Tuesday, May 15, 2012

science fashion: a post by karen g.

It’s always fascinated me what people predicted we and our alien invaders would be wearing in the future.  Science Fiction fashion was quite a hobby of mine when I was younger; being a little obsessed with TV shows like "Star Trek" and "Buck Rogers" and the Star Wars movies of course.  Below are some favorite moments (and outfits) from a selection of classic Sci Fi TV shows and movies.

The outfits, jewelry and hairstyles of former model, Michelle Nichols on the 1960s series “Star Trek” would look groovy even today!

Groundbreaking TV: The earth-shattering interracial kiss between Lieutenant Uhrura (played by model Michelle Nichols) and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) in 1968 was made even juicier by their amazing make-up and outfits. Work that beehive girl!

"Klaatu barada nikto":  In the 1951 film The Day The Earth Stood Still our alien Klaatu (played by Michael Rennie) wore an American Apparel-styled gray tracksuit while his robot “Gort” looked flashy in silver from head to toe, finished nicely with ankle-length matching silver Uggs.

I wonder if Sean Connery knew what kind of outfit he was in for when he signed up for the 1974 Post Apocalyptic film, Zardoz.  According to this film, this is what we’ll all be wearing in AD2293.  

Gil Gerard doesn’t need a shirt in the future: While earth recovers from a nuclear war, our hero, "Buck Rogers" saves the world in a gold outfit. (Now I’m convinced American Apparel draws inspiration from science fiction shows and movies.  I know I saw this jacket in their catalogue last year.)

Who is Aggie? For most, the name Aggie Guerard Rodgers doesn’t ring any bells, but mention Carrie Fisher’s 'slave costume' in Return of the Jedi and even people who aren’t Sci-Fi buffs will know what you’re talking about.  Rodgers, who designed costumes for movies such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; American Graffiti and Beetlejuice may be most remembered for the outfit Princess Leia wore while imprisoned by Jabba the Hut.

Even for those who didn’t enjoy the movie, Jean Paul Gaultier’s colorful fashions in The Fifth Element were a delight to watch.  The Blue Diva was my absolute favorite costume in the film. 

“You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!  While each episode had an original cast, set/costume design and idea, some of the more creative and original stories and costumes I’ve seen over the years were imagined by Rod Serling.  

In 1983’s V – Our Aliens came disguised as friendly humans with big hair.  The alien planet is dying and our “intruders” have come to take the last of earth’s resources for themselves, looking super fashionable in red jumpsuits.

Inspiration for Lil Wayne’s hairstyle perhaps? Predator is still one of the most stylish and creative alien designs I’ve seen over the years.  (Love that he came equipped with his own repair kit!)

Back to the Future? It’s interesting to look back at the evolution of how our fashions and aliens have been imagined over the years.  Our aliens went from shiny silver in The Day the Earth Stood Still to shiny black in the 80s, Alien to blue in The Fifth Element and Avatar.  I’m curious to see, in this age of science fiction, when nothing seems too far-fetched anymore, what our costume designers will come up with next to keep us enthralled.  Have we seen it all? Or do our designers still have a few original ideas up their sleeves.  I guess we’ll all have to look to the future to find out. 


  1. Excellent writing and perspective, as usual! I remember seeing the original The Day the Earth Stood Still when I was 11 years old (this was two years after I rocked the Ghostbuster look) and thinking immediately that Klaatu would make for an incredible Halloween costume. (Sounds like I just found - or rediscovered - my inspiration for this upcoming October 31st!)