John Mollo, Costume Designer for Star Wars, Has Passed Away

John Mollo Oscar

John Mollo, as reported by The Times, has passed away at the age of 86. His expertise was in military history, serving as a consultant for period dramas such as Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. Following the completion of his work with Kubrick, Mollo was invited to quite a different British production: George Lucas’ then untitled third feature film. Mollo brought no previous experience with science fiction to Star Wars, instead drawing on World War I trench armor for Darth Vader and Nazi storm troopers for the Galactic Empire’s, um, storm troopers (subtle Lucas was not). At Lucas’ suggestion, he turned to the imagery of the American West for the narrative’s heroes. As such, Mollo had a large hand in some of the most iconic visual designs in 20th Century popular culture and for his efforts was awarded an Oscar for Best Costume Design. He followed up Star Wars with Ridley Scott’s Alien, creating clothes which contributed to the Nostromo‘s lived-in feel. He returned to Star Wars for The Empire Strikes Back. In 1983 he won a second Oscar for Ghandi (shared with Bhanu Athaiya.

For more, please see The Hollywood Reporter.

Rest in Peace.

Darth Vader by John Mollo

5 thoughts on “John Mollo, Costume Designer for Star Wars, Has Passed Away”

  1. Ya, those costumes are well done in all of those movies.. Alien as well. I guess we only really notice costumes when they stand out in a weird way. Valerian comes to mind. The costumes in Valerian were so obviously costumes that they greatly contributed to the general terribleness of the whole movie. In Star Wars and Alien the costumes make you forget that you’re watching a movie. It’s like I’m looking through a portal to the future… or a galaxy far far away and a long time ago.

    1. I would argue that with the possible exception of James Earl Jones’ voice work, the first aspect of Vader most people think of is his distinctive appearance which is pretty much all due to costume design . . .

      1. Ya, Vader and the Stormtrooper armor is iconic and also seamless in those films. They fit. I can’t imagine it would be easy to make costumes seem practical and wonderful at the same time.

        Although I do wonder about the practical part. What is the point of Stormtrooper armor again? They may as well just wear their original “brown shirts”.

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