As a group of the city’s finest fashion talents unveils looks inspired by the movie franchise, one of them – Claire Barrow – opens up about her designs
Last night space collided with London’s fashion scene in a show that saw ten of city’s best emerging designers each unveil two looks inspired by the Star Wars franchise. Models wearing designs by J.W. Anderson, Peter Pilotto, Agi & Sam, Bobby Abley, Christopher Raeburn, Nasir Mazhar, Phoebe English, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Thomas Tait and Claire Barrow were joined on the catwalk (in a slightly surreal twist) by a troupe of Stormtroopers, R2-D2 and C-3PO.
Barrow’s looks were inspired by Captain Phasma (played by Gwendoline Christie in the upcoming film) and the lightspeed effect which, for those unfamiliar with Star Wars terminology, is what stars look like when your in a spaceship travelling at lightspeed. For the first, she created a floor-length hooded gown made from silver silk emblazoned with motifs of stormtroopers, beautifully hand-painted in her trademark style.
The second look was also hooded though black,embellished with over 10,000 Swarovski crystals and fitted with a bionic arm (designed by a company called Open Bionics) which was inspired by ‘lightspeed’ – hence the twinkling lights that blast up the arm and the falcon inspired 3D printed windows on the hand. Ethereal and otherworldly, both looks succinctly brought together the wild futurism of her Star Wars references and the DIY punk aesthetic she’s known and celebrated for.
Barrow and the other designers participating in this project created a unisex sweatshirt and t-shirt inspired by the soon-to-be-released film which are on sale at Selfridges, with all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Here she shares more about these designs and the immortal influence of the Star Wars movies.
What have you designed?
Claire Barrow: This outfit is inspired by Gwendoline Christie who plays Captain Phasma in the new film. She’s the leader of the Stormtroopers so I wanted it to look like a reflective surface like she wears in the film, and the storm troopers are reflected off the dress. The other outfit which I’ve done, and has 10,000 Swarovskis on it, is loosely inspired by the light speed scene in first film (A New Hope)… It’s loosely based on that and the Millennium Falcon. This is worn with a bionic arm designed by Open Bionics with Grace Mandeville (who was shot by Johnny Dufort for spring/summer 2015 issue of Dazed) modelling it. She’s a model who’s arm stops after the elbow. So we’ve made like a lightsaber-style arm to go with her outfit for the Swarovski crystals to reflect off.
When did you start working with Grace?
Claire Barrow: Just for this project. She’s an actress – she’s on BBC TV shows, she’s really good. But yeah, that’s been really fun doing that for her.
Did you watch the Star Wars movies when you were growing up?
Claire Barrow: A lot, they were my favourite for a while. I was really obsessed by it. The certain scene when Han Solo gets frozen in this metallic thing was so haunting I used to have nightmares about it. And I used to fancy him so I was really upset when he was frozen. It’s good because it was a time to go to the cinema with my dad and have time with him and bond with him, it was a film that he was brought up with. It’s got a place in my life. Then becoming part of this project was really amazing.
“(Princess Leia) is clever, it’s not all about being sexy with her, she’s a strong princess” – Claire Barrow
What do you like about these movies?
Claire Barrow: Well I really like sci-fi anyway. But I think Star Wars is special; I like the characters, I like the story. I like the original trilogy because it’s realistic rather than CGI which is nice. It’s got a lighter hearted note to it than films that came out at a similar time do. The big budget makes it realistic to how space might be.
Why do you think it’s so iconic?
Claire Barrow: I think it’s because you could watch it when you were younger and you were brought up with it, this big franchise. It was talked about at the time and it’s lived up to it’s hype. It’s stuck around.
Who is your favourite character?
Claire Barrow: Princess Leia. She’s got really good outfits. And I like the fact that she’s not a stereotypical female lead, she’s got personality, she’s clever, it’s not all about being sexy with her, she’s a strong princess.
Was it a challenge making something new out of something so well-known?
Claire Barrow: I found it fine because I love Star Wars and was really passionate about the project and was really keen to make it something to be proud of.
Watch a video from the event below: