Star Wars, Princess Leia and the Hopi

Hopi girl. Photo by Edward Curtis, 1906.

As everybody seems to be grieving the death of Carrie Fisher, best known for playing Princess Leai in the Star Wars film series, I thought it would be nice to share a detail about the hairstyle of said princess. This complex hairstyle by some is said to be inspired by the coiffure that unmarried Hopi girls would wear. To make this hairdo, a young woman’s mother would wind her hair around a curved piece of wood to give it a round shape, then remove the wood frame. However, George Lucas, asked about his inspiration for what is now one of the most well-known hairstyles in SciFi culture, once stated that Leia’s hair is “a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look” (source). The below image from his costuming archive serves as proof. So consider this BBC story as incorrect.

Picture from the ‘Stars Wars and the the Power of Costume’ exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.

ps I talked about Star Wars on these pages before, click here to discover the Oceanic influence on one particular weapon, or here to learn if African art influenced the costumes in these films.