LAST WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS …
THERE’S a chance this already exists in a private video booth in some cosplay dungeon, and I’ve just missed it in the crowd, but I wouldn’t mind one day seeing an exciting mini-series set in the Star Trek universe exploring the heroic history of Star Fleet’s uniform designers. Specifically, a plotline exploring the urgent question of just who dropped just what into the Chief Fashion Officer’s Kool Aid around 2265, the year we first caught up with Kirk, Spock, Bones and company in the original Trek.
The latest addition to the boldly going franchise, Star Trek: Discovery, which beamed down courtesy of Netflix last week, is set one decade before Captain Kirk’s crew set out on their adventures. It looks pretty decent, with a vibrant cast, if a bit predictably dark-grimwar-in-spacey. But, to be frank, the uniforms haven’t really moved along the catwalk too much from the drab blue Thunderbirdsy boiler suits that distinguished the team in the previous square-jawed prequel, Star Trek: Enterprise, which, if I’m keeping my stardates straight (a job even Spock was finding tricky by the end), was set 100 years before Kirk’s time. Sure, these new/old Discovery boiler suits are a little snugger and sleeker, and look a tad more rubbery, giving and hard-wearing – just the sort of utilitarian, sponge-down, stain-resistant combo, in fact, you’d probably want to zip yourself into if you were exploring the cold, strange vastnesses of space while being harried by weird and warlike enemies who are probably just misunderstood and have their own problems, if you’d just all sit down and talk about it. But given we’re only ten years away from the Kirk era, you have to wonder: what the hell happened next? How did they make the quantum leap from this square Military Dynorod In Space look to the bright, swinging Whisky A Go Go styles rocked by Uhura and the gang?
It seems a stretch, but I guess it’s not so far-fetched. If you were to compare archive photographs of Carnaby Street circa 1956 and 1968, you would see a similarly radical change, and I’d like to think that similar dynamics are in play in the Trek cosmos. In the fantasy fashion space opera running in my mind, the climactic scene is much like the moment in Mad Men when Roger Sterling took LSD for the first time. Having let the sugar lump dissolve on his tongue, our square-jawed Star Fleet Chief Of Costume plunges into a crystal Pop Art vortex of hyper awareness and self-realisation, then wakes to find a note he wrote to himself from the very depths of his trip: “Vibrating Primary Colours! Mid-calf trousers with flares! High-top Beatle Boots! Miniskirts! Miniskirts!! MINISKIRTS!!!”
The ominous question, of course, is, after this bold breakthrough, what terrible calamity occurred in Trek society to cause them to regress to the hideous smart onesies worn by JeanLuc Picard’s band in Star Trek: The Next Generation? A chilling vision of the future, indeed.