Star Wars at the DIA: Learn You Will, Part 1

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is hosting a wonderful exhibit of Star Wars costumes. For anyone who has enjoyed the movies, the chance to see the original costumes is a treat. Unlike theater costumes, which often look best from a distance, movie costumes need to show well in close ups, so the details are stunning. But to me, the most interesting part of the exhibit was not the costumes themselves but the concept drawings that led to their creation. They brought to life—yet again—some of the most important principles of creativity.


Lesson 1: Creative ideas don’t appear in a vacuum. Often ideas emerge as creators build on previous ideas or combine ideas from diverse sources.


Princess Leia’s and Padme Amidala’s iconic hairdos were inspired by traditional Hopi styles.










Padme’s elegant dining gown was styled after a drawing by Erté, a designer from the 1920’s.













Even Yoga was inspired by a real-world wise man. Look to see how his face was modeled to reflect elements of Albert Einstein!

Lesson 2: Unsuccessful efforts can lead to something wonderful.

One of my favorite stories in the exhibit explained one of the drawings that was somewhat wrinkled. Apparently the artist was unhappy with the first version and crumpled the paper to throw it away. For some reason he or she (I’m so sorry, I don’t remember) decided to look at the drawing one more time. In smoothing out the paper, the artist realized that the texture of the wrinkled paper added interest to the design and continued the effort. The result was an amazing gown with spider web lace adding texture to the middle.














More Star War–and more lessons–in the next post.

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