7/16/2014

Publicity photo of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Credit: Paramount)
When Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered, we loved the futuristic look of the uniforms, but the costumes turned out to be nightmarish behind the scenes. Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek's creator, firmly believed in a utopian future for Mankind, which has been praised by fans of the series. Unfortunately, his vision for fashion was way off. The costumes he specified for the crew of the Enterprise in The Next Generation ran into a lot of problems. Thanks to recent interviews with the cast and crew, we know how they suffered to bring us their show.

1. The Uniforms Stank - The one thing you couldn't tell from watching the show is that the costumes stank. Badly. Roddenberry reportedly believed Spandex was the fabric of the future, and demanded all the costumes be made from it. It turns out Spandex retains odor, so according to costume designer Robert Blackman, “there is a certain part where if you're wearing them for a long period of time, you can’t really clean all the smell out, and it becomes a little bit annoying. And it also retains the odour of the dry cleaning fluid. So, it’s a little bit, on a day-to-day basis, unpleasant." When Blackman became the show’s costumer in the third season, the first thing he noticed walking in the wardrobe department was the smell.

2. The Uniforms Were Too Small - Roddenberry specifically wanted the costumes to be form-fitting, so they were intentionally made two sizes too small. Not only was this uncomfortable, but it was very unflattering. The cast couldn't have any weight gain or it would show immediately. LeVar Burton once said, "We hated our space suits...As much as they call it a stretch fabric, spandex in that configuration doesn't give all that much. It hid nothing."

3. The Uniforms Ruined Their Backs - Another unforeseen problem with spandex is it doesn't stretch in all directions. According to Blackman, the spandex they used would only stretch "from side to side or top to bottom, depending on how you cut the garment." Since they decided to cut it side to side, this meant the uniforms would pull downwards constantly on them. Stewart described it as constantly having to fight against the spandex to stand upright, so much the uniforms would dig into the cast’s shoulders. After wearing them up to fifteen hours a day, Stewart says he was told by his chiropractor that if he didn’t get out of the costume, it would do “permanent lasting damage.”

4. The Uniforms Were Hot - Another problem with spandex is that it doesn't breathe. After a few hours, they grew incredibly hot and uncomfortable. The studio lights the cast worked under during shooting didn't help. I’m sure all that sweat didn't help with the odor problems.

5. The Uniforms Couldn't Move - With all the problems of spandex, costume designer Blackman decided to switch to wool gabardine in the third season, which would look sort of like spandex but wouldn’t have the problems they had faced. Unfortunately, the new fabric wasn't as flexible. Says Blackman, “If you watch the first six or seven episodes, you'll see the actors look like they're in spandex outfits but they're made of wool and the actors can't move, they can't raise their arms, they can't do anything.” Eventually, he changed to a two-piece uniform that solved the problem. The show went on to dazzle audiences and relieve the crew.

6. The Boobs Are (Mostly) Fake - Star Trek series have always had beautiful women to admire, and TNG is no exception. Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi made many a young man's heart skip a beat, especially in the form-fitting outfits they wore. Only one problem - they all had interior padded bras with seamless cups. Marina Sirtis called hers "the Industrial Strength Starfleet Brassiere" and a "wonder of modern engineering. I mean, I used to take it off at night and go 'oh blimey, where did they go?'" Actually, padded bras have been used in all of Star Trek series from the original to Enterprise. Of course, it hasn't always been popular with the crew. Kate Mulgrew once famously ripped out hers and threw it on a producer's desk, refusing to wear it.

UPDATE: Added link

What did you think of the costumes? Would you have worn them?

If you enjoyed this, then please use the buttons below to tell your friends about this post! Follow us! Email | RSSTwitter | Facebook

13 comments:

Pat Dilloway said...

Those uniforms in the first couple season looked pretty bad compared to the later ones. I liked the DS9/Voyager ones better. Though nothing will ever top the red uniforms in Star Trek 2-6.

Tom Badguy said...

Dat uniform stank.

DAVID WALSTON said...

I did appreciate the form-fitting, and bra stuffing. It added to the character development. ;-)

Tony Laplume said...

Plus they made Patrick Stewart bald! And LeVar Burton blind! And Brent Spiner into an android!

jeremy [retro] said...

that is crazy uniforms, i couldn't imagine the stench of some of those uniforms... now let's talk about... 7 of 9!

Nicki Elson said...

Someday I intend to get around to watching TNG---and now I'll have a whole new perspective to watch from. I'll be looking out for signs fo discomfort and nasty smells....um, I'm not sure I should thank you.

Ellie Garratt said...

I wonder what they'd do to a short-ass like me? ;)

Ellie Garratt

Nigel Mitchell said...

You're welcome

Nigel Mitchell said...

That would be its own post

Nigel Mitchell said...

Shocking!

Nigel Mitchell said...

Very important to the character!

John Garrett said...

Oh, this is bad. I almost wish I hadn't read this lol. Now I have to go back through the episodes and see if I can detect any telling nose wrinkles :)

Timothy W Dalbeck said...

To this day, I still love the look of those uniforms! I only hope that one day they'll have uniforms that are similar in look.

AddThis

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!