Star Trek: Costumes
Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier
by Paula M. Block, Terry J. Erdmann
Introduction by Robert Blackman
Release date: October 13, 2015
For nearly 50 years, the Star Trek science fiction entertainment franchise has been a viable one, with its multi-series television episodes, movies, books, games, and more. The themes brought about in Star Trek have led to many discussions on in-depth issues, such as the nature of good vs. evil; the technology, weaponry, cultures, and morals of the future; and the franchise’s impact on not only pop culture, but on our society as a whole.
But, when you strip away all the heavy topics of Star Trek, you’re left with some fun action and adventure, and great storytelling, along with some fantastic — and some not so fantastic — costumes.
In Star Trek: Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier, a new over-sized hardcover book from Insight Editions, authors Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann take an extensive look at the costumes of Star Trek over the past five decades. The fashions throughout the years have been hit or miss, leaving fans wondering why certain wardrobe choices were made, and Star Trek: Costumes gives us the why on some of these decisions, straight from the people who came up with the designs.
Starting with the revealing skirted uniforms of the 1960’s The Original Series, the full-color book boldly goes through all six television series and twelve major motion pictures — ending with 2014’s Star Trek Into Darkness — to showcase the attire of the beloved Star Trek universe brought to life from the imagination of creator Gene Roddenberry and kept alive through to his current-day successors.
The designs of The Original Series, starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, were constricted by the TV show’s extremely limited budget, and the mentality at the time was the keep the women characters barely dressed. Female guest stars like Angelique Pettyjon, who appeared as Shahna in “The Gamesters of Triskelion,” often wore futuristic-looking midriff-revealing garb with heavy cleavage and/or short skirts, all of which was risque for 1960s television audiences. And even the women of Starfleet weren’t spared, given uniforms with insanely short and impractical skirts, a tend continued in J.J. Abrams’ current rebooted Trek universe.
This 256-page book contains a lot of behind-the-scenes photos and details, as it is a fully licensed product, and was culled together together from information provided by original costume designer William Ware Theiss, as well as costume designers Robert Fletcher, Robert Blackman, and Michael Kaplan, the latter of whom worked on J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek film universe.
Star Trek characters are instantly recognizable the world over, and part of that is due to the look of the characters, including their uniforms, religious vestments, cultural accoutrements, and everyday wear. Reoccurring characters and even one-episode guest stars have stayed in the minds of fans throughout the years, thanks to their recognizability. Along with the ever-changing and at times controversial Starfleet uniforms, there are, of course, a host of wardrobe selections for the various races throughout the scifi series — Vulcan, Klingon, Romulan, Borg, Ferengi, and much, much more. Star Trek Costumes goes through all of it, accompanying sections of interview and cited text with mostly full-color photos (and some behind-the-scenes B&W selections), along with concept art, sketches, and designs. And it’s more than just the clothing. The book puts a spotlight on integral accessories, such as Geordi’s visor, Worf’s baldric, and Khan’s salvaged techno-jewelry.
Star Trek Costumes is an beautiful and informative art book that fans of Star Trek will enjoy going through time and time again.
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