Modern Matters Object Culture Network

publish date: March 25|2002   



  Fashion Forward

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Fashion Forward

Futuristic Uniform

Futuristic Uniform

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.


[1] Sixties Design (Taschen, 1996).

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