Princess Leia's bikini

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Princess Leia (played by Carrie Fisher) in her iconic "metal bikini" slave outfit from Return of the Jedi (1983)

Princess Leia's bikini (also known as Princess Leia's metal bikini) is an iconic costume worn by actress Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the 1983 Star Wars film Return of the Jedi.

Development[edit]

Costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers built the costume as part of the Industrial Light & Magic visual effects company,[1] along with Nilo Rodis-Jamero.[2] Some say the bikini, worn in the first act of Return of the Jedi, was designed after Fisher's complaints that the loose-fitting outfits she wore in Star Wars concealed her feminine physique,[3] but Fisher has later denied this.[4] Rodgers said that Lucas gave her only general instructions about the scene in Jabba's palace, but wanted a special costume. She originally wanted 25 yards of fabric to be flowing through the scene", but couldn't make it work.[1]

The outfit was first developed in sketches by Rodis-Jamero, assistant art director of visual effects for The Empire Strikes Back and the Return of the Jedi costume designer.[5] Rodgers said in 2006 that the costume's design was inspired by the work of science fiction artist Frank Frazetta, saying "He really loved [the female] form. The fact that [Leia's costume is] such a female sensual costume, I think is terrific."[1] Author Rikke Schubart wrote in 2007 that the final design was inspired by Fantastic Story Magazine's cover illustrator Earle K. Bergey drawings of women in metal bikinis that served as putative armors.[6] The costume is a type that can be traced to earlier films, such as Myrna Loy’s turn as the native dancing girl in The Desert Song from 1929, Yvonne De Carlo in Slave Girl, 1947, and Maria Montez adventure films from the 1940s.[2]

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."[7]
  • "I remember that iron bikini I wore in "Episode VI": what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell."[8]
Carrie Fisher about design and material

Rodgers and the staff created multiple versions of the metal bikini string 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.[1] It was lined with leather on the inside.[9] The costume designers made a mold of Carrie Fisher's torso so it could be designed to a custom fit.[1]

  • Top: The outfit consisted of a patterned copper brassiere with a curved, plunging neckline that fastened behind the neck and back with string. Unlike the loose-fitting white robes Fisher wore in the first Star Wars film,[3] 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.[9]
  • Bottom: The outfit had a copper plate at the front while the back was covered by a red silk loincloth.[10]
  • Accessories: 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 a snake arm-wrap. She also wore a chain and collar that bound her to Jabba the Hutt, her captor, which she used to kill him.[10]

Following[edit]

Featured only in two scenes, the costume has nonetheless made Carrie Fisher an iconic sex symbol, and is often imitated by female fans at Star Wars Celebrations.[11] The slave Leia costume has been elevated to pop culture icon status, spawning various spoofs and parodies and even a dedicated fansite.[12] The outfit has also become a popular Halloween costume.[13][14][15][16] 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."[1]

Celebrity followers[edit]

Actress Olivia Munn in the costume

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.[17] Kerri Kasem, a radio and television host, has been photographed wearing the costume.[18] Actress/model Phoebe Price wore it at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2010.[19] Liana K, the Canadian co-host of Ed & Red's Night Party and a well-known cosplayer, appeared at 2008 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo dressed in Princess Leia's slave girl outfit.[20][21] Comedian Amy Schumer wore a replica of Leia's slave outfit for the August 2015 cover of GQ.[22]

In popular culture[edit]

Year Work Episode/Scene Character/Actor Note Reference
1996 Friends "The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy" Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston) Rachel dresses up in the costume to arouse her boyfriend Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) [1][23]
2000 Family Guy "He's Too Sexy for His Fat" Slave Worn by a slave of Jabba the Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane)
2007 Robot Chicken "Robot Chicken: Star Wars" Princess Leia (voiced by Candace Bailey) Star Wars-themed special of the show Robot Chicken aired on Cartoon Network
2007 Dancing with the Stars Fourth season Kym Johnson Dancing with singer Joey Fatone to the tune of the "Star Wars main theme" [23]
2007 Chuck "Chuck Versus the Sandworm" Agent Sarah Walker (played by Yvonne Strahovski) A fake photo of Sarah in the costume is central to the storyline, and she later wears it for real.
Strahovski's appearance wearing the slave bikini costume prompted Wizard magazine to rank her #24 of the 25 sexiest women on TV in 2008.[24] IGN gave Strahovski the top honor in a similar list.[25]
[23]
2009 Fanboys Zoe (played by Kristen Bell) Comedy film about a group of friends who decide to break into Skywalker Ranch to steal an early print of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace [23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Chien, Philip (July 11, 2006). "The Cult of Leia's Metal Bikini.". Wired.
  2. ^ a b Princess Leia, Jabba’s Slave Bikini, Smithsonian
  3. ^ a b Jardell, Bretton. "8 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Star Wars’ Costumes". The FW:. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  4. ^ "Carrie Fisher refutes an "interesting facts" article on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  5. ^ "Star Wars Homing Beacon #168." StarWars.com. Archived here and here. Retrieved on 2008-08-24.
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Star Wars Insider 68
  8. ^ Fisher, Carrie (May 16, 1999). "Postcards From the Edge of the Galaxy". Newsweek. Archived from the original on July 2, 2001. Retrieved December 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Fisher 'Taped Into' Star Wars Bikini". ContactMusic.com. April 29, 2008.
  10. ^ a b Douglas Brode, Leah Deyneka (2012). Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology. p. 79, Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810885141
  11. ^ Townsend, Allie (July 5, 2011). "Princess Leia's Gold Bikini in Return of the Jedi". Time. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ Crowley, Dan (2007). 505 Unbelievably Stupid Webpages. p. 191 (entry 127), Sourcebooks, Inc., ISBN 9781402248221
  13. ^ Dunlap, Brett (October 20, 2013). "Popular Halloween decor, costumes". News and Sentinel. 
  14. ^ Carin Davis, Life, Love, Lox: Real-World Advice for the Modern Jewish Girl, page 157, Running Press, 2010, ISBN 9780762440412
  15. ^ Greene, Joseph. The ComMANdments; The Official Guide Book to Man Rules. II. p. 23. ISBN 9781458384737. 
  16. ^ National Costumers Association (U.S.), "1998 Hollywood Trend Report", Costume! Business (volumes 1), Festivities Pub., 1998
  17. ^ Chien, Philip (July 11, 2006). "The Cult of Leia's Metal Bikini: Melissa Joan Hart.". Wired. Archived here
  18. ^ "Kerri Kasem Photo Gallery". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  19. ^ "Phoebe Price Channels Slave Leia". Celebuzz. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  20. ^ Carl Silvio, Tony M. Vinci, Culture, identities, and technology in the Star wars films, page 117, McFarland & Co., 2007, ISBN 0-7864-2910-0
  21. ^ Heath McCoy (2008-04-26). "Geek girls gone wild!". Calgary Herald. 
  22. ^ Zach Johnson (2015-07-15). "Amy Schumer Wears Princess Leia's Bikini, Seduces C-3PO and R2-D2 and Poses Topless in GQ—See the Photos!". E!. 
  23. ^ a b c d Labrecque, Jeff (February 6, 2009). "Princess Leia on film and TV". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  24. ^ Rossen, Jake; Wizard Staff (February 18, 2008). "Top 25 Sexiest Women on TV". Wizard. Archived from the original on February 25, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  25. ^ "25 Boob Tube Babes". IGN. February 15, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 

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