Photographed by Eisuke Ishimuro, Vogue, November 1977.
As we look forward to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we decided to dig up the backstory of an unforgettable 1977 sitting featuring members of the cast of the original film, now called Episode IV: A New Hope.
The “force” behind Vogue’s Star Wars shoot, was, says sittings editor Jade Hobson, the magazine’s then editorial director, Alexander Liberman. That it was photographed mere months after the release of the movie was “one of [his] geniuses,” she explains. “He was so attuned to the media . . . and he made sure that we included all of this in our pages, and he was always able to find a way.”
Liberman handpicked photographer Eisuke Ishimuro (who was known for his vintage wardrobe) for the sitting. Nearly 40 years later, Ishimuro explained his approach to Vogue.com. “Since [Star Wars] heavily relied on visual effect, we thought the photographs should be simple and direct,” he says. “I lit them to look two-dimensional and almost comic strip–like.”
The super-heroines of the story, which was not only about the film, but also about long-haired furs on long-haired girls—“we called them the Big Blondes,” says Hobson—were A-list models Jerry Hall and Maria Hanson (a Swedish mannequin who would become the face of Maidenform in the 1980s). “The girls were really fun,” remembers Garren, who was responsible for their hair, “because Jerry really gives and . . . [Hall and Hanson] were up to each other—they were equal in power.”
The shoot took place over several days in Los Angeles. In those days, says Hobson, “editors carried the shoot with them. I don’t know how many trunks were on this shoot, but you can imagine, and my plane was met by some Brink’s people who kept [them] and would deliver them to the studio each day.”
Beauty-wise, the concept was to create hair that was as voluminous as the pelts, an effect that took more than a fan. “The crimpy curly hair was in fashion, so we did the full hair,” says Garren. “We did not use any extensions or hairpieces. In those days, we used their own hair.” He sent Hall to bed in rollers, and Hanson in twisters. “We didn’t use the iron,” Garren adds. “We actually wet-set the hair so it would actually get that volume to it.”
Who was the most high-maintenance member of the crew? It wasn’t the glamorous Hall, whom Hobson describes as someone who “just loved clothes and dressing up and did her best to show the clothes.” Rather, it was that C-3PO. But not because he was throwing ’tude. It took hours to harness him into his costume, which could be worn only for a short time because, Hobson says, “it just got too hot.”
This story—plus unpublished outtakes from the shoot—was photographed by Eisuke Ishimuro, styled by Jade Hobson, with hair by Garren and makeup by Ariella. It originally appeared in the November 1977 issue of Vogue.