There are few film costumes more iconic – or controversial – than the “slave bikini” which Carrie Fisher donned in the 1983 Star Wars film Return of the Jedi.
While for Star Wars fans around the world the fascination with the sculptural two-piece has never really gone away – it is one of the most popular guises seen at fan conventions and the original sold for $96,000 at the Profiles of History online auction in 2015.
“I remember that iron bikini I wore in Episode VI: what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of Hell,” ― Carrie Fisher
The Slave Leia costume refers to the bikini-style outfit worn by Princess Leia Organa when she was captured by Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi. The costume was worn by Carrie Fisher and stuntwoman Tracy Eddon and was created by costume designers Aggie Guerard Rodgers and Nilo Rodis-Jamero, inspired by the works of fantasy artist Frank Frazetta’s Egyptian Queen. Star Wars creator George Lucas requested the costume in part based on Fisher’s complaints about the lack of interesting costumes in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
The costume has gained a huge fan following since the 1983 release of Return of the Jedi. Hundreds of female fans wear home-made and store-bought versions of the costume at science fiction conventions, many of whom post pictures of themselves on the popular fansite, Leia’s Metal Bikini. Variations of the costume have been worn by characters in other Star Wars mediums, like Diva Shaliqua in The Phantom Menace, Zam Wesell in Star Wars: Jango Fett, and the Jedi Exile in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
The costume has also made several pop culture appearances outside of the Star Wars universe, such as when it was worn by Jennifer Aniston in the television sitcom Friends, by Yvonne Strahovski in the TV show Chuck, and Kristen Bell in Fanboys.