jet black beads

ESCAPE FROM NABOO

The Phantom Menace: When the Trade Federation invades Naboo, Queen Amidala disguises herself as the handmaiden Padmé and her brave decoy Sabé plays the role of queen. To be convincing in her role, Sabé imitates the queen’s speech and bearing, as well as donning Amidala’s complex wardrobe and make-up. On Naboo, clothing is a form of subtle expression, and each of the Queen’s symbolic gowns conveys a message about the state of Naboo and its people. Therefore, for her capture and subsequent escape, Sabé wears a somber travel robe of intricate lace accented with the symbol of Naboo royalty. It is a raiment of grief and protest, showing Naboo’s opposition to the invasion. The immense feather headdress, complete with filigree and gemstone ear coverings, helps to make the petite handmaiden seem more imposing and formidable. 

Design: When designing the queen’s gowns, Iain McCaig got very frustrated at one point and scribbled over one drawing. Looking at it, he found the scribbles made an interesting pattern, and the Escape from Naboo gown was born.

While this dress is incredibly impressive, it was also incredibly time-consuming. It was constructed from a “spider-web” fabric that took one person working ten hours a day, five days a week over a month to make. The lace pattern was first hand-embroidered onto a thin piece of special fabric that was then submerged. The fabric dissolved in water, leaving only the extraordinary stitching. Each panel of the gown was then sewn onto another panel leaving no seams. The back panel was decorated with vintage jet black beading as well. All this amazing dedication and attention to detail is apparent when one sees this gorgeous dress, and any of Amidala’s other gowns, come alive on screen. 

Note: I just want to explain the whole issue of Padmé/Sabé as I know it still confuses some people. In TPM, only Sabé wears this gown, and therefore all screenshots of this dress are of Keira Knightley. Queen Amidala never wears this gown at all. However, they did use Natalie Portman for promotional photos. So in other words, screenshots = Keira Knightley/Sabé; promo photos = Natalie Portman/Padmé.