It’s Fashion week in NYC! The glitter, the glamour, the metallic spandex?!?
Science Fiction and Fashion go together like Kirk and Spock…like R2-D2 and C-3PO…like, well, Manolo and Blahnik. Don’t believe me? I know it’s not something many of us consider on a daily basis, but stop and think about the incredible significance costume design plays in our favorite shows. Where would our beloved characters be without their metallic shoulder pads, angular hems, or the infamous unitards? Can you imagine The Fifth Element without the unique costuming of renowned designer Jean-Paul Gaultier? Even the Jetsons had their own look! The next time you sit down with your popcorn and an episode of Battlestar or Doctor Who, pay close attention. Costume designers influence your perception of a character, and can tell the viewers a lot about when, where, and why those people are on TV.
Costuming in Scifi hasn’t always been so subtle. I’m sure we can all remember those films with the tin-foil wrapped helmets and UFO’s on strings. Thankfully, futuristic fashion has come a long way throughout the years. In the 50’s, miniskirts appeared in such classics as “Forbidden Planet” a full decade before becoming popular on the streets. In 1968, Barbarella introduced fantastical fashions with even shorter hemlines! Since then, we’ve gone through countless versions of futuristic garb, from Star Trek’s body conscious dresses and tops, to the looser robes and molded plastic of Star Wars. Today, we have become used to our SciFi with sleek, sophisticated costumes, coupled with bleak, dystopian sets. Black, white, and grey seem to dominate the landscape of our wardrobe of tomorrow. We can only hope our actual color palette doesn’t remain as limited.
Futuristic fashion can be found off screen as well. You can see the genre’s influence on the streets, and it’s even made a comeback in current runway collections. (Seriously, pay attention this Fall!) It may appear that this trend is simply a throwback to what has already been, but it might be more than that. By taking another pass at the fashions of yesterday, perhaps we are trying to reignite the hope once associated with those space-centered dreams and aspirations. There’s magic in boundless imagination, allure in sparkly shoes, and power in the perception of a future brimming with possibilities.