Glove Story of the Week - The May the Fourth Gloves | The Fashion Museum

Glove Story of the Week - The May the Fourth Gloves

Welcome to Week 13 of our series showcasing the world-class Glove Collection of the Worshipful Company of the Glovers of London, cared for and housed here in Bath at the Fashion Museum.

4 May 2019

We have been waiting for the perfect date to choose this particular pair for Glove Story of the week. So, for May the Fourth, we are sharing…. the Star Wars Gloves! May the Fourth be with you!

These are a pair of costume gloves which, so the story goes, were designed for a character in the Star Wars films of the 1970s and 1980s. The gloves are made of silvered rubber-effect synthetic backed fabric, which we can see is now starting to degrade and wear off. They are gauntlet-style gloves, with long quite narrow cuffs reaching well up the forearm.

The Star Wars Gloves are still joined together, with a single looped thread at the cuff. It would seem, therefore, that these gloves may never actually have been worn. Perhaps they were a prototype or test, for a style of glove that later went into production?

However, after long hours freeze-framing footage in the films in the original trilogy, we can, with tentative confidence, assert that these are the same style as the gloves worn by Luke Skywalker in the opening scenes of The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

This was a critical time in the epic inter-galactic narrative. Pursued by the Galactic Empire the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Leia Organa, along with her friends Luke Sykwalker and Han Solo, are in hiding on the ice planet Hoth. Luke goes out on his tauntaun, but soon falls foul of the wampa, a carnivorous predator, standing over two metres tall. The vicious monster drags brave Luke back to his bone-cluttered lair, and is just about to devour him when Han rescues the [comatose] Jedi knight-in-training and takes him back to the Rebel base. And all this in sub-zero temperatures and frozen icy wastes: sturdy protective gloves are certainly called for…

The Star Wars Gloves are a bit of a mystery. They have been part of the Glove Collection for as long as anyone can remember; but no one quite knows where they came from, or indeed how they were acquired. Perhaps one day some information will come to light; but in the meantime they are a wonderful fiction and much admired.

The Star Wars Gloves are in Glove Stories , which is on display at the Fashion Museum Bath until 1 March 2020. To celebrate the display we are highlighting one fabulous pair of gloves from this wonderful collection every week.

Glove images: Courtesy of the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London

Glove photography: Celie Nigoumi