Far, Farther Afield: Star Wars Costumes At The DIA

. April 27, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Lucasfilms.
Photo courtesy of Lucasfilms.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is the final stop for a unique exhibition of the costumes that have appeared in the legendary Star Wars movies. Presented by the Smithsonian Institution and Lucasfilms, it displays every aspect of the costume-design process including the final garments that have become cultural touchstones over the past 40 years. The show is geared to all ages for those interested in costume design, as well as those interested in the movies themselves.

Stormtrooper costume sketch.

Stormtrooper costume sketch.

Opening on May 20 and running though September 30 is the ultimate family exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts: Star Wars and the Power of Costume. Pam Marcil, the DIA public relations director, says that the entire museum is filled with excitement. The show details the costumes in the seven Star Wars movies: their designs, concepts and realizations. A collection of 50 of the actual original costumes worn plus 90 design sketches that document the creative process that goes into every Hollywood blockbuster will be on display.

Concept art for Queen Amidala's Senate Gown.

Concept art for Queen Amidala’s Senate Gown.

In the Star Wars movies the costumes are, arguably, as important as the acting. Visitors will witness the entire costume-design process beginning with sketches and ending with the very costumes that you’ve seen in the films. Queen Amidala’s lavish gowns, Darth Vader’s iconic black armor, Chewbacca, the original droids C-3PO and R2-D2, BB-8, Yoda, an Ewok, as well as the costumes of X-wing pilots, Princess Leia, Stormtroopers and Han Solo will all be featured. The exhibit also includes several videos that show the costume-design process as well as special interactive stations for kids and other engaging challenges.

Your family may visit to see the Star Wars costumes, but save some extra time to take in the rest of the DIA. Contrast Darth Vader’s armor with real European armor from the middle ages. The DIA is ranked among the nation’s top five art museums and rightly so. It was founded when Detroit was the most prosperous city in America; its collection is literally world-class. The DIA has piece after piece that appear in anthologies and textbooks of the history of art. One example: the gigantic Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera, the greatest muralist of the 20th century. There is ample parking and also excellent food in both the gorgeous Kresge Court and in the cafeteria. Make a day of it and may the Force be with you. | May 20-September 30

Regular museum hours are 9am–4pm Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9am–10pm Fridays, 10am–5pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Adults | $19 (Tuesday–Thursday) | $24 (Friday–Sunday)
Youth (ages 6-17) | $7
DIA Members | Free

See DIA website for extended special exhibit hours.
313-833-4005 | dia.org/StarWars