Charlie (@chozzles) and Anna (@ajlobster) are revisiting Star Trek: The Next Generation. In a big way. And we've noticed that the clothes on that show are AMAZING. And not just 1987 amazing, or 24th century amazing, but BOTH, SIMULTANEOUSLY.
We celebrate those fashions here.
fashionitso [at] gmail [dot] com if you wanna holler.
Our screenshots come from trekcore.com when they're good and were taken by us in the old days when they're bad.
It takes me a good 4 seconds to mentally differentiate Cardassian/Kardashian. Every time.
We know how you feel, and we’re simultaneously bummed and happy that someone in the interwebz has already taken advantage of the potential conflation. Not sure how old the design is, but it’s certainly relevant to our current post. And, man-oh-man, do we have a lot of Cardassian to keep up with (that’s a hint for my next post).
Sometimes, when I go through an ep to prep for these pieces, I see all the clothes and I’m like OH GOD DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO HAVE A CRAZY OUTFIT? So it’s nice every now and again to get an episode that has, like, just a couple crazy outfits that we can really spend some time on.
I’m going to sum up the episode with one word: CARDASSIANS. This episode is our exciting first look at these very palette-neutral aliens, so the story follows a familiar “meet a new species and see how weird they are” arc. For plot information, go see Zach Handlen’s eminently capable summary/review of the episode over at the Onion’s AV Club.
For fashion, let’s start with some nice 24th Century plating:
Unless that thing in the center is ice cream, none of the things on that plate are food.
But points for color coordination and geometric arrangement. Listen, there wasn’t a ton of stuff in this ep, so I took everything I could get my hands on.
This dish courtesy of Keiko O’Brien, who in the previous episode tied the knot with transporter Chief Miles (that was an early post, too, and I forgot how insane the fashions in that ep are… Keiko’s wedding dress was made largely out of materials available at a Hallmark store). This is them figuring out married life… eating crazy foods! Anyway. Keiko, what you got for us today?
If she cooked like she dresses, they’d be having pizza.
Especially compared to what she wore in the previous ep (and what we know will be heading our way in the next ep, Devil’s Due), this is downright sensible. True, the fabric choices seem to be a bit on the overcomplicated side—the sleeves remind me of those super-fuzzy hotel blankets that produce copious amounts of static electricity, and the gold part seems to have more texture than is necessary—but there’s nothing happening here that would make me stop her in the corridor and say, whoa gurl. Plus, can I just say, Keiko is looking right. Miles is a lucky man.
Their dinner is interrupted by shots fired! It’s this guy:
WE HATE COLOR.
So this is the first ever seen Cardassian. He has a name and a legacy and things, but what we really need to focus is that everything is one color. Many of our readers know that the Cardassian’s monochromism will be played with jauntily in Deep Space Nine, but for now, we’ve got this. Shall we zoom in for a closer look?
You know you’re telling every one of your viewers with headgear that it’s a sign of a bad guy, right? NOT HELPING.
Even more bizarrely, he never wears this thing again, nor do any other Cardassians, as far as I can tell. Is it some sort of a steering wheel? Anyway. From this angle, his outfit looks like it was inspired by a turtle shell.
Quick aside with a Starfleet Admiral we’ve never seen and will most likely never see again:
That gold piping means he’s fancy.
But if you thought this was his serious face, you are wrong. THIS is his serious face.
Don’t make me come over there.
This has me wondering… did Wardrobe create an entire outfit for this guy? Or is he just wearing a bib that ends at the waist? Also, what’s happening in his shoulders? He looks like he might be wearing one of those psuedo sumo wrestler outfits.
Still wearing those weird headpieces. Could they be really optimistic helmets?
I do enjoy when new species always look really confused when they first get beamed on board the Enterprise. “It seems to be… some sort… of a transporter room…” Anyway, I can’t see a thing. Let’s zoom in.
Can we shrink wrap some hockey gear in a garbage bag? Great.
