination. Luckily for you, if you would like to visit the exhibit in person, you can get $5 off admission by going here.

For now, click through the gallery below (and enjoy the commentary captions).

All photos in the above gallery are by me. Please don’t use these photos without my permission. A big thank you to those who help coordinate this experience for me. You can find more about the exhibit itself at http://www.powerofcostume.si.edu/ and more info on it in NYC at http://www.discoverytsx.com/star-wars-exhibition.

Which Star Wars costume is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.



She grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s okay with that. Kay is FANgirl's resident geek fashion expert and co-host of the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She reviews books and movies for the site with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. Kay's been a guest on various podcasts sharing her love and knowledge of storytelling, film-making, fashion, and of course, Star Wars. Most days are filled with her work as a creative services professional - designing websites & branding, photographing, voice acting, editing, and more. Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, costuming, and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.