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Lot #: 463 M
Han Solo's (Harrison Ford) Jacket
STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)
Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) jacket from Irvin Kershner’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The Empire jacket was a subtle update of Solo’s vest from the original film, maintaining a similar pocket configuration and cut, with the addition of sleeves and a collar.
This exact jacket Solo jacket was used for sequences on Cloud City and screen matches numerous shots in the film. Unique identifiers include the placement, sizing and fold lines of the pockets, as well as a specific internal stitch-line within the collar that is visible in a close-up shot of Ford. At least one other jacket was used for filming and the jackets can be differentiated by their pocket placement.
Designed by Academy Award®-winning costume designer John Mollo, the jacket was manufactured by the small, independent tailor Caledonian Costumes, a firm started by former Bermans & Nathans employee Victor Somkowick.
Made of a cotton-woollen blend with a polyester satin lining, it features a mandarin collar, pockets on both sides at the chest and waist, a large pocket on the rear, a faux-pocket on the left arm, shoulder panel detailing and visible stitched detailing at the upper arm, elbow and cuffs. It shares several styling and cut details with Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) jacket worn on Dagobah and in Cloud City, notably the stitched detailing on the arms.
Several colours were considered before the final design was selected, in consultation with George Lucas and director Irvin Kershner. Although it appeared navy blue in the film, the jacket is deliberately a blue-grey colour. Designer Mollo stated that blues tend to appear black on film, and for that reason a garment intended to read as blue needed to be made in a lighter colour.
The jacket does not display any fasteners as it was designed to be worn open, as with Solo’s vest in A New Hope. Lucas famously did not want any visible fasteners on the costumes of Star Wars as he felt they were too close to the styling of modern-day Earth. The creator of Star Wars also did not want the costumes to stand out in the film; Mollo stated that Lucas instructed him to avoid making them appear “spacey”.
The cynical smuggler’s costume remained largely unchanged throughout the original trilogy. Mollo, who won one of his two Oscars for his work on Star Wars: A New Hope, described Han Solo’s look as “a mixture of a cowboy and a more orthodox space sort of thing”. The straightforward garb spoke to George Lucas’s description of the character in the fourth draft of Star Wars: “A mercenary in a starship, simple, sentimental and cocksure of himself.”
The jacket is the only significant Han Solo costume piece from the original trilogy ever to come to public auction. It featured prominently on marketing materials and consumer products relating to the film, including the famous Gone With the Wind-style theatrical poster featuring artwork by Tom Jung. Countless pieces of merchandise have been created featuring the jacket, ranging from drinking glasses to action figures. It is the embodiment of one of the most revered characters in cinema.
The Empire Strikes Back remains a high-point of the Star Wars saga. A 2014 Empire magazine poll of greatest movies, as voted by fans, listed it as the greatest motion-picture ever made. It was the highest grossing film of 1980, earning nearly twice as much as the number-two earner, and at that time was the third-highest grossing film in history, behind only the original Star Wars and Jaws. The film also has the honour of being selected to be archived by the U.S. Library of Congress.
Academy-Award nominated Harrison Ford is one of the world’s most beloved actors, having portrayed Han Solo in addition to George Lucas’ other heroic creation Indiana Jones, as well as many other timeless characters. Ford received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2000, and in 1997 was ranked by Empire magazine as number one on a list of “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time”.
This historic piece has been conserved by noted textile conservationists Janie Lightfoot & Co. and displays only minor instances of loose threading and minimal wear as a result of production use. It is presented on a bust display and remains in excellent condition. Included with the jacket are several 8x10 reference photos, comprising production stills and screen captures. Dimensions (displayed): 58 cm x 68 cm x 167 cm (22 ¾” x 26 ¾” x 65 ¾”)
£500,000 - 1,000,000