Star Trek: Review: Star Trek Costumes

StarTrekCostumes_d_Cover_050115Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier

By Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann

Titan, out now

A comprehensive and beautifully illustrated look at the look of Star Trek…

With Star Trek’s 50th anniversary almost upon us, there are a plethora of books about the show out there – updated histories and primers among them – but there are also some incredible volumes that may not yet have a place on your bookshelf, but which should be there. Block and Erdmann’s guide to all things fashion in Star Trek is one such. It’s not cheap but you very much get what you pay for.

The section on the original series sets the template, with an opening spread featuring key uniforms, special dress, and close-ups on the detail. The illustrations to the text include a few well-known images that make the point clearly, but the majority will be new to most readers. Costumes are photographed on mannequins and shown next to crystal clear reproductions from the show, sometimes with the original design as well. And the text itself contains copious quotes from the designers, and those who wore their creations (new where feasible, but credited where not), alongside a conversational but highly informative narrative explaining how and why things happened and why there were changes over the years. (Check out the story about Star Trek Generations for a classic example.)

Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation (and their movie incarnations) account for almost three-quarters of the book, with “the spin-off series” getting rather less attention. Obviously set in the same time period as TNG, Deep Space Nine and Voyager shared some elements, but perhaps a little more on Seven’s different costumes would have been nice! Enterprise too doesn’t get a huge amount of space, because there also needs to be room for the reboot movies – although they justify their space with a full page shot of the Klingons from the 2009 film, as well as a full page devoted to a drawing of Spock Prime. It’s a small quibble, and I understand the logic in the space allocation while still hoping to see some of the tremendous work for the alien races encountered in the three later TV shows…

Verdict: The text or the photography would each justify the purchase of this book; together they’re unbeatable. A must-have for Trek fans. 10/10

Paul Simpson

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