'Star Wars' Star’s Red Carpet Dress Blends Pop Culture and Fashion for Apparel Decoration Gold
On May 25, one day after the 18th anniversary of the release of “Mission: Impossible 2,” the action-packed picture that helped her gain box office draw status, Thandie Newton will again assist a lucrative movie franchise when “Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens nationwide. Portraying Val Beckett, the wife of and a crew member for the title character’s mentor, the 45-year-old will make history as the first black actress to earn a starring nod in the space saga’s now-41-year-old cinematic history. Promoting the anthology picture at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, the award-wining thespian gave literal meaning to the term “decorated performer,” donning a gown that depicts other characters of color who have helped the 10-movie-strong series acquire everlasting standing, and displaying innovation in the realm of apparel decoration.
Newton has always possessed considerable on-screen chops, as anyone who has seen “Beloved” and “Crash” can attest to, so the French Riviera premiere proved that she also possesses a keen fashion sense. Calling on figurines from her own collection (wow, did she ever earn geek points for that one), she relied on Vivien Westwood Couture to devise the one-of-a-kind attention grabber, with the product marking a collaboration with Eco-Age for Cannes’ eighth Green Carpet Challenge. Not only is the handiwork a nod to sustainability, it also serves to extend the influence that black entertainers have had on the unmatched clout that “Star Wars” enjoys.
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The franchise has given science fiction buffs numerous standout creations, and Newton’s entry into the world of apparel decoration commends five characters, with Finn, Lando Calrissian and Mace Windu (played by John Boyega, Billy Dee Williams and Samuel L. Jackson, respectively) being arguably the best among the depicted figures, not to mention meriting consideration as a trio of driving forces in enhancing appreciation for George Lucas’s space opera brainchild.
For those gifted with the talent to offer fashion commentary, this dress could likely provide ample material for their estimations of particular garments’ wearability and the like. While appreciating the apparel simply for its surface elements will suit many, it is also interesting to address how it rose to the occasion as an opportunity to incorporate non-traditional elements into a design, as well as its ability to perfectly blend pop culture and fashion.
There is nothing new about having graphics complement an article of clothing, especially thanks to end-users’ allegiance to pop culture, but this gown is (bad “Star Wars” pun incoming!) a force to be reckoned with for its reverent look at minority actors who have helped the movies make major amounts of money for Lucas and his cohorts. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” figures to be another profitable product for those individuals, and it might even generate a bit of promotional glory, but it’s Newton’s garb that could grab far more renown than any other “Solo”-affiliated creation. The dress could serve as inspiration for those whose apparel decoration aspirations want to yield more than gimmicks.
Who knows, perhaps the dress will compel fellow devotees to create something in conjunction with next year’s release of the yet-to-be-titled culminating film in the franchise’s sequel trilogy.