Original Star Wars costume designs sell for $157K - Antique Trader

Original Star Wars costume designs sell for $157K

A sketchbook showing the original hand-drawn costume designs for key characters in Star Wars – including Darth Vader, Chewbacca and the Stormtroopers – sells for an impressive $157,908 at Bonhams, London.
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A sketchbook showing the original hand-drawn costume designs for key characters in Star Wars - including Darth Vader, Chewbacca and the Stormtroopers - sells for an impressive $157,908

Star Wars costume designs

Death Star Gunner costume design. All images courtesy Bonhams.

LONDON – A sketchbook showing the original hand-drawn costume designs for key characters in Star Wars - including Darth Vader, Chewbacca and the Stormtroopers - sold for an impressive $157,908 at Bonhams, New Bond Street, London, on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.

Star Wars costume designs

Darth Vader costume design.

The sketchbook was part of the 73-lot sale: Designing an Empire: The John Mollo Archive, and in the collection belonging to the family of John Mollo, the double Oscar®-winning costume designer for Star Wars, Gandhi, Alien and Chaplin.

Katherine Schofield, Head of Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia department, said, “John Mollo’s personal sketchbook provides a unique insight into the creation of the Star Wars universe. We are delighted that his historic work has been celebrated with bidders from around the globe eager to own this piece of cinematic history.”

The Star Wars costume design story begins

The story began in 1975, when Mollo was commissioned by George Lucas to work on the Star Wars series. Lucas urged Mollo to avoid the stereotypical space-age look of earlier science fiction productions. Instead, Mollo was to focus his designs on the pivotal concept of light versus darkness. "I just want to see light versus dark," he said.

Star Wars costume designs

Han Solo costume design.

The sketches include mechanical diagrams exploring how Darth Vader’s helmet would allow the actor to breathe. As well as the first drawing of Chewbacca’s legendary suit. Detailed sketches reveal every detail of the stormtroopers’ costumes. It was these, and other, designs that give John Mollo iconic status in Hollywood.

Other highlights of the sale included:

  • Napoleon: A collection of costume designs by Mollo from Stanley Kubrick’s unfinished production, 1970, sold for $18,159
  • Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope: pre-production line drawing of Princess Leia in her white hooded gown sold for $13,422.

About designer John Mollo

Star Wars costume designs

Leia, Han and Luke portraits. All images courtesy Bonhams.

John Mollo is recognized as one of the most significant costume designers in cinematic history. Mollo started his career as a historical advisor for films, specializing in military costumes for notable films. Mollo's work is seen in: The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975). Director George Lucas employed Mollo to work on the Star Wars film series in 1975. That provided the catalyst for his career in designing costumes for sci-fi films. His contribution to costume design has been awarded two Academy awards, an Oscar for his work on Star Wars and a second for his designs for Richard Attenborough’s 1982 Gandhi. 

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