At a Christmas party a few weekends ago, one of my girlfriends’ daughters told me that she was on a serious hunt for a pair of well-worn flat boots and taupe pantaloons like those that she-ro Rey wears in the latest “Star Wars” movie.
That was enough for me — a woman who, despite being born in the ’70s, hadn’t seen any of the beloved franchise’s flicks in their entirety — to check out the seventh installment, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Unlike “Star Wars” movies past, the wardrobe here is wearable. Even among the original, less outlandish costumes worn by Hans and Luke (think black vests and khaki jackets), you never saw those looks rocking the runway. But the fashion in “The Force Awakens” is all over the place, and the vibe starts on the red carpet.
There’s Rey, of course, played by Daisy Ridley, who has attended premieres in Chanel and Prabal Gurung. And the thousand-year-old alien Maz Kanata, who runs an intergalactic bar, is actually the glamorous and beautiful Lupita Nyong’o, a red-carpet veteran.
But one informs the other. John Boyega plays Finn, the hunk in a borrowed khaki leather jacket (don’t you want one?). And Oscar Isaac, who plays pilot Poe Dameron, likely will send us to Uniqlo to buy some puffy vests.
This is a film that joins “Hunger Games” and “Jurassic World” in the growing number of movies starring millennials who make it cool to be both a fighter and feminine.
But these futuristic fantasies also are behind many of the decade’s top fashion trends — think Katniss Everdeen’s chunky-knit infinity scarves and elaborate hair braids (which surely inspired the opening of many a suburban braid bar since the film’s 2012 debut). Scarves and braids will likely remain a staple on the fall 2016 runways this February.
The “Star Wars” ready-to-wear effect is likely to go even further, meaning beyond the kitschy evening gowns screen-printed with images of R2-D2, C-3PO and Yoda by American designers and sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy in their fall 2014 Rodarte collection.
Even the pieces designed for the Bloomingdale’s-sponsored Force 4 Fashion charity auction this month were less about copying movie characters than applying parts of their personality to a design.
That’s because “Force Awakens” costume designer Michael Kaplan dressed his cadre of otherworldly characters in a way that’s maybe not of this earth, but that is of these times. Runways these days are ruled by androgynous and unisex collections.
The sand-colored outfit Rey wears for the duration of the movie looks as though it walked off the runways of Rick Owens, Alexander Wang or Kanye West.
Her arm-warmers not only show off her battle-toned upper arms, but also are athletic-turned-athleisure accessories on their way to becoming a cold-weather staple surely to be seen on an H&M table by January.
And when Rey appears in the last moments of the film wearing a gray-vest-arm-warmer-combo, Kaplan clearly created the illusion of the so-called cold-shoulder look. I would guess that’s not a coincidence, as the racks of retailers promise to be replete with shoulder-revealing pieces in the spring.
The wearability of “The Force Awakens” doesn’t stop at Rey and her three-knob update to Leia’s buns. That leather jacket of Finn’s can easily be thrown over black cargo pants and a long-sleeve mock T (as he does in the movie), or ripped jeans.
And the apparel of the First Order (the very bad guys) comprises an all-black, structured look. It’s very Altuzarra-meets-Yohji-Yamamoto, with a little Comme des Garçons thrown in. I’m confident I’ll be seeing a version of Kylo Ren’s trench in Joan Shepp this spring.
As for storm trooper white armor? I doubt it. But it’s likely that hooded cloaks and drapey clothes will be a force in our closets and on the fall 2016 runways this winter.
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