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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #11 of 12: Fashion and Shopping

Crimson Guard mannequin!

The most vivid mannequin I’ve ever seen in my life.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

Most attendees of any given con spend a good 90% of their weekend in the exhibit hall. Sure, it’s cool to meet famous people, see the work of impressive artists, photograph cosplayers, and attend panels, and not always in that order. But the average ticketholder does the majority of their walking up and down the aisles past the various licensed merchandisers, collectible dealers, comic shop owners, toy eBay-ers, and other small businesses and large companies dying to trade pop culture miscellanea for all that disposable income.

Times may have been tough for Celebration dealers, though. Thousands of fans were far more interested in the official Celebration Store and its coveted exclusives than in any used-Star-Wars retailers. At a show where the unifying theme was ostensibly Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS, nearly every vendor assumed we were all there to buy nothing but Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS. Some booths sold different kinds of Star Wars, but it was still Star-Wars-brand Star Wars. After a while, all those identically stamped and trademarked products began to blend together. By the time we concluded our weekend, the exhibit hall had paradoxically morphed before our very eyes into a rather mundane bazaar.

A few hardy professionals did their best to stand out anyway…


Hallmark Popminded!

Hundreds lost their minds lining up at the Hallmark booth to gaze upon their “Popminded” line of geek-driven merch. Hallmark: not just for Star Wars ornaments anymore!

Star Wars Bean Bag Chairs!

Star Wars bean bag chairs for the kids. Now they can sit on a Jabba that can’t slobber all over them!

Lego Luke 3-D!

Star Wars Lego sets looked the same as they ever have to us, but 3-D Lego Luke busting out of a 2-D Lego mural was a nice touch.

Star Wars pinball!

Star Wars pinball has been around for decades (our old laundromat used to have a fun Data East machine), but now of course you can buy your own.

Ana Star Wars planes!

Book the right flights to, from, or within Japan and you might get a ride in one of Ana’s ostentatious Star Wars airplanes. Real, actual passenger jets, not just these models.

Big 3 autographs!

Don’t like the Celebration guest list? Settle for secondhand autographs at a few different high-end souvenir carriers.

autograph pricing!

Sample autograph prices at a different booth. A few of them were competitively priced for anyone interested in getting a bargain and not meeting Forest Whitaker in person.

Fans tired of staring at price tags and pegboards and stacks of dusty Kenner boxes could find other areas of the hall to relax. On the side of the hall with the heaviest concentration of Star Wars fan clubs, there was a Star Wars fashion show! All costumes and handicrafts were for-fans-by-fans. Nothing for sale as far as I know, though — these were display models only.

fan fashion show!

Explore the many phases of Padme Amidala or other characters who ever wore more than one costume.

Amidala headpiece!

An Amidala headpiece that could use some bedazzling.

Jango & Holdo!

Jango Fett and Vice Admiral Holdo. Call them the Pew-Pew Twins.

fan Chewbacca!

I’m amazed at how sturdier fans than me can bear to wear Wookiee costumes and not drown in their own sweat.

Star Wars shirts!

Meanwhile back at the vendors’ booths, T-shirts are much more my ventilation level. And we’re long past the old days when they just slapped a simple Luke on a white tee and called it a day. Lots more design options now.

Vader and Porg!

If you’d like to try anything on, just ask Vader and his Porg for assistance.

Her Universe Padme!

Chibi-Padme holds court over at Her Universe, pioneers in women’s Star Wars fashion. Founder/designer Ashley Eckstein herself often hung out at the booth and attracted long lines.

fan art wall!

One exhibitor encouraged Star Wars graffiti and fan art on a festive wall.

EFX helmets!

Fans who’d rather stare at accessories than wear them could stop by EFX Collectibles and order a Star Wars war helmet to put on their shelves next to the toys they also never touch.

Crushed Vader Helmet!

True helmet connoisseurs were treated to a sneak preview of EFX’s latest objet d’art: a replica crushed Vader helmet. A surfeit of premium items like this, miles above our pay grade, is why Anne stuck to just buying Celebration pins.

To be concluded! Other chapters in this very special maxiseries:

Prologue: Our Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Pre-Show: Who We’ve Already Met
Part Zero: MCC Live-Tweet: Our First Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Line
Part 1: Imperial Cosplay
Part 2: The Right Side of the Force Cosplay
Part 3: Scum and Villainy Cosplay
Part 4: Rising with Skywalkers
Part 5: The Stars in Our Galaxy
Part 6: The Droids We Weren’t Looking For
Part 7: How to Draw Star Wars the Marvel Way
Part 8: Adventures in Official Merchandising
Part 9: World of Wheels and Wings
Part 10: Welcome to Our World of Space Toys
Part 12: What We Did in the Star Wars

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