Star Wars theme! Princess Leia as a source of inspiration


Our botanical gardens host a summer evening in the park with music, crafts, and food. This year’s theme was Star Wars and guests were asked to dress as their favorite Star Wars character.

I probably haven’t seen a Star Wars movie since the 90s (gasp!), but I did a little research and really loved the look of the character Maz Kanata, who Google says is over a thousand years old, a master survivor, and just four-foot-one. That’s pretty much all I know about her. To me, she seems like a modern, more obscure Yoda.

How do you make a realistic mask or utilize makeup to get her exact look? I wouldn’t want to just put on a pair of goggles and call it done. I would love to learn how to make molds and such things one day so I can do full justice to looks like this one! I guess the transformation from Lupita Nyong’o to Maz Kanata was mostly a digital one (see link above), but wouldn’t it be fun to bring the look into physical form in the style of Heidi Klum’s old lady costume?

I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel like buying anything new for this look and didn’t have a lot of time to spend custom making things, so obviously I decided to channel Princess Leia. I basically only own two white pieces of clothing (both linen pieces from Old Navy) so there was no overthinking that part. I know white is currently trending to an almost insane degree, but I’m just not that into it. I wish the top were long sleeve and more tunic like with a turtle neck or mock neck neckline, but it is a short sleeve boxy v-neck t-shirt with an oddly placed seam down the center of the back.

I wanted a turtle neck neckline like the iconic 1977 tunic that Carrie Fisher wore in the original film, and was able to forage an old satin faux feather lei I made long ago out of the depths of a closet (who knew I would ever have a use for that?). Some creative looping visually raised the neckline of the t-shirt enough to look more turtle-necky from the front after I flipped the shirt around and wore it backwards.


I warmed up to the center seam down the front, which was boxy and chest plate armor-like in a subtle way. The pretzel-knotted back of the feather lei had a sculptural quality that was interesting to me. It felt a bit sci-fi or futuristic. I like it a lot, except it kept unravelling itself, which made it a little high maintenance.

The placement of the v-neck and the feather lei ended up looking almost intentional even though it was a last minute decision, such a welcome surprise. I actually didn’t know for sure exactly what the back looked like until looking at the photos later. It just felt right at the time.

I reluctantly finished this look with sky-high gold platform sandals. Sooooo impractical, yes, but I don’t own any white shoes, and I liked the metallic pop against the white too much. I will probably never wear heels to a garden event ever again, though, and thinking about it now, I think I would have liked some sort of brown closed toe shoe just as much looks-wise and that would have been so much more comfortable. A clog would have really been ideal, but I don’t own one of those currently either.

Just before jumping out of the car, the white daisy sunglasses were added. So many people asked where to get them: they are currently available at Paper Source. The fit is probably medium, but they can also fit small or large faces okay. The frame width along the back is approximately 14.5 cm (the front width is a bit wider due to the flower petals). The bridge is a little over 2 cm, and the arm length is approximately 14.5 cm. The plastic is hard and glossy. It is not that easy to see out of them, nor are they that comfortable to wear, but they were easier to get on and off my head when my hair was in the Leia cinnamon side bun hair style than other glasses for some reason, and took the edge off the afternoon sun.

Speaking of the Leia hairstyle, it was fairly straightforward to do (I can only do easy hairstyles). I just made two buns on either side of my head, secured them with an elastic, fluffed each out a bit to make them looser and appear larger, and then bobby pinned the heck out of them to get everything to stay put and stray hairs pinned down. I didn’t use hairspray because I didn’t want to have to wash my hair afterwards, but that would definitely make the look more secure. Aside from having to push a few pins back in, everything surprisingly stayed put. You could also use those mesh bun makers if you have thinner hair or want to really do the look justice and recreate those mega side buns that Princess Leia made famous.

A lot of people didn’t really directly connect this look to Princess Leia. I think Darth Vader called me a flower girl, and that’s totally great. As someone who is a fan of recreating a look precisely down to the last detail, I definitely get that spinning the wheels of creativity away from replica to indulge instead a stroke of inspiration is riskier and a little random and doesn’t always make sense to others. My personal thought is that if one is going to attempt a look as recognizable as Princess Leia, there are only two options: precisely recreate the exact look – become Princess Leia – or use the look as a starting point to create something entirely new. This is something new, with all kinds of 70s references that makes “flower girl” not far off at all: higher waisted wide leg pants, a boxy top that is trying so hard to be a tunic, wide criss-crossed sandal straps on a platform and chunky disco heel, a free-spirited bohemian attitude, flower power sunglasses! The original Star Wars is circa 1977 after all.

The sculpture hanging above in the lead photo was probably my all time favorite decoration of the evening. They are sections of plastic water bottles in the clears and blues and greens that plastic water bottles are made in, strung together to make long strands gathered at the top and suspended from tree branches paired with twinkly warm white christmas lights. The colors and form were reminiscent of the ocean, like air bubbles from a diver, or tentacles of a jellyfish, or something else whimsical and otherworldly and inspired by nature, like something right out of the window display of an Anthropologie store. It is probably the best upcycling idea for plastic water bottles I have seen yet, and there were two of these pendant sculptures blowing in the breeze along the garden’s Mystical Trail and Path to Endor.