When we think the best of classic sci-fi, we think Star Trek. When we think revolutionary social statements in pop culture, we think Star Trek. But what about fashion? Where does design come in when most of the characters are wearing a fleet uniform? Well, we posed that very question to Michael Kaplan, costume designer for Star Trek Into Darkness — an industry pro who's also worked on Blade Runner and Fight Club, to name a few. "Not being a trekkie [ed note: gasp!], I held on to what is important to diehard fans...but J.J. [Abrams, director] didn't want to be locked into anything," Kaplan says. So, it came down to picking a few key, classic elements — like the "iconic red, blue, and gold of the Starfleet uniforms" — and mixing in a heavy dose of imagination.
When designing the fleet uniforms, which dominate the screen for much of the film, Kaplan "used technology that didn't exist back then to make them modernized or futuristic looking." And this is where things get high tech, off screen. The costumes get their ever-changing, almost holographic nature from "a certain kind of raised screen printing, which looks like a texture at a distance, but on a closer examination is a boomerang," the Starfleet insignia.
So, how does one create futuristic fashion without straying into hackneyed, space-age clichés?Kaplan aptly notes that "technology always makes things smaller instead of bigger." That means streamlining everything, including accessories. And that's easy when you're working with a svelte bod like Zoe Saldana's. She's (no surprise) "a dream to dress, she looks good in everything." She even had input in her own costumes, even offering ideas on skirt lengths (and if her legs aren't reason enough to invest in a movie ticket, nothing is).
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.