Amanda Grayson appears in eleven episodes across four series: Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, as well as three films across two timelines: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek (2009). She has been played by five actresses: Jane Wyatt (the original series and The Voyage Home), Majel Barrett (the animated series), Cynthia Blaise (The Final Frontier), Winona Ryder (the first Kelvin film), and Mia Kirshner (Discovery, Strange New Worlds). Across all her appearances Amanda is portrayed as highly fashionable and she wears at least twenty different looks.
This project was initially broken into four parts: the Original Series Era, the Film Era, the Modern Era and an addendum with notes, research, and overarching analysis. Part five is an analysis of her two latest looks from Strange New Worlds season two, episode five “Charades”.
The Travel Gown
Amanda wears the same gown when she arrives and departs so I’m calling this a travel look. Now, when I travel I choose clothes for comfort, but Amanda’s first appearance is a travel look that includes an Elizabethan Vampire collar and elbow length gloves. So this makes sense for her.
And it doesn’t not resemble that first look. No collar, but it’s stiff and has the long cape. It’s also blue and busty, both of which reference motherhood and specifically the Virgin Mary. And Spock wears his blue science tunic in all scenes where Amanda wears her blue travel look.
Amanda is deliberately dressed “human” in this episode. Both gowns are closer to Renaissance (European/British) fashion than the East Asian fashions Vulcan clothing is often modeled on. Her hair is soft and loose, which makes her appear younger, less formal, and more of a free spirit. Her hair and make-up are explicitly contrasted with both T’Pril and T’Pring, and match Christine.
The Party Gown
The second dress has more to say.
Here, T’Pril’s wrap and updo more closely resemble Amanda’s TOS look than Amanda’s does. T’Pril’s and Sevet’s looks are made with heavy intricately patterned fabrics while Amanda’s is far simpler. In this cap she’s diminished, deliberately taking up less space, less attention. And again, softer and simpler, more human.
It’s not without flair. She’s wearing the type of sweeping attached cloak that by now amounts to a signature Amanda look. It’s adorned with a kind of beading and appears to be a high end silk or similar. And the color is gorgeous and notable. I doubt it’s an accident that Amanda is dressed in the Earth colors of blue and green while T’Pring and her mother are in sandy gold and copper.
Here the costumes link Spock to Amanda through color and line. Meanwhile, neither Spock nor Amanda match T’Pring. T’Pring’s skirt is pleated, her jacket is stiff and shiny, her hair and jewelry make a statement. [Aside: Amanda is also doing that thing with her hands again!]
T’Pring suggests she not only didn’t choose this dress, she also didn’t approve of it. It’s interesting that T’Pril’s gown does have some green in it, but the dress she chose for T’Pring has none. No part of T’Pring’s look matches Spock. She only matches her parents, particularly her mother.
Spock and Amanda also match each other more than anyone else despite Spock and Sevet theoretically wearing the same ‘Vulcan’/Asian type tunic. And though both are determinedly human in the scene, the green styling can be seen as a nod to their Vulcan culture and heritage. More importantly, they match the missing piece of their family portrait.
Sarek’s canonical ‘party wear’ (worn in “Journey to Babel”) is heavily green. This look on Sarek, in fact, matches Spock, Amanda, T’Pril, Sevet, and T’Pring and he’s not even present. He’s just very diplomatic that way. [Aside: hands again!]
If you think I’m making up the Sarek connection, I present my counterargument:
Spock’s tunic also wraps like Pike’s tunic, and Pike is certainly acting as Spock’s alternate paternal figure in Sarek’s absence. It’s even clearer when you factor in this earlier scene:
Chris and Una compliment each other as Spock’s Starfleet parents and the gold in their tunics also links to Sarek.
Christine is certainly more in step with Spock than T’Pring, it’s a significant part of the plot and characterization. She is also explicitly linked to Amanda as a human who loves a Vulcan. In the scene above, Christine’s uniform matches the walls of the Enterprise, Spock’s home more than Vulcan (or Earth). This framing happens again towards the end.
These two moments happen in succession; T’Pring leaves Spock and the Vulcan academic turns down Christine. Spock, still wearing his engagement party green tunic, is framed between the red wall that matches the wall behind the Vulcan, also dressed in green/black like Sevet, and the white walls that surround and match Christine. She represents Not Vulcan. But notably Spock is still Vulcan, too. She doesn’t match him.
Spock’s last three scenes are a progression of closeness. T’Pring creates distance between them. Amanda connects them together. Christine erases any separation.
T’Pril dressed T’Pring as a sun (I mean look at that ring) and Spock was supposed to be in her orbit (T’Pring wanted them to walk side by side but Spock couldn’t give her that either). Amanda, in her blue and green, and especially in that shot in the transporter, is the epitome of Earth mother. And Christine is bright white and silver stardust, pinging back and forth and smashing into Spock. Beautiful and powerful and potentially (inevitably) destructive to them both.
This fashion project was commissioned by Liz. Commissions are OPEN.