Really, the most upsetting thing here was when I discovered that in this early iteration, they thought it might be a good idea for Cardassians to have weird, sassy… beards? Can you call something that looks like a symmetrical shaving mistake a beard? It looks either like he’s drooling facial hair OR that he has matching moles on either side of his face that are actually what’s left of the two triplets who didn’t develop fully when he was a fetus. Both are pretty gross to think about, so let’s move on.
What’s going on in between his pec plates? Let’s get another shot.
You know what we could use on the Cardassian’s chest to help them look more intimidating? A golden vagina.
This quite frankly looks like an outfit where the designer spent 90% of their time on that weird chestpiece and then, 20 minutes before it was due on set, realized she needed to do the rest of the outfit. Anything super exciting in back?
The most impressive part of this is, given how much padding has to be in this getup, how supple his butt looks.
Honestly, the most interesting part of their outfits seem to be whatever lining is under there:
I mean, it looks like something that an aging, melodramatic theater teacher would wear. Wait a second.
Happy Fourth of July from the Enterprise’s favorite American, Will Riker! Watch out, though, that flag has 52 stars! (The US still has until 2033 to get in line with continuity though.) While many people will spend the day thinking about our nation’s history, I encourage you all to check out our nation’s future, at least as outlined by Memory Alpha (we love you guys!). If you prefer the more traditional fireworks display, Memory Alpha has you covered there as well (though at least one or two of those Trek-universe fireworks displays happen in alternate timelines, so be aware).
Everyone have a explosive—yet safe—Independence Day.
Oh, season one! Sometimes when I think of these early episodes, I feel like the writer’s room must have been like this:
Because, LBR, any show’s first episodes usually has some traces of “we don’t know what we’re doing yet!” That’s fine: figure yo shit out, TNG. And they did. And these episodes still exist today for our amusement.
The episode is a lot of uniforms throughout, but let’s do a quick look around.
It’s gonna be okay, Worf.
This is a lot of touching for a Commander, isn’t it? Anyway, this is before they figured out that Worf would actually punch someone for doing this.
How’s Deanna looking?
Has anyone seen my vagina?
In all fairness, I like this outfit on her, though she needs to find some way to keep the lap area from getting wrinkled. The colors work though. I guess they had to abandon this outfit though because her boobs don’t stand out as much.
How you doing, captain?
Man, though, those zippers in the front didn’t do no favors for nobody. True, I have no idea how they would have gotten in or out of their zippers-in-the-back uniforms, but THAT’S A SEASON THREE PROBLEM. I love this expression on JLP’s face. This is basically what’s going on:
Anyway, the mission is to get to know the Ferengi, who at this point in Star Trek mythology are mysterious and intimidating. Here’s the first look we get:
Man, I hope he doesn’t end up regretting that forehead-lobe tattoo.
So, the major fashion tenets of the Ferengi so far appear to be a stole made out of lemur fur and little dangly things coming from the back of their head. I’m intrigued.
For some reason, who ever was the Director of Photography on this episode thought it would be a lot of fun to do a lot of really crazy, ’70s-esque foreground/background shots. These next two pics are the entire screen during Picard’s conversation with the Ferengi:
Zoom out, dammit, I feel like I’m about to fall into one of his pores. (Actually, what am I saying, he has perfect skin).
There are a lot of shenanigans going on, of course—mysterious forcefield trapping both the humans and the Ferengi, sapping them of all their power—but more important than the plot shenanigans are the side-bits, amirite? We cut away to the senior officers going to have a conference, but who’s in the conference room???
CUTEST VULCAN EVER. (Sorry, Quinto.)
But OMG kids in the conference room?! Picard’s not gonna like that. Wouldn’t it be crazy if this was just all part of some insane bit? Also… why are these children in muscle-tees? Wait, let’s see if we can get another angle.
Riker’s excusatory quote here is literally “Boys will be boys.” Sigh. Isn’t this, like, a military vessel? Whatever.
