The Amanda Fashion Project Part One

Amanda Grayson appears in ten episodes across three series: Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Star Trek: Discovery, 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). Across all her appearances Amanda is portrayed as highly fashionable and she wears at least eighteen different looks.

This project is broken into four parts: the Original Series Era, the Film Era, the Modern Era and an addendum with notes, research, and overarching analysis.

The Original Series Era

“Journey to Babel”, Amanda’s first appearance, premiered November 17, 1967. Amanda wears three different outfits: a formal travel look, a party dress, and a dressing gown.

These four looks, on Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Cher, and Twiggy, respectively, also premiered in 1967:

1967 was a banner year for fashion.

And here are four other TV looks designed for the same era, Yvonne Strahovski as Rene Carpenter (Astronaut Wives Club), January Jones as Betty Draper and Jessica Paré as Megan Draper (Mad Men), and Natalie Schafer as “Lovey” Wentworth-Howell (Gilligan’s Island). Like Amanda all four characters share the signature trait “wife”.

Amanda’s fashion certainly reflects the era: bright colors, mixed fabrics, psychedelic patterns. And she wears the trappings of an upperclass woman of distinction whose main job is to be her famous husband’s plus one. She spends the most time in the less formal orange and pink ensemble, which I find unfortunate as it’s my least favorite. But it also tells us a lot about who Amanda is and what she values.

Her first look is formal. She’s the Ambassador’s wife, a traveling dignitary, a representative of Vulcan, and Earth, and the Federation. It’s theoretically the closest to Vulcan fashion. It boasts a full length tunic, has structure but hides her figure, and is more subdued in color. But there’s still a lot of Amanda in it, in the pattern of the underdress and the long gloves. The dramatic collar really typifies Amanda— it reads Vulcan but with exaggerated flair.

It’s also incredibly important that she’s in blue. It becomes her signature color in Discovery, and starting with Star Trek IV is a very clear reference to the biblical Mary, mother of Jesus. Here in “Journey to Babel” the blue immediately ties Amanda to Spock. They are wearing the same color palette, and Sarek is not.

The party dress is barely on screen, the photo on the right is a studio portrait, and we never get a good look at it. But it’s soft and pretty, a sheer pattern over what looks like a silk slip, yellow if I had to guess. It has far less structure than the travel look, and is much lighter than Vulcan fashion, but still flows. The shoulder bow has a fancy clasp you can just barely see in this screencap.

She no longer matches Spock in color, she stands out from all of them, though I’m highly entertained that the food spread complements her palette. But the red and yellow in the dress is reminiscent of Vulcan while the green is an Earth tone, one Sarek is also wearing.

After the party, Amanda changes into a dressing robe or house dress or potentially full on pajamas, pink and orange and fur trimmed. This is one of the most recognizable of Amanda costumes. It shows up in the Timelines game, and her mostly unremarkable animated dress is inspired by it (but note that it also has the shoulder bow from the party dress).

It’s clear she’s changed into something informal and comfortable, at least for someone like Amanda Grayson (or Padmé Amidala). She then wears it for the remainder of the episode, which seems odd on the surface. Someone who wore three different outfits over about 10 hours probably has a wider wardrobe with her. But her husband is first accused of murder, and then suffers a near fatal heart attack, which requires surgery and her son’s cooperation, which he won’t provide because of his unflinching loyalty to duty and also there’s that unsolved murder— that by the by is also tanking the whole purpose of their trip. So Amanda is simply not focused on her clothes.

There is nothing Vulcan about it; Vulcan fashion is often ornate but severe. Not flirty, not fun, not playful. The fur sleeves, to me, give it that Old Hollywood starlet glamorous loungewear feel. And by the end of the episode she’s actually barefoot:

As for color, it’s harsher than the blue or the party dress, clashes with Spock, and most of the Enterprise. But look at this final scene:

Sarek is wearing blue, like his son, and in fact Sarek and Spock are in identical medical smocks at this point. And Amanda matches the biobed. She healed them.

This fashion project was commissioned by Liz. Commissions are OPEN.

3 thoughts on “The Amanda Fashion Project Part One

  1. I love this analysis, especially tying it not only to 60s fashions but to other costumes that reference that era!

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