Revenge of the Sith | Behind the Seams | The Peacock Gown
As the ensuing Clone Wars threaten the Republic in the opening of Episode III, Padmé is seen wearing the somber colors of mourning. Constrained by her hidden marriage, her costumes now adopt a Victorian silhouette. She is shrouded in petticoats and crinolines - fashions adopted to conceal her pregnancy - but the design also heralds the oppresion of the dark times on Coruscant, the coming of the Empire. All the costumes in which she is seen in public hang from the shoulders and are supported on what is essentially a simplified crinoline shape unerneath. Using steel rings in the petticoats and quilted petticoats to keep stiffness underneath allowed Trisha Biggar to use soft fabrics on the top, so there would still be a very soft, feminine feel to Padmé’s costumes.
The Peacock Gown consists of a glossy, high-collared underdress woven from a tightly pleated material which Biggar called “peacock fabric” because of the way it shifted colours according to different lighting conditions and Natalie Portman’s movement. In different lights, it looks both blue and rusty brown. The puff sleeves are drawn at the lower arm and have beads dangling from the cuff. Over this dress Padmé wears a long, brown, layered coat that is somewhat triangular from the front and has a cape that goes over her arms. Small tassels hung off each ending of the coat, which is decorated in its entirety in scrollwork done in ribbon.
Padmé’s headdress is an unique design, shaped like a rectangle with an in-facing scalloped front. The sides are done in a decorative yet simple style in a grayish metal with Padmé’s hair done in myriad tight ringlets resembling strings of beads. In order to create the thin, tight ringlets of the hairstyle which was heavily influenced by Ancient Egyptian female fashion, the hairdressing department had to carefully match swatches of real Russian hair to the actress’s hair color. The matches needed to be made under sunlight, as fluorescent lights don’t accurately reflect true color. What’s more, different colors of hair were mixed together to create realistic ringlets that looked natural. For the headpiece itself, Trisha Biggar had a pin she liked reproduced a dozen times. The reproductions were placed on hand-bent piano wire, then plated, and finally lined with leather.