Gersha Phillips had a tough job: how to update the mirror universe cosutmes from the original Star Trek, and make them look imposing and new for a modern audience. And in a new behind-the-scenes video, the costume designer for Star Trek: Discovery explains how she created the new Terran Empire uniforms.
On Wednesday, CBS released a new video featuring showrunner Aaron Harberts, cast members Soneqea Martin-Green and Mary Wiseman, and costume designer Gersha Phillips with prop master Mario Moreira all talking about how the latest episode — “Despite Yourself” — brought back the aesthetics of the evilest side of Trek.
Wiseman described the uniforms as “murder gold,” while Martin-Green said that the new duds were “sharp, dark and powerful.” While a fan of the classic series will certainly notice the similarities between what William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy wore in 1967 and what Martin-Green and Wiseman are wearing in 2018, Phillips still had to forge her own path with the new designs.
“I did look at the original series,” Philips said. “And this was my version of the sash belt, but with a modern twist. And obviously, the metallic influences are from there as well.” In “Mirror, Mirror,” Kirk and Spock’s evil selves wear gold pirate sashes, which probably would have looked a little silly in 2018. But, it’s pretty awesome for hardcore fans that Phillips kept the gold accents.
The Discovery prop master, Mario Moreira, also credited Philips, saying that the designs of the uniforms influenced everything created for the episode after. Meaning without, those strong, bold murder gold choices, the insignia badges and daggers wouldn’t have looked as badass, either. Or as he says, “The Mirror Universe likes their bling.” They also said all the badges have meanings. Nothing was phoned in here, and each different insignia represents a different level of “badassery,” including “master of poison.”
Still, despite all of this, no one managed to make the greatest comparison, one made by showrunner Gretchen J. Berg. Speaking to Inverse recently, Berg noted that the new uniforms were evocative of Janet Jackson’s classic music video, “Rhythm Nation.”
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery airs on Sunday, January 14 at 8:30 pm eastern time on CBS All-Access.