Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. Special: STAR TREK W/ TIM GUNN - Mirror

Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. Special: STAR TREK 2

Hey, everyone! Last time <INSERT LINK: >, Tim Gunn joined geeky actress Jennifer Ewing and I to discuss the original costume designs for the characters of Star Trek. The original series (also known as Star Trek: TOS) aired from 1966 to 1969 (with the original pilot produced in 1965). We saw the standard Starfleet uniforms and what they said about the original crew members of the NCC-1701.


This time around, we begin by looking at the Mirror Universe. This was a parallel reality that Kirk and some of his crew accidentally visited during the second season episode "Mirror, Mirror." Kirk had become aware of the existence of alternate realities during the first season episode "The Alternative Factor," but this mirror reality wound up being an altogether different realm of danger.

Enterprise - Kirk, from "Mirror, Mirror"

In the Mirror Universe, Starfleet was not the exploration and defense branch of the United Federation of Planets. Instead, it was the military force that expanded the might of the Terran Empire, where human beings conquered those races that wouldn't cooperate with them. Often times, people ascended in the ranks by killing their superiors (in ways that could not be directly proven, of course).  High-ranking officers had bodyguards and everyone was armed with a dagger. The Mirror Universe is also where we got the popular idea that evil twins have beards. Spock's counterpart in this reality sported some very fashionable facial hair.

In the prime reality of Star Trek (as well as in the alternate timeline introduced in the recent film directed by J.J. Abrams), James T. Kirk took command of the United Starship only after its previous captain, Christopher Pike, stepped down and accepted a promotion. In the Mirror Universe, Kirk served under Pike and then replaced him as captain after assassinating him.

Sashes gave an air of both piracy and military authority. The women had more revealing outfits, as did the Captains (and possibly the higher authorities) of the Terran Empire. And whereas the heroes of the Federation only wore a simple badge on their shirts, the crew of the Imperial Starship wore a variety of badges and medals on their shirts and vests.

The Mirror Universe was only seen once in the original series, but was visited again in the show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and in Star Trek: Enterprise. It's also been visited in various tie-in books and comics. A recent novel by David A. Mack entitled explores the reign of Emperor Spock and shows how the Terran Empire changed over the years following Kirk's visit in "Mirror, Mirror." It's definitely worth a read.

After looking at the Mirror Universe, we check out the uniforms that Kirk and his people wore in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Watch the video and you can see for yourselves just what we thought about the outfits displayed there.


"How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life... I don't believe in the no-win scenario." - Kirk, from

The first Star Trek film did not do well and neither the designs nor the story elements were really memorable. Fortunately, its sequel fared far better. Starting with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Starfleet got a new style of uniform throughout the rest of Kirk and his crew's adventures together. Director Nicholas Meyer wanted a somewhat more militaristic look and Robert Fletcher designed the new outfits. Now we have a true uniform, everyone wearing the same basic outfit, male and female. We now have more practical clothing with pockets and jackets that can be tossed aside if necessary. Rather than different colored shirts, the colors that indicate different divisions are now seen on the shoulder bands, turtlenecks and the stripes going down the trouser legs. Instead of bands around the sleeves indicating ranks, the shoulder bands now do so.

Definitely a step in the right direction, but these outfits seem better suited for people who are intending to go out in the snow. There's a slight Russian quality to the design and now the crew seems a little too stuffy rather than adventurous frontiersman on the edge of space. Not bad designs, I just think we can do better.

But enough talk. Let's see what Tim has to say.

And that's it for now. Next time, see what we have to say about Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond! This is Alan Kistler, Agent of S.T.Y.L.E., signing off!

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