I went through the gentlemen a month or so ago. Now it’s the ladies’ turn. I’ve been wracking my brains and consulting family and friends about who they think should make this list. This is what I came up with. I should say up front that Paco Rabanne’s revolutionary work on a certain film is not included. Trust me, I have reasons. Thanks for understanding.
Update: yes, I am now fully aware that I forgot about Erin Gray from Buck Rogers. D’oh!!
27 – Kristine Kochanski (Red Dwarf)
I decided to go with Chloe Annett’s version of Kochanski for this. To be honest I prefer the episodes with Clare Grogan, but in terms of outfits, Annett wins hands down. She has a lot more variety and a good selection of red dresses and PVC trousers.
26 – Jane Jetson (The Jetsons)
Worthy of a place on the list for the perky outfit and fabulous hairdo she shows off throughout the series, never a hair out of place. The collar looks like it’s been starched to a degree that it could cut through steel. Also, considering how cold it is in space, sleeveless is a bold way to go.
25 – Diana (V)
Her red jumpsuit in the original iteration of this show is perfect for her as it screams danger. Also, it allows for all the rodent eating she can manage without the worry of telltale bloodstains giving the game away. Due to advances in special effects, Morena Baccarin’s stab at this role was bolstered by the addition of a very large mouth making such considerations unnecessary. As a result, she’s able to experiment more with slinky yet business-like tailored outfits without ever losing the sense of menace.
24 – Peri Brown (Doctor Who)
Poor Peri, forced to endure the relentless parade of skin-tight Day-Glo tops that leave little to the teatime imaginations of the audience. I managed to find a picture of her in something slightly more modest but it still has a plunging neckline that wouldn’t look out of place at Niagara Falls. For all the regrettable costume choices that she was given, it’s to her credit that she managed to divert attention to her acting skills through her skilful handling of a very erratic sixth Doctor suffering from paranoia and trying to strangle her.
23 – Dolly (Moonraker)
Bond in space! Fantastic. Now, I can buy the fact that this ‘master race’ of people is being sent into space to await the destruction of the rest of humanity, ready to descend once more to a planet wiped clean of the rest of us. I can even believe that the outfits were all the same. What I cannot believe however, and what speaks greatly to the organisational skills of Mr Drax and his underlings, is that they had the foresight to make bows for people’s hair that matched perfectly the colour of their jumpsuits.
22 – Secretary Delacourt (Elysium)
Two words: shoulder pads. Jodie Foster has been to space in a couple of films but never with more panache than as Secretary Delacourt in Elysium. Without getting political, she has a kind of Hillary Clinton-ness about her. There’s a space age feel to her wardrobe that fits in well with the overall aesthetic of the film while being quite understated (except for the shoulder pads).
21 – Kasumi Goto (Mass Effect 2/3)
My favourite female character from Mass Effect, I see Kasumi as a kind of throwback to the thief/rogue class in Dungeons and Dragons. The hood which hides her eyes in an Assassin’s Creed kind of way, the makeup, the dark outfit all add up to a great combination that gives her the edge over Tali in my opinion. Also, she’s one of the less enhanced characters which means she has slightly more realism about her figure than some of the others. The gaming industry, as with Hollywood, is still guilty of creating unrealistic visions of women which is unfortunate. One can only hope that both will catch up with reality soon. However, compared to others in the game like Miranda and Samara, Kasumi is a more real interpretation of femininity. She still has a wasp-like waist straight out of the Disney Princess catalogue, but her overall look is consistent with someone trained to be an expert thief.
20 – Sam Carter (Stargate SG-1)
Career military, she dresses like a soldier and carries it off brilliantly. All her outfits show her strength and realism in the Universe she inhabits and she is able to maintain this in dress blues or fatigues with equal success. The producers rarely felt the need to go exploitative which is a real credit to them. Her character does the talking
19 – Susan Ivanova (Babylon 5)
She gets the edge over Sam Carter because her uniform, designed by Ann Bruice, is better. Aside from that, she’s another example of all the things I listed above. A very strong female character in a position of authority.
18 – Ryan Stone (Gravity)
Let’s face it, out of this list, she’s probably the only woman who’s actually dressed to go into space. I’ll overlook the fact that, at the first opportunity the producers get, she’s in a pair of hotpants and a tight top. I’m making a very kind assumption that this is accepted dress code for astronauts. I must say, I’ve never seen Tim Peake floating around the ISS in tighty-whiteys and a vest, though. I’m quite glad about that.
17 – Ellen Ripley (Alien)
Jumpsuits. Just what you’d expect working flight crew to be dressed in. One of the things I love about the film Alien is just how down to earth it is. For a science fiction film, it looks just like you’d expect things to be in this kind of environment. greasy t-shirts, jumpsuits, the works. The original ending of the film in the escape pod was written with the intention that Sigourney Weaver would be totally naked to accentuate her feeling of vulnerability. They didn’t go through with it and I don’t think it would have added anything to the feeling of tension it that scene. I spent hours hiding under tables when I played through the videogame Alien: Isolation feeling highly vulnerable and I was fully dressed.
