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 Film Era
Nearly twenty years after her first appearance in Star Trek, Jane Wyatt returned as Amanda in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. She appears at the very beginning of the film in a short but impactful scene with her son. In the previous film, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Spock was resurrected by a super powerful, and super dangerous, terraforming tool called Genesis. And then a priestess restored his soul. The references to Christ in this story are blatant and Amanda is a part of it.
Here are three (of many thousands of) paintings of the Madonna or Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus: Madonna del Granduca by Raphael (1505), Virgen Maria by El Greco (between 1594 and 1604), and The Virgin in Prayer by Sassoferrato (between 1609-1685).
Here is Amanda in The Voyage Home:
It’s not subtle. Amanda’s headscarf makes perfect sense for a desert planet, but that’s also why Mary wore one. On screen (left) the gown looks pale or slate blue, even white-grey at times. But you see in the studio portrait (right) it is distinctly blue. Sarek’s and Spock’s robes are also styled to reflect biblical dress and all three together strongly resemble these images of ancient Hebrew culture.
Vulcan robes were introduced in the film era. In “Amok Time” and “Journey to Babel” Vulcan clothing was layered and embellished, but not so long and loose. Sarek and T’Pau wore pant suits, T’Pring wore a minidress, and the background Vulcans resembled ancient Romans more than ancient Jews. When we went back to Vulcan for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the costumes evolved.
The aesthetic is the same, but the film Vulcans are more severe. And The Motion Picture begins Spock’s reformation as a Jesus analogue. He starts the film as a long-haired exile in the desert in a version of the Temptation of Christ. He fails, and returns to Starfleet, but the Christ stories continue. There are also nods to Eastern cultures, philosophies and religion in the Vulcan redesign. Kohlinar shares principles with Zen, for example.
Here are the first and last shots of Amanda in The Voyage Home:
Both can be read as references to Mary. In the first shot she has a halo and is looking for her son in a temple (to knowledge and logic, but a temple). It could easily be mistaken for a depiction of Mary encountering her risen son at his tomb. In the second image, Amanda watches her son ascend standing beside his protege and/or paramour, Saavik, an analogue for Mary Magdalene.
In The Final Frontier, Spock’s estranged brother shares a vision of Spock’s birth. Amanda has no real lines, just a truly terrible birthing scene.
Every woman dreams of giving birth flat on her back in a dark cave while an alien priestess and four men in a dreamscape stare at her in judgment. I refuse to believe this scene actually happened, Sybok made it up to needle his little bro.
A birth day scene was also included in the script for the reboot film. The scene was filmed but ultimately left out of the final cut. Still, I have to share the costume because this is my favorite shot of Winona Ryder’s Amanda.
This picture is so soft, I love it. Her white frock calls back to the earlier
fake birth scene, but also to the Vulcan monk ensemble Spock wears at the end of Star Trek III and through most of Star Trek IV.
Winona’s Amanda wears two other outfits that do make it into the film, though we don’t get a really good look at either.
But they are interesting. The first gown is more structured, and form fitting. I’m always a bit taken aback by her chest line. This accentuates her figure more than any other dress we’ve seen on Amanda thus far — but the angles, the stiff fabric, and the gold threading remind me of what Sarek wears in “Journey to Babel”.
I adjusted the lighting in this screencap so we can get a glimpse of the pattern on the fabric. It matches the set piece windows in form and color. She wears the same brown and gold earth tones in her later, and final, scene.
This is not as tight and stiff as the first dress but only just. Both are a departure from the flow and flounce of Jane Wyatt’s Amanda. I find this second dress reminiscent of the upholstery fabric catsuit T’Pol wears in the first two seasons of Enterprise, which is a connection I like to think about.
Both outfits wrap her hair, like Mary. And though I miss the bright colors of her earlier appearances, this color palette matches the planet Vulcan, that in this version of the story implodes and takes Amanda with it. Spock loses his mother and his home in one moment and the costuming choices reflect that link.
This fashion project was commissioned by Liz. Commissions are OPEN.