Influenced by the Space Age, designers such as Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne and André Courrèges tried to define in the '60s the fashion codes for the future. They created iconic garments and accessories in unusual materials, inspired by the shape of the moon, the astronauts' suits or the lunar palette, comprising the purest whites and the shiniest silvery tones.
Yet for those of us born after the '60s, the fashion of the Space Age was represented by one main film character - Princess Leia from the original Star Wars trilogy. Her white floor-length robe and hairdo with massive buns influenced indeed more than just one generation of fans.
Carrie Fisher, who starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, called the buns "hairy earphones", "laughable Leia hairstyle" and "the hair of a 17th century Dutch school matron", in her latest autobiography The Princess Diarist, a light yet revealing read for every Star Wars fan, based on diaries she wrote while shooting the first Star Wars film in 1976 and chronicling the story of Leia on set and her love affair with her (married) co-star Harrison Ford.
The actress and writer died yesterday at 60, while she was in intensive care, following a heart attack suffered on a transatlantic flight late last week while going back to Los Angeles from the European leg of her book tour.
Fisher was the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher (who left his wife for Elizabeth Taylor when Fisher was just two). Debuting in Shampoo (1975), Fisher became famous after the first Star Wars film.
She then acted intermittently (appearing in The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters and When Harry Met Sally), working (uncredited) as screenwriter and becoming an accomplished writer, revealing her wit in her novels and memoirs, and writing about her alcohol and drug problems and her rehab with honesty.
She reappeared as a fierceless General Leia Organa in Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015): the film gave her the chance to be once again part of the beloved saga, but opened old wounds as, in interviews, she criticized Hollywood for its obsession with appearance and the way the film industry treats women, revealing she was requested to lose weight when she played Leia in the original Star Wars films and in the 2015 sequel.
The actress finished filming on Episode VIII (due to be released next year) before she died and digitally manipulated footage of her is included in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). Fisher is survived by her daughter Billie (from her marriage to Bryan Lourd), an actress like her, her brother Todd, and her mother Debbie Reynolds, who is 84.
Leia's first costume - her white princess gown and her hairstyle had an impact on the fantasy of millions of fans (check out how many crocheted hats the "hairy earphones" style spawned...), including fashion designers.
So while the padded clothes for icy planets in The Empire Strikes Back were less inspiring and the slave bikini in Return of the Jedi was simply outrageous (still, killing a huge and disgusting space slug in an outrageous bikini was no mean feat…), the white virginal robe (by costume designer John Mollo) often reappeared in different versions (at times matched with the trademark buns...) on many runways and collections, including Balenciaga's S/S 2007 (the collection with the robotic C-3PO leggings, remember?), Givenchy's S/S 2013, Carolina Herrera's A/W 2013, and Ter et Bantine's A/W 2015, not to mention the many tributes that Star Wars received from the '70s to more recent years and, after the 2015 film, also from a younger generation of fashion designers, including Rodarte).
In The Princess Diarist Fisher also states that, as the years passed, she and Leia melded into one and, in many ways, she was right. It is indeed impossible not to think about the former without picturing the latter running down the corridor of a spaceship, viciously answering back Darth Vader or quarrelling with actor Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin, being surrounded by stormtroopers or appearing like a ghost as her hologrammed self while stating: "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!"
"As much as I may have joked about Star Wars over the years, I liked that I was in those films. Particularly as the only girl in an all-boy fantasy. They were fun to make," Fisher stated in the introduction to The Princess Diarist.
Will Fisher be digitally resurrected in the next films as it happened to Peter Cushing/Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One?
We'll see, but, for the time being, it was Fisher herself who pronounced the most prophetic words about her own self.
In her latest book she wrote: "The hairstyle that was chosen would impact how everyone – every filmgoing human – would envision me for the rest of my life. (And probably even beyond – it's hard to imagine any TV obituary not using a photo of that cute little round-faced girl with goofy buns on either side of her inexperienced head)."