16 – Guinan (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Emmy award-winning costume designer, Robert Blackman said, “The Guinan thing was interesting because Whoopi (Goldberg) developed her interest in non-obtrusive clothing as Guinan. The character had those tunics and pants that were loose-fitting rather than form-fitting, and I think that’s gone on into her everyday life. That’s just sort of what she wears.”(credit startrek.com). The outfits and headwear are a nice change from the uniformity of the majority of the Enterprise crew and also fit in with the character while also being a believable style for the future.
15 – Zoe Washburne (Firefly)
What I love about Zoe’s costume is the way it makes subtle alterations to make it a counterpoint to Mal’s whilst being completely its own entity. The coat is thinner; the brown leather as a vest instead of a coat. It sums up her character perfectly and retains the femininity but with a hard edge. The hand cannon helps this too. Above all else, though, Zoe is a great role model and a rare example in mainstream television and film that a woman can be beyond the traditional archetypes. She can be a warrior and a wife, living up to both roles but also subverting them. People don’t fit into nice neat boxes in life and why should Science fiction be any different.
14 – Yeoman Janice Rand (Star Trek: The Original Series)
For starters, she manages to wear a red outfit through all her appearances and never dies. That’s point number one. Point number two is that I just love the dress and so did Grace Lee Whitney. The character was first dressed in a plain gold tunic and trousers but Whitney complained that they hid her “dancer’s legs” William Ware Theiss stepped in to design the short skirt and tunic for her to wear (a design which was later adopted by the rest of the female crew. It’s perfect 60’s chic, bold, stylish and sassy. Her huge beehive was also the creation of of William Ware Theiss. It’s basically a big cone with two different Max Factor wigs weaved into it. This was, according to Whitney, “nailed to her head every morning.” No-one knows where the wig is today, you won’t find it in a display case in Planet Hollywood. It was stolen after Whitney left the show and never recovered. If you have information on the whereabouts of the hairpiece, please ring Crimestoppers now.
13 – Queen Yllana (Queen of Outer Space)
Masks freak me out. This is one freaky mask. Laurie Mitchell is the lady wearing it in 1958’s Queen of Outer Space. The fashion is not what I would have expected on Venus, given the heat and all. Did I mention the mask, though? That alone is worth a high place on this list. Apparently, it hides radiation burns caused by men and their wars. The radiation didn’t damage her hair though, or her neck from what I can see. Strange.
12 – Maya (Space 1999)
The Psychon Science Officer of Moonbase Alpha. Her ears were originally dark brown but the studio decided that this made them look dirty so it was dropped after the series began. A curly white wig was also considered along with white, star-shaped contacts which Catherine Schell refused to wear. The rest of her outfit fitted in with the rest of the crew, knee-high boots and skirts. This was an update from season 2 onwards after the original series’ flared trousers. Famous Austrian designer, Rudi Gernreich and Production designer Keith Wilson took the lead in the costume designs and updates. For me, it’s Maya’s hair and makeup which sets her apart from the rest of the crew.
11 – Lady Jessica (Dune)
Lady Jessica’s outfits were designed by British designer, Bob Ringwood, famous for designing the Batsuit for the 1989 Tim Burton movie. I love Francesca Annis in this role and her costumes really add to her character; regal and elegant. I especially like the design pictured with the huge, sculpted hood, perfect for the Caladan setting.
10 – Princess Irulan (Dune: TV mini-series)
Variety called Julie Cox’s performance as Irulan in the mini-series version of Dune “layered” but I think it goes beyond that. I like her so much in the role that I actually found myself wishing she ended up with Paul rather than Chani. She’s given a much larger role than the character enjoys in the novel and Cox makes full use of it. On top of that, her wardrobe is absolutely fantastic, better in my opinion than the rest of the cast. Each outfit fits perfectly with her grace and poise. High collars, butterfly-like headgear, wonderfully-shaped dresses. Regal and real.
9 – Martha Jones (Doctor Who)
I was never much a fan of Martha Jones as a companion. It wasn’t her fault. I put it down to the writers who introduced her as a companion who was a strong, independent woman with a career who would be a match for the Doctor. They then wasted no time in having her fall for him and become one dimensional in this regard. Her outfits, however, fit the original model for her character very well. Modern, confident and well-suited to her. I wish more had been made of Martha’s character in the series. It’s a real shame that Freema wasn’t given the opportunities to develop her character that she deserved.
8 – Leeloo (The Fifth Element)
Elegant costumes designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Did you know he designed over 1000 costumes for the film? Each one, even the extras, has a stunning attention to detail. Leeloo wears a white crop top with orange rubber braces, combat boots and gold leggings. That’s some combination and it works very well, especially with her orange hair. It emphasises her innocence and playfulness as a character.
7 – Number Six (Battlestar Galactica)
There’s a definite iconic quality about Six that has a deserved place amongst other ladies of sci-fi. The red dress especially that became synonymous with her character is a triumph in underlining the sensual, dangerous nature of her character. Emmy Award-winner Glenne Campbell was the lead on the show and created so many memorable looks for the many iterations of Six.