Let’s talk about the fact that “muscle-tee-onesies” are now a thing. For children. At least they come in both block colors and sassy patterns… I feel like the patterning on the farther one might have been inspired by the background scene design of Whitney Houston’s "How Will I Know?".
Anyway, the bit is that THOSE KIDS HAVE LEFT A TOY IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM and Data picks it up. So take a look as Data—a highly advanced android—gets befuddled by a child’s toy. (Please also note the weird 3D display that they use here and that NEVER GETS USED AGAIN.)
That’s our Data! Coming this fall to UPN.
Anyway, the necessary action must be an away team. Cut to:
Leftover set from the Dark Crystal.
It was the early nineties (note from Anna: Charlie. This is Season One. That means it was the late eighties. Even worse), so we can’t really blame them for being a little weak in the sets department, and if nothing else, they were REALLY TRYING on this one. But yeah.
Something goes wrong with the transporter and Riker can’t find anyone at first, so he goes out onto this cliff and yells:
But what it looks like is this:
RIKER: THE MUSICAL. Big emotional ballad: “One is the Lonliest Number (One)”.
Then the Ferengi show up and we get a better look at their clothes.
I have to believe that a lot of this was inspired by “CATS”
Can we get a better angle?
"Do we have any fabric that will match these rocks, exactly? Yes? Wonderful."
Okay, so let me get this straight: they wear some sort of animal skin, shimmery, baggy sleeves, and prefer gray/beige colors? I feel like they’re more like Upper Class Upper East Side grandmas than savvy space-traders. Also, they use whips as weapons. GO FIGURE.
That’s right, folks—Armin Shimerman was one of the very first Ferengi! Well done sir, well done. Sparkly sleeve notwithstanding. Is that a zipper down the middle of his fur toga?
So, we’ve been on this planet for, like, a while, with just mountains and crystals and scraggly trees, and then they hear a noise and everyone turns and THERE’S A BRIDGE that wasn’t there a second ago. Also a light show.
Is that Ghostwriter? (WHERE MY PBS HOMIES AT?)
Let’s hope it’s not a giant face that’s just going to tal—
Jor-El? (WHERE MY SUPERMAN HOMIES AT?)
In all honesty, I know almost nothing about Superman. I sort of think that little people talking to mysterious giant heads has been done since Wizard of Oz, but who am I to judge. Let’s hope he has a more interesting physical form.
Hefty? (WHERE MY GARBAGE BAG HOMIES AT?)
But seriously, what is he wearing? I mean, I like that spear, but it doesn’t seem to match the tattered wizard garb. It’s like Gandalf the Grey holding Gandalf the White’s staff, AMIRITE? Let’s get a closer look.
Those splatter-paint highlights make me think this is something Diesel might have designed in the early nineties. “Trashbag-chic.” $4,000.
It’s like something halfway between a bag lady and a dementor, which, like, weren’t that far apart to begin with.
The trim on the hood seems a little superfluous, especially since the effect they’re going for seems to be “unkempt ancient toolbooth operator.” But I digress. What’s going on under that hood?
OH MY GOD IT’S THE REANIMATED REMAINS OF BEA ARTHUR!
Looks like you’ve said one stupid thing too many, Rose. CUZ DOROTHY IS BACK AND SHE IS PISSED.
I’m glad they’ve got a little more going on color-wise on that… outfit seems like too strong a word. Comprehensive cloak? Sure let’s go with that.
Now, all I can think of is Amanda Lepore’s “I don’t know much about clothes, but my hair looks fierce.”
Anyway, the episode takes a predictable turn from here. This dude is an ancient security system left by this long dead empire, and the Ferengi try to convince him that the Enterprise officers are the bad guys. Apparently the direction to make this like “CATS” continues through this plot point since, as they talk, they keep doing this:
I’m ready for someone to do their pop culture dissertation connecting all of Gaga’s moves to TNG episodes. MAKE IT HAPPEN, UNIVERSE.
