The Senate gown was a multilayered ensemble worn by Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo when she addressed the Galactic Senate on Coruscant regarding her homeworld's invasion by the Trade Federation. It had red, orange, and golden-colored hues and its materials included silk taffeta and gold. Paired with an escoffiate headpiece, the attire conveyed the Naboo culture.


The Senate gown was a multilayered ensemble worn by Padmé Amidala to address the Galactic Senate when she was the Queen of the planet Naboo.[4] The elaborate gown was both fashionable and protective; it was blaster resistant, easily removed if need be, and had practical gadgets concealed within jewelry.[3]

The primary layer was a loose-fitting, deep red robe with various textures.[1] It had embroidered rosette designs and gold, triple-braided soutache trim.[4] Beneath the robe was an orange-shot-gold silk taffeta[2] underdress with heavy pleating, a high collar, and fitted sleeves that extended to her knuckles, all accented with tiny gold beads. The robe and underdress could be further layered with a black cloak that had wide, peaked shoulders.[1]

Queen Amidala wore her Senate gown with an escoffiate headpiece that had a wig styled to resemble the horns of a guarlara creature.[2] Golden hairbands encircled the two gathered "horns" and grand finial hairtip ornaments accented the ends. The close-fitted gold cap had orichalc finework suspensas framing either side of her face.[4] The entire ensemble incorporated historic symbols, such as the Symbol of the Royal House of Naboo on her forehead[3] and the Royal Sovereign of Naboo medal in the center of the escoffiate. A red scar of remembrance was painted on her lip, along with the traditional royal white facepaint and red beauty marks on both cheeks.[4]


Senator Palpatine explains the dynamics of the Galactic Senate to Queen Amidala.

In 32 BBY[5] Amidala wore the Senate gown to address the assembled Senators on Coruscant, the galactic capital, after Naboo was invaded by the Trade Federation. As she prepared for the hearing, the young Anakin Skywalker visited the apartment in which she was dressing and asked to speak to the Handmaiden Padmé, not knowing that the Queen and the Handmaiden were the same individual. Amidala told the boy that she would convey his message.[1]

Amidala's magnificent attire expressed the Naboo culture to the assembled Senators through the regal trappings of the Royal House of Naboo. Wearing it also helped her remain calm and aloof through the proceedings.[4] During the Senate hearing, she wore it with the black cloak. Sheev Palpatine, the Senator of Naboo and secretly the Dark Lord of the Sith who had manipulated the Trade Federation to invade their homeworld, accompanied her.[1]

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Behind the scenes[]

"The costumes are one of the most special parts of the movie. I wasn't the happiest of people having to wear the Senate costume with the big hairpiece, however. The outfits were made so they could be easily taken on and off, because if you have to go to the bathroom at some point during the day, you can't spend five hours for a bathroom break. The hair and makeup usually took about two, two-and-a-half hours, but the costumes took 15 minutes."
―Actress Natalie Portman discusses the costume in Starlog 270[src]

One of Iain McCaig's early concepts for the Senate gown, with the shoulders toned down from the first

Padmé Amidala's Senate gown first appeared in the 1999 prequel trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, and was worn by actress Natalie Portman.[1] Artist Iain McCaig conceptualized the design, and the finished costume was realized by costume designer Trisha Biggar and her department. McCaig began designing a costume that incorporated a Mongolian hairstyle in 1995. An initial sketch had tall shoulders[6] like those seen on the outmost layer of the finished costume;[1] the shoulders were toned down in subsequent sketches, such as one dated to December 15 of that year. The headdress would be featured in many of McCaig's storyboards.[6]

Biggar and the costume department made the peak-shouldered cape with faux fur. Beneath the cape is a robe in red-shot-green silk velvet with freehand embroidered motifs in bronze metallic thread, ruched yoke and hem panels. The robe is lined in orange silk taffeta overlaid with gold metallic organza, with seed pearls and trapunto detailing on the cuffs and collar. The underdress is constructed with layered sunray-pleated panels, decorated with antique beads, and made with orange-shot-silk vintage silk taffeta.[7]

Costume prop supervisor Ivo Coveney was responsible for crafting the escoffiate headdress.[8] It was first made in copper using electroforming, then gold-plated[7] with real gold to achieve the right quality of color.[9] Marketing for the film, such as bus sides, featured the costume.[10]

In the new Star Wars canon, the Senate gown was first identified by that name in the 2018 reference book Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition, which was written by Pablo Hidalgo and David Reynolds, matching its name in Star Wars Legends continuity which Reynolds originated with the 1999 reference book Star Wars: Episode I The Visual Dictionary.[11]


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Notes and references[]