Top Ten: Best Fashion in Science Fiction and Fantasy


With New York’s Fashion Week just around the corner, it’s time to take a closer look at science fiction and fantasy fashion, long unfairly maligned as an unreclaimable wasteland of silver lame unitards and zippered monster suits. But I would argue that, at its best, it can serve as the fictional equivalent of a haute couture laboratory, in which the fashion of the future–and of our dreams–can be brought to life.
1. Jane Fonda in Barbarella
I must begin with Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy, in which outer space is imagined as a fur-lined, groovetastic after-hours lounge where Stereolab is always on the turntable. This film is the Retro Style Bible, more sixties than the real sixties could ever have been. And though Barbarella may be better known for slipping out of her fabulous outfits than wearing them, Jane Fonda’s good humor and intelligence in this role are the perfect accessories for this awesomely bizarre spider-monkey dress.
More after the jump!

As further testament to the intergalactic influence of Barbarella‘s style, there’s Roman Coppola’s affectionate tribute, CQ. Angela Lindvall’s space suit seems to be equally suited for a moonlit stroll through the East Village as a stroll on the moon.
2. Jennifer Connolly in Labyrinth
Yes, you can wear the Disney Princess wedding dress. It’s your big day, and even if I’m your maid of honor, I’m not going to argue with you. But this is what the truly fabulous girl geek would choose.
3. Sean Young in Blade Runner
Blade Runner–one of the most stylish movies ever made–got a lot of things right. One was remembering that eternal fashion edict: “Everything old is new again.” Vintage chic survives into the distant future with Sean Young’s forties glamor girl reboot.
4. Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger

I’ll concede that casting David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve in a film gives you an edge in the style department. However, there are more than a few soi-disant “sexy” vampires these days who could do well to adopt this film as their personal style Necromonicon.
5. Battlestar Galactica
So many visions of the future insist on unisex uniforms for all. But Battlestar Galactica is the first show to make this look hot.
6. The Students of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Prep school chic is everywhere this season. Everyone else will be imitating Blair and Serena. Why not consider instead the example of the ultra-iconic Hogwarts school uniforms? I’ve always particularly loved the Gorey-esque striped Slytherin scarves.
7. Princess Leia
First, there’s the most famous hairdo in the universe. (I tried and failed many times as a little girl to imitate it.) But what about those boots? Where can I get those boots?
8. Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow
This is a really a Lifetime Achievement Award jointly presented to Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and something of a Special Humanitarian Award, too, for their services to the goth community in the cause of advancing goth fashion. But I wanted to draw special attention to Johnny’s awesome specs.
9. Lost in Space
Since all of us have a few unfortunate purchases/guilty pleasures in the back of our closets, a place of honor has to be granted to the Cheez Whiz pleasures of the polyester-and-velour confections of Lost in Space.
10. Tilda Swinton in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
This list could have been populated entirely with supervillains–they truly get to have all the fun. With the appropriate supervillainness attitude, one could easily pull this look off–or any spectacular runway creation–in real life.
Post your personal best-dressed choices in the comments–and feel free to go all Tim Gunn on mine.