A Little Different: Books on Zandra Rhodes, Star Trek and New Zealand Fashion,

Today, I’m happy to bring you a short and sweet round-up of three books that are a little bit ‘different.’ In these pages, authors discuss  the unusual,  the nerdy and the truly unique,. Specifically: the whimsical textile designs of Zhandra Rhodes, a geeky bit of pop culture (Star Trek), and a large and insightful book on a whole region known for it’s extremely creative design (New Zealand). These aren’t full reviews, by any means, but are merely some quick notes meant to give you the same amount of information as you might glean from thumbing through the book at your local bookstore.

Zandra Rhodes: Textile Revolution: Medals, Wiggles and Pop 1961-1971 (Available Oct. 16 from Antique Collectors Club)

This is not only a great reference book for historians, but also serves as inspiration for a broad range of designers and students. The text is informative and well documented with endnotes, quotes and visual references. The photographs have high production values, and large photographs – great for revealing details of Rhodes designs that might otherwise be lost. Zhandra Rhodes has a unique and exuberant style (for more, check out Monica’s interview with the designer). An added bonus for this book? it comes with stickers! Those in San Francisco, can see Rhodes designs in person, as she’s designed the costumes for the current San Francisco Opera production of Aida (on through December 2010). Check out the costumes in the preview below.

Star Trek: The Original Series 365 (Released Sept. 1 from Abrams)

While not specifically about Star Trek costumes (designed by William Ware Theiss) this book has some never-before-published photographs of the costumes,  illustrations, props and behind-the-scenes tidbits. It also functions as an episode guide (complete with Tribbles). Yes, it is an odd-sized coffee table book, and light on text and references (no bibliography or endnotes/footnoes),  but it’s a fun one to pick up and thumb through. And if you’re writing a paper on sci-fi costumes and fashions of the 1960s, this is a great place to start for visual references.

(Image source is IGN Stars)

My favorite was the image with Uhura in a 1960s style midrif: the image is just so evocative of both her strength and sexuality (not to mention its reference to feminism/ gender studies, objectification/ the male gaze and other issues – a chapter in Political Science Fiction titled “Gender Identity in Star Trek” elaborates). For more on the original Star Trek costumes, and designer William Ware Theiss check out this nifty blog on its props and costumes.

New Zealand Fashion Design By Angela Lassig (not on Amazon)

Our last book, a catalog for the exhibition of the same name at the Te Papa Museum, is unfortunately not available on Amazon (who knew that there is no Amazon New Zealand?) But, this practically encyclopedic volume of contemporary New Zealand Fashion designers is certainly useful to scholars working in that country, and a great reference for design.

(WORLD, There is no depression in New Zealand collection show A/W 2009, Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2008. via CDM’s Review)

It is through, well researched, and proves to be a marvelous resource both visually and academically on 25 of some of New Zealand’s most important designers. The glossary and resources at the back of the book are an added benefits for novice readers, or beginning students. For more on the book, check out these resources and reviews:

See a full 360 degree view of the WORLD garment featured on the cover

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1 Comment

  • kat October 13, 2010 12.08 pm

    What a cool compilation! I know there are many people interested in those subjects who will enjoy these reads.


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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.