#UK Designers channel their ‘Star Wars’ geekdom for charity

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CORRECTS DESIGNER TO TODD SNYDER - A luscious merino shearling coat designed by Todd Snyder, inspired by the film,

NEW YORK (AP) — Chewbacca never had it so good.

The ultra-hairy « Star Wars » character isn’t known for his fashion sensibility, but he was the inspiration for not one but two highly furry ensembles displayed Tuesday by designers indulging their inner « Star Wars » geekdom with new looks — to be auctioned off for charity — as fans hotly await the seventh installment later this month, « Star Wars: The Force Awakens. »

The dozen or so garments in the « Force 4 Fashion » collection — by the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, Rag & Bone and Opening Ceremony — were based mainly on new characters in the latest film, but also a few veterans. Most recognizable were the stormtrooper ensembles created by Ovadia & Sons, which presented a floor-length boxy white coat with black trim, and by Opening Ceremony, which displayed a more tightly tailored look — well, for a stormtrooper — in white microsuede.

As for Chewie, he (or it?) inspired a luscious merino shearling coat by Billy Reid, lined with brown leather and paired with a white turtleneck sweater and gray wool track pants. The creature was also embodied in a furry Todd Snyder ensemble, pairing a brown coat with white top and tan pants.

Some designers went for the glamour. Not surprisingly, Diane von Furstenberg incorporated her signature « wrap » effect into a gold, filmy ensemble for Rey, the new film’s female protagonist, played by Daisy Ridley. Parker presented a glittery Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), inspired by ancient tribal warriors; the same character got a dramatic printed gown from Giles Deacon.

Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag & Bone, self-professed « Star Wars » fans, also clothed Rey, but in a much sportier style emulating their athletic urban streetwear. (The designers also offered a darker look for villain Kylo Ren.)

There was some definite gender-bending happening, particularly with Halston. The label’s designer, Maria Mazelis, decided to give the male Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) a female identity, probably because, well, gowns are a lot more glamorous than menswear.

« I was really excited by the idea of a villain, » Mazelis said, standing alongside her sleek dark gown, with a plunging neckline, sheer back and revealing side slits, topped off with a beaded mask that covers the eyes. « The complexity of this character was intriguing. It’s powerful, but emotional too. Strong and yet vulnerable. I wanted to show that duality. »

And Cynthia Rowley gave a human character to the droid BB-8, putting the character in a white pants, a sweatshirt with a big ‘8’ on it, and a round football-style helmet.

Disney and Bloomingdale’s are partnering for the fundraising initiative; proceeds from the auction will go to the Child Mind Institute. (There are, as yet, no plans to recreate the pieces for sale.) A separate auction will feature a custom, bejeweled BB-8 created by Kay Jewelers, weighing more than one and a half pounds and made of gold and diamonds. Proceeds from that auction will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, a representative said, noting that the piece had been appraised at $135,000.

Though a number of the designers are said to be big « Star Wars » fans, Mazelis was thinking of her kids, ages 4 and 6, whom she called « superfans. » Will her design earn her some points with them?

« One day they will appreciate it, » she replied hopefully.

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