Fashion Forward will look at the styles of today and trace
their historical influences. This first article looks at the use of futuristic
fashion in science fiction movies of the 60's and 70's.
Fashion Forward -
Space Age Fashion in Film
Fashion of the future has always been as important as the
technical hardware in science fiction filmmaking. From Metropolis to
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the overall look can make or break a
movie. In time, the set designs, costumes and special effects would show their
age and sometimes look outrageously ridiculous. But as long as both the premise
of the film and message are strong this need not be the case. This applies to
2001: A Space Odyssey and many other films before and after. Fashion
design in science fiction film and television has always been minimalist which
reflects how our society sees itself in the future. American designer Rudi
Gernriech, famous for the topless swimsuit in the sixties and the thong in the
seventies, was one of many fashion designers that explored these ideas in the
1960s. Fabric was also important to the look as well, with French designer Paco
Rabanne serving as a prime example. Rabanne dressed young Jane Fonda in the
erotic romp Barbarella in 1968.
Space-age styles soon became the height of fashionable design.1 Perhaps the most dramatic impact was in the world
of Parisian couture. Paris fashion had thrived on change, yet always within
traditional parameters. In the mid-sixties, André Courréges
staged a revolution with far-reaching effects. His crisply cut clothes with
plenty of white (sometimes striped in black), short skirts, short white boots
and white slit-aperture sunglasses were clothes for movement, for the young.
Their context was the bright new world in which science fiction was being
transformed by technology's progress into science fact.