6 – Padme Amidala (Star Wars)
Padme is seen in so many different outfits through the prequels. The Lucasfilm costume designers and artists worked with a number of inspirations from Flash Gordon to the Mongolian Royal family. There are Russian influences and many other cultures are represented to great effect. The costume department was tasked by Lucas to give her a massive range of outfits that befitted her status. The range is very impressive and the full collection has been displayed at high fashion events around the world. Throughout Revenge of the Sith, the last of her films, her character was supposed to be hiding a pregnancy and that led to much softer, flowing wardrobe choices; a departure from the more revealing outfits in Attack of the Clones that were a nod to the romantic plot of the film. Natalie Portman carries off each of these with class and is a high point of the prequel series for me.
5 – Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (Star Trek: The Original Series / Star Trek 2009)
Many of the reasons that Janice Rand appears in this list are the same for Uhura. She was a pioneering character in 60’s television and the outfit contributed to that. I included Kirk’s uniform from Wrath of Khan in my list for the men and I like that uniform on Uhura too. Why she’s higher up on the list than Yeoman Rand has to do with the fact that the costume has been re-imagined so well for JJ Abrams’ reboot of the film franchise. Zoe Saldana wears a modern interpretation of the same outfit but also gets to experiment in different, more combat-orientated gear.
4 – President Laura Roslin (Battlestar Galactica)
The lowly, downtrodden Secretary for Education goes through such a transformation over the course of the series as she grows into her role as President of the Twelve Colonies. Her wardrobe reflects this: she journeys into a position where she looks properly Presidential and a model of authority. Through critical illness and the many trials and tribulations of her journey, Mary McDonnell manages to infuse the character with dignity and poise and this is supported by the costume designer Glenne Campbell’s marvellous choices.
3 – Princess Leia Organa (Star Wars)
Academy Award-winner John Mollo, who also designed Ellen Ripley’s costumes for Alien (above) was the creative force behind Princess Leia’s wardrobe in the first two Star Wars films. According to Mollo, the white of Leia’s costume in A New Hope symbolises her belonging to the technological world compared with the browns and tans of Luke and Ben on Tatooine. Her trademark buns, designed by Pat McDermott, were one of over 30 styles tried out. They were inspired by pictures of Native American women. the hair evolved over the course of three films, more natural as the series progressed. Carrie Fisher wasn’t too keen on the final effort in Return of the Jedi in the Ewok village. In a hippie dress with hair hanging down, she felt “like a Barbie doll” and “really uncomfortable. Costume design for that third film was handed on to Aggie Guerard Rodgers (Beetlejuice) and Nilo Rodis Jamero (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier). the pair collaborated on Leia’s famous slave outfit for Jabba’s palace scenes. the staff created multiple versions of the costume to be used in different scenes: metal for when she was not moving and rubber for during stunts and action sequences. Fisher has said, “I remember that iron bikini I wore in Episode VI; what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell.” All in all, her outfits are iconic and stunning and place her high up in the rankings.
PS – John Mollo also designed costumes for the legend that is Sean Bean in Sharpe.
2 – Inara Serra (Firefly)
Every one of Inara’s outfits was designed from scratch by Shawna Trpcic, specifically for Morena Baccarin, who is the only actor to appear twice on my list. Trpcic studied concubines in various races, backgrounds and countries in order to achieve the look of someone who would be a goddess anywhere she went. There is a lot of subtlety in her outfits. Trpcic said, “I wanted to create layers of fabric and mystery around Inara.” This is so true and the costumes give her an undeniable warmth and softness combined with strength of character and integrity that is so central to her role. The costumes also fit in perfectly with the fusion of Eastern and Western culture that runs throughout the show.
1 – Servalan (Blake’s 7)
There was just no debate about this one. I thought I might think of someone else as I put the list together but no. Nobody carries off an outfit better than Jacqueline Pearce in Blake’s 7 and boy did she get some fantastic ones. Furs, feathers, hats, wraps, long flowy dresses and slinky, figure-hugging ones. No ruler of the galaxy would fit in better at a black-tie dinner or ladies’ day at Ascot. Simply fantastic! We see her in black, in white, in red and very occasionally other colours but always she’s dressed like she means it. Even going down to a freezing planet, no thermal suit, just a fur coat with a big glamorous hood. The choices really fit the character. Plus, she can run in heels, through sand. Beat that! Stick her in heels in Jurassic World and she WILL outrun a T-Rex.
She summed it up best herself: “There is something you should realise. There are no women like me. I am unique. That makes me rather dangerous.”
So, that’s the lot. I enjoyed researching and writing this one. It’s taken me a while and I hope you enjoyed it. I must credit Wikipedia, Wookiepedia and a lot of other fan sites for some of the information I found. I understand that lots of you will disagree and that’s fine. Let me know in the comments if you think I’m wrong. In any case, thank you for reading.
If you haven’t seen the dude’s list yet, check it out here:
Who’s the best dressed man in space? | The Crossing