The early forays of humanity into space ignited imaginations about life beyond our planet and led to a surge in science fiction series and movies. Visionary designers like Paco Rabanne and Andre Courége crafted futuristic costumes for intergalactic cinema, setting the stage for what we now recognize as spacewear. In contemporary fashion, modern designers frequently draw inspiration from classic science fiction.
Star Trek (1966-)
*"Star Trek," a revered science fiction franchise and a pioneer of the space trend, left an indelible mark on fashion. Costume designers for the original series drew inspiration from Pierre Cardin's 1964 "Cosmocorps" collection when creating the iconic looks for the Enterprise crew.
The striking pseudo-utilitarian dresses, helmets, and ensembles continue to influence contemporary designers such as Alexander McQueen, Acne, Alexander Wang, Versace Resort, Givenchy, and Maison Margiela. The impact of Star Trek's visual identity also extends to Lanvin's Spring '18 show hairstyles, while Gucci's Fall/Winter '17 ad campaign is entirely themed around easily recognizable Star Trek motifs. The influence of this space series on modern fashion cannot be overstated.*
*"Barbarella," a legendary Italian-French film, featured costumes designed by the equally legendary French couturier Paco Rabanne. The designer clad Jane Fonda in alluring outfits crafted from aluminum, metal, and plexiglass, shaping our perception of fashion for intergalactic travelers in the year 4100.
In the 21st century, less provocative renditions of Barbarella's style have graced the runways of Rodarte, Versace, Jeremy Scott, and Marco de Vincenzo. Vinyl corsets and mini-dresses reminiscent of Fonda's character's armor frequently make appearances at shows by Balmain, Gareth Pugh, and Louis Vuitton.*
*In Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris," costume designer Nelia Fomina worked on characters' appearances, creating perhaps the most authentic depiction of space travelers. The film avoided the deliberate use of futuristic attire with metallic spacesuits and bulky boots. Instead, the "space people" don classic 1970s silhouettes embellished with elements inspired by real astronaut uniforms.
Mesh T-shirts, patchwork dresses, oversized collars, lace-up pants, and reflective white, cool yellow, and deep blue leather jackets mirror the vastness of outer space and the planet Solaris, where the film unfolds. Present-day fashion showcases similar "space" silhouettes with a subtle 1970s touch, appearing in collections by Calvin Klein, Missoni, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Mary Katrantzou. The future of fashion lies in its past.*
Star Wars (1977-)
*"Star Wars," another iconic intergalactic saga, is impossible to overlook. According to George Lucas, the director of the original trilogy, costumes for the main characters were intended to be minimalist, simple, and devoid of any fashion-oriented elements.
However, things did not go quite as planned. Princess Leia's white dress, the iconic golden bikini, Padmé Amidala's opulent attire and stoles, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo's outfits, and Darth Vader's mask have been continually referenced in movies, graced catwalks, and adorned red carpets for over four decades. These beloved character styles have made appearances at Chanel, Triton, Preen, Rodarte, Vetements, and Rick Owens fashion shows. Kirsten Dunst even chose a dress featuring the Death Star for the Met Gala in 2014.*