Star Wars films have always been known for their iconic costume designs. And in Solo: A Star Wars Story, costume designers David Crossman and Glyn Dillon had a unique challenge. Not only did they have to design outfits for characters that fans know and love (and obsessively cosplay), but also create looks for new characters that fit into the Star Wars universe.
The result mixes new fashion elements never seen before in Star Wars, with pieces we all know from a galaxy far, far away (re: capes, we always need more capes). We chatted with Crossman and Dillon about the many different inspirations behind Solo’s costumes and the details fans should look out for when they see the film.
Solo is all about Han’s journey, and the film gives fans the chance to see Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich) at different stages in his earlier life, including when he lived on Corellia. “There’s the young Han Solo, and then there’s the even younger Han Solo,” explained Dillon. “And in terms of inspiration for [his costume on Corellia], we looked to music, which we did for a lot of the costumes, actually. We were looking at bands like The Clash, and ‘80s new wave and punk bands, and his costume is inspired by that kind of era.”
You can catch of glimpse of Han’s Corellian look in the official teaser, but the look that fans may come to associate young Han Solo with most is his new brown suede jacket. And Crossman and Dillon found the inspiration for Han’s new outerwear at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. “We were staring at some piece, and it had this brown, suede jacket with these black panels and we thought, ‘Ah, we could do something like that with Han.’ So, from there, we started to develop that look,” said Dillon. “But we were trying to make the jacket very cropped, short, sort of clipped everywhere. Harrison Ford in the original film, you look at him and all of his sleeves are cropped short, everything is very trim, and there’s no kind of excess. And that’s what we liked about that jacket. We tailored it, built up the shoulders, tried to give it a kind of heroic silhouette so it squared his shoulders slightly.”
Along the way, Han meets the infamous smuggler Lando Calrissian (played by Donald Glover), who is well-known for his ability to rock a cape better than anyone in the Star Wars universe (well, in our opinion, at least). And for his look in Solo, Crossman and Dillon pulled inspiration from a variety of sources. For example, his yellow shirt was inspired by English soccer uniforms, while the scarf he wears has a special design story behind it, according to Dillon:
He’s got kind of this long scarf that’s got kind of a Jimi Hendrix feel to it, that kind of ‘70s, ‘60s feel. There’s not a great deal of patterns in the original trilogy. So, I wanted it to feel Star Wars-y, so I took a still from the scene in A New Hope where Luke and Leia swing across the chasm on the Death Star. I took that and changed it up in Photoshop, so it’s all black except for the lights from the Death Star. And we made that the pattern that is printed onto the scarf.
Speaking of capes, we know Lando’s favorite piece of outerwear that appears in the film. But what is it that makes us love capes so much? “It’s drama, isn’t it? It’s about power, isn’t it? There are powerful characters in Star Wars, so it projects power,” said Crossman. “There’s a good one, I think apart from Lando’s obvious cape, which is a more casual, but elegant cape. Emilia [Clarke’s character Qi’ra] wears one of the power capes within this film, this kind of scarlet cape that you see in the trailer, which turned out very well.”
“Capes and ponchos are all in the original trilogy. It just feels like a Star Wars item of clothing,” added Dillon. “You know not many people rock a cape these days, so it does feel like a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
If you’re Lando Calrissian, you need a spot to keep all of your great clothing, which means we’ll get to see Lando’s cape room on board the Millennium Falcon. And Crossman and Dillon ended up making at least 30 capes to fill the room. The most important thing for the designers was to make it feel as luxurious as possible. And yes, now we want a cape room for our own homes.
Solo also introduces fans to new characters. There’s the mysterious Qi’ra (played by Emilia Clarke), someone Han knew from his early days on Corellia, along with Val (played by Thandie Newton), a member of the crew that Han gets involved with.
For Qi’ra, Crossman and Dillon looked at ‘80s punk bands, and female-fronted bands like Blondie for her look on Corellia. When we meet her later on in the story, the designers took inspiration from ‘40s film star Lauren Bacall. “There had to be a big difference between then [on Corellia] and when you met her again, and she’s more of a femme fatale,” said Dillon. “So, we went for that noir-ish, sleek, black silk, devastating look.”
Additionally, the designers wanted to create something more practical for Qi’ra to wear while fighting and walking in a desert. “We went for the kind of wide leg, ‘40s style trousers that kind of had a feel of cowboy chaps, as well as the style of the ‘40s wide trouser.” noted Dillon.
“Val has to be a little bit more practical in her look,” explained Dillon. They took inspiration from female political activists for Val’s outfit, and added hydraulics and accessories that play into her specialist skill of climbing. They also gave Val a backward apron skirt, something that’s never really been done before in a Star Wars film (you’ll see Qi’ra rock one, too).
While they may have pulled inspiration from all corners of the galaxy, Crossman and Dillon always keep one thing in mind when designing looks. “There’s always got to be that kind of Star Wars feel,” explained Dillon. “I think because David [Crossman] and I are the same age, we were big fans when we were kids when the first three films came out. It was the perfect time for us. I feel like it’s in our blood.” Crossman added, “It’s like second nature to us. We’ll look at something and we’ll just know as we’re doing it.” It seems like just like Han, Crossman and Dillon rely on their instincts, and the outcome is a bevy of new Star Wars looks that fans are sure to love.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.