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"Before, if we died we were all going together, blown up on the royal starship or something. But you'll be alone. You'll be exposed. And you'll be Amidala."
"I know."
"I want to be noble and tell you I won't order you to do it. But that would be cowardly, too, and you deserve better than letting me make a martyr of you."
"I appreciate that. My hands are yours."
―Padmé Amidala and Sabé, preparing to wear battle dresses into the Battle of Naboo[src]

Battle dress was a type of clothing worn in combat by the Queen of Naboo and her handmaidens. During the Battle of Naboo in 32 BBY, uniform maroon and gold battle dresses were worn by Queen Padmé Amidala and four of her handmaidens, while the black and red royal battle dress was worn by the Queen's decoy, Sabé. Amidala continued to wear the handmaiden's battle dress during her reign and later as a Senator during the Clone Wars.

Description[]

Battle dress was a type of clothing among the Naboo that was worn by certain members of the Royal House of Naboo when they went into combat. It became largely ceremonial during many years of peace on the planet.[2] When Padmé Amidala served as the Queen of Naboo, her extensive wardrobe included both the royal attire and the version worn by the Naboo Royal Handmaidens as their uniforms in battle.[3]

The Queen's royal battle dress[2] included a broad black waistband fastened over a black surcoat and a long red dress made of blast-damping fabric. It was worn with a headdress[4] that incorporated a wig and was held in place with pins, and a sturdy pair of boots.[3]

The handmaiden's uniform was a maroon dress[3] made of dark velvet with a lighter satin finish on the skirt's lining. The side seams of the dress, its interior lining, and the trousers had gold trim stripes[5] that were bright enough to see at night.[3]

History[]

"Viceroy! Your occupation here has ended."
―Sabé, tricking Viceroy Nute Gunray by wearing the royal battle dress[src]

Padmé Amidala wore the handmaiden's style of battle dress.

Amidala's multiple battle dresses became necessary during the Invasion of Naboo[1] in 32 BBY.[6] For the first diplomatic meeting with the Gungans at the Gungan Sacred Place, Sabé acted as the Queen's decoy, wearing the royal battle dress with the Queen's scar of remembrance and other makeup, while Amidala wore the same uniform as the other handmaidens:[1] Eirtaé, Rabé, Saché, and Yané. Rabé added hair ties made from concussive absorbing material that was taken from the lining of another dress to provide the handmaiden version with limited protection from a heavy blow or a falling debris.[3] Although Amidala revealed her true identity to secure Boss Rugor Nass's trust,[1] Sabé and Amidala had a serious discussion about continuing to wear the disguises to take back Theed from the Trade Federation with the full knowledge that Sabé would be risking her life.[3]

During the Battle of Naboo, the battle dresses successfully confused the Neimoidian Viceroy Nute Gunray. When Sabé arrived outside the throne room of Theed Royal Palace, looking more like the image of the Queen in that moment than the actual Amidala, she drew attention to herself to lure away the battle droids. Amidala was then able to secure her throne room alongside the Royal Naboo Security Forces.[1]

Later during her reign, Amidala used the handmaiden's battle dress when a sando aqua monster disturbed the royal boathouse.[7] It remained in her wardrobe as the Senator of Naboo. During the Clone Wars, she wore it for a mission with her husband, Anakin Skywalker, that was unexpectedly joined by his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano.[8] She donned her battle dress for a skirmish on her homeworld.[9]

Behind the scenes[]

Battle dresses were created for the 1999 prequel trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.[1] Artist Iain McCaig conceptualized the designs and the finished costumes were realized by costume designer Trisha Biggar and her department.[10] McCaig's initial concept featured straps across the belly, but they were removed from subsequent concepts as they would be awkward and uncomfortable to wear in reality.[10]

The Queen's battle dress was initially designed for Amidala herself, but was instead worn by Keira Knightley, who was cast as Sabé based on her resemblance to Natalie Portman.[11] It took one person over one month to complete the finished costume. Silkworm pods from India were woven into a silk net, removed at the top of the costume, and then individually stitched back on, creating the shape of the shoulders.[12]

The in-universe clothing items were both identified as "battle dress" in Star Wars Legends reference materials such as Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary,[13] but the new canon version of Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition only identifies the version worn by Sabé as "battle dress" and omits[2] the page that had explicitly identified the handmaiden version.[13] The novel Queen's Peril uses the descriptions "maroon dresses" and "maroon and gold battle uniform" for the handmaidens.[3] Queen's Shadow mentions "the battle dress," but does not specify which outfit the term is referring to.[14] For the purposes of this article, it has been assumed that the Legends term still applies to both sets of attire, and an erroneous hyphen used in Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded has been omitted.

Appearances[]

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Sources[]

Notes and references[]

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