Princess Leia's metal bikini

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Princess Leia (played by Carrie Fisher) in her iconic "metal bikini" slave outfit from Return of the Jedi

Princess Leia's metal bikini is a fictional slave outfit worn by actress Carrie Fisher in the 1983 film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.[1][2] While only featured in two scenes, the costume has since become an iconic sex symbol and is often imitated by female fans at Star Wars Celebrations.[3]

Development[edit]

The metal bikini worn by Carrie Fisher in the first Act of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was inspired by Fisher's complaints that the loose-fitting outfits she wore in Star Wars concealed her feminine physique.'[4]

The design of the metal bikini was inspired by Fantastic Story Magazine's cover illustrator Earle K. Bergey drawings of women in metal bikinis that served as putative armors.[5] It was first developed in sketches by Nilo Rodis-Jamero, assistant art director of visual effects for The Empire Strikes Back and the Jedi costume designer.[6] Costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers then built the costume as part of the Industrial Light & Magic visual effects company. The costume designers made a mold of Carrie Fisher's torso so it could be designed to a custom fit.[7]

Design and material[edit]

It was like steel, not steel, but hard plastic, and if you stood behind me you could see straight to Florida. You'll have to ask Boba Fett about that.

Carrie Fisher[8]

The metal string bikini consisted of a patterned copper brassiere with a curved, plunging neckline that fastened behind the neck and back with string. The bottom had a copper plate at the front while the back was covered by a red silk loincloth. Leia wore high-heeled high boots of leather, a hair fastener that positioned her braided ponytail to cascade over her right shoulder, two bracelets, and an arm-wrap. She also wore a chain and collar that bound her to Jabba the Hutt, her captor, which she used to kill him.[9] It was lined with leather on the inside. Rodgers and the staff created multiple versions of the outfit to accommodate different scenes in the film, including a hard metal piece for scenes in which Fisher remained still, and a rubber outfit she and stuntwoman Tracy Eddon could wear comfortably while performing stunts.[7] Unlike the loose-fitting white robes Fisher wore in the first Star Wars film,[4] her breasts had to be taped into the upper portion of the costume in order to keep from falling out of it, as some scenes needed to be re-shot due to wardrobe malfunctions.[10]

Following[edit]

American TV host Olivia Munn in Princess Leia's metal bikini

The slave Leia costume has been elevated to pop culture icon status, spawning various spoofs and parodies and even a dedicated fansite.[11] One Wired magazine editor stated the only reason for the outfit's fame is "no doubt that the sight of Carrie Fisher in the gold sci-fi swimsuit was burned into the sweaty subconscious of a generation of fanboys hitting puberty in the spring of 1983."[12] The outfit is one of the Star Wars costumes worn for Halloween.[13]

Appearances[edit]

Notable appearances of the costume include the episode of Friends titled "The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy". It featured briefly in the Family Guy episode titled "He's Too Sexy for His Fat". The costume made a cameo during Robot Chicken: Star Wars, a Star Wars-themed special of the show Robot Chicken aired on Cartoon Network. Actress Kristen Bell donned the slave Leia costume in the 2009 film Fanboys, a comedy film about a group of friends who decide to break into Skywalker Ranch to steal an early print of The Phantom Menace. In one episode of Dancing with the Stars (fourth season) dancer Kym Johnson wore a slave Leia costume to dance with singer Joey Fatone to the tune of "Star Wars main theme". In the sixth episode of Chuck an engineered photo of actress Sara Walker (played by Yvonne Strahovski) becomes a major story tool.

Celebrity followers[edit]

Various celebrities have also been shown wearing the costume. Melissa Joan Hart, the star of the shows Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, was photographed wearing the outfit during a costume party.[14] Kerri Kasem, a radio and television host, has been photographed wearing the costume.[15] Actress/model Phoebe Price wore it at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2010.[16] Liana K, the Canadian co-host of Ed & Red's Night Party and a well-known cosplayer, appeared at 2008 Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo dressed in Princess Leia's slave girl outfit.[1][2][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (DVD, 20th Century Fox, 2004), disc 1
  2. ^ a b Carl Silvio, Tony M. Vinci, Culture, identities, and technology in the Star wars films, page 117, McFarland & Co., 2007, ISBN 0-7864-2910-0
  3. ^ Townsend, Allie (5 July 2011). "Princess Leia's Gold Bikini in Return of the Jedi". Time. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Jardell, Bretton. "8 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Star Wars’ Costumes". The FW:. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  5. ^ Rikke Schubart, Super bitches and action babes: the female hero in popular cinema, 1970-2006, page 225, McFarland & Co., 2007, ISBN 0-7864-2924-0
  6. ^ "Star Wars Homing Beacon #168." StarWars.com. Archived here and here. Retrieved on 2008-08-24.
  7. ^ a b Chien, Philip (July 11, 2006). "The Cult of Leia's Metal Bikini.". Wired.
  8. ^ Star Wars Insider 68
  9. ^ Douglas Brode, Leah Deyneka (2012). ;;Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology. p. 79, Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810885141
  10. ^ "Fisher 'Taped Into' Star Wars Bikini". ContactMusic.com. April 29, 2008.
  11. ^ Crowley, Dan (2007). 505 Unbelievably Stupid Webpages. p. 191 (entry 127), Sourcebooks, Inc., ISBN 9781402248221
  12. ^ "The Cult of Leia's Bikini" - Wired.com
  13. ^ Dunlap, Brett (October 20, 2013). "Popular Halloween decor, costumes". News and Sentinel. 
  14. ^ Chien, Philip (July 11, 2006). "The Cult of Leia's Metal Bikini: Melissa Joan Hart.". Wired. Archived here
  15. ^ "Kerri Kasem Photo Gallery". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  16. ^ "Phoebe Price Channels Slave Leia". Celebuzz. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  17. ^ Heath McCoy (2008-04-26). "Geek girls gone wild!". Calgary Herald. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Slave Leia costume at Wikimedia Commons