So the dude gives Riker a test… and… sort of asks him a question? And the answer is Fear? It didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Meanwhile, up on the Enterprise, the power is almost out, and so everyone is slowly freezing to death. As in many episodes, of course, the best fashion is drive-by fashion, and while Picard is trying to buck up the crew, we get this shot:
WHAT IS THAT BRAID?!
It’s all golden and shiny and beautiful! I want to see more of it! Also, Picard, never smile at anyone when their in a life-or-death situation—it’s not reassuring, just foreboding. Back to that braid.
So I guess she did small braids on, like, half of her head and then used one clump of small braids to weave into the large braid? I don’t understand what is happening, but I like it. I wonder if this is someone in the hair department with too much time on their hands, or if this extra, like, showed up with this amazing hairdo and they were just like “IT WORKS.”
Anyway, so, shocker, Riker passes the test or whatever and he and living-dead Bea Arthur are like best buds, talking about Sun-Tzu and shit. And then Riker’s like, “can you free our ship?”
I feel like Ve Neill would have a thing or two to say about the paint job on this guy.
I don’t know where it came from, but that green… scarf? neckpiece? hood? looks all right. How you doing, rest of the away team?
Tasha: you look fierce. Worf: too much volumizer.
Back up on the Enterprise, apparently everyone passed out, including this cutie right at his workstation.
That guy in back apparently passed out standing up?
Anyway, that ensign looks a little young. Are you recruiting in middle schools these days, Starfleet?
So everything turned out all right in the end. Unless… is there a bit from earlier in the episode that’s going to make a hilarious final appearance?
You guys know about TeeFury, right? They produce a t-shirt that’s available for ONE DAY and once that day is over, it’s gone forever? Today it happens to be a Drive-related one (big ups to Mistral), but they also post designs on their Facebook page for people to vote on, so they can determine which shirts to print.
We want this shirt printed, don’t we? Head on over and Like it on TeeFury’s Facebook page if you do!
(thanks to friend of the blog Brian for the hot tip!)
In this morning’s New York Times, I caught sight of this headline above the mugshots of two very dapper men: “College, Spicy Chicken and ‘Star Trek.’” The gentlemen? Why, President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney.
Mitt looks kind of like the clueless shape-shifting aliens from "Liasons"… I’d say Barack looks like Jake Sisko if he’d kept his youthful haircut, but I’m afraid of being accused of racism. Anna may have a better comparison.
Money quote from the article:
And if things went really well, maybe they would flash Vulcan salutes. Mr. Romney, after all, calls himself a big “Star Trek” fan but stops short of identifying as a Trekkie. Not so Mr. Obama, the First Trekkie indeed, who once admitted to a youthful crush on Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lieutenant Uhura.
Well, Romney running away from his own Trekkie identity seems like evidence enough to question whether he deserves your vote (though there does seem to be an overlap between the Mormon idea that we all get planets after we die and the plot of "Who Watches the Watchers," where a primitive race of aliens starts praying to “the Picard”).
Obama, meanwhile, is taking full Trekkie advantage of his position, checking this hot item off his bucket list in April:
Grinning like a geek at Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con.
In case you don’t recognize her, that’s Nichelle “Uhura” Nichols, still rocking it out (red blazer, awesome necklace—even her white hair seems like an appropriate fashion choice). I know, she’s ToS, but if anyone from that show deserves props on this blog, it’s her.
All by way of saying, Anna and I both look forward to the day when President Ryan Gosling poses in the Oval Office with Wil Wheaton.
You can see two episodes - Where No One Has Gone Before and Datalore - on the BIG SCREEN on July 23! More info and tickets here. I don’t know why they picked those two episodes, but I’m not gonna complain. At least they’re not Puke-laski second season episodes.
This is taking fan fiction to not just the next level, but like 20-25 levels up. Yes, it’s Star Trek: Osiris, the fan-made series. I haven’t watched much of it yet, but it is a testament to fandom and commitment, from what I’ve seen so far. (Thank you to friend of the blog Eric M. for the tip!)