New book to highlight 50 years of Star Trek costume design

Kirk and Spock tunics

Star Trek is known for many things, but in its first run on television in 1966-1969 it was widely known for William Ware Theiss’s costumes, both the vibrant red, blue and yellow (or green depending on your television set) Starfleet uniforms, and the spectacular alien of the week outfits for a vast range of guest stars (especially the women).  But it wouldn’t end there.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 brought a new update to the costumes, and further revisions would occur throughout 11 more movies through 2013.  On a parallel track were the four TV series that continued the stories of the Federation and their friends and enemies: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, and Enterprise. 

Robert Blackman creator of TNG designs
Star Trek costume designer Robert Blackman looking at TNG first-season uniforms.

We learned earlier this year from a review of Facebook fans of Star Trek that their most desired costumes included the original series red Starfleet security tunic as worn by Scotty and the blue style worn by Mr. Spock, Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s third-season two-piece uniform and his First Contact-style uniform, and the Horatio Hornblower-inspired red gabardine military coats worn by the original series cast between Star Trek II and Star Trek VII (and in flashbacks and parallel timelines throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager). 

At long last, a single volume coming in 2015 will focus on the costumes of all the series.  It will also be the first time Enterprise will get some real attention in a non-fiction chronicle.

Mudd's Women designs by William Ware Theiss
Original Theiss costume concept sketches.

Veteran Star Trek writers Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann have completed a 208 page work for Insight Editions titled Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier.  Block and Erdmann previously wrote Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series reviewed here and the Star Trek 365 series, including the TNG edition reviewed here, as well as the TNG fan staple Secrets of Star Trek Insurrection (by Erdmann) and Star Trek 101.

We at are big fans of production made genre movie and TV costumes and read all we can on the subject.  At the top of our list of best books on costumes for film so far are the landmark works Dressing a Galaxy, focusing on the Star Wars prequel costumes (the finest photographic work on costumes to-date) reviewed here, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles–Cloaks and Daggers, reviewed here, and Brandon Alinger’s newly released Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy, reviewed here.

Insight Edition Star Trek Dressing the Final Frontier
Early title and cover design concept for the new book on Star Trek costumes.

Here is the promotional description for Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier:

This deluxe book will showcase the unique costumes featured in the Star Trek franchise, from Mr. Spock’s staid Starfleet uniform to Uhura’s alluring mirror universe outfit. The book will feature a dazzling wardrobe gallery that explores beautiful and innovative fashions from the various film and television versions of Star Trek, including many different iterations of the iconic Starfleet uniform, exquisitely designed alien garb, and much, much more.

Every costume will be examined in intimate detail, tracing the design process from preproduction sketches to the final stunning outfit. Exclusive interviews with costume designers and experts will put the images into context. This unique visual treat will delight Star Trek fans and fashionistas alike.

Original Deborah Everton costume design sketch for “The Borg”.

You can pre-order Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier now at a discount rate from here.  It is scheduled for release on September 29, 2015.

C.J. Bunce

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