Top 50 sexy sci-fi costumes

Outfits from a zone where cotton is as rare as spice but slinky spandex is abundant...

Published on Jan 14, 2009

Part 1 Part 2

About this list
It's time to glam up or shut up. This is a costume event, not a list of 'all-time hotties', so those wearing casual attire/combat fatigues/nothing at all will be turned away at the door.

Where are the fellas?
My original intention with this list was to have it 50/50 boys and girls, but I ran into a number of problems in research: hardly any of the very few appropriate lists or postings that I found cited the costume as a major factor in sex-appeal, with the notable exception of Adam West's Batman, Edward Scissorhands and a whole bunch of almost identically S&M-type roles, at which point it was getting a bit 'specialist'. The appeal of classic sci-fi swooners like Mr. Spock were usually unrelated to their attire. Coincidence or culture? You decide. Also, most of the sources seemed to think TV and films were invented in the mid-nineties (even for the 'all-time' lists). So I invite our female readers (or any readers) to nominate their sexy male sci-fi costumes, and we'll put that list out too...

About the pagination
This is a long article and exceeds the limits of our content management system for a single page. I've therefore had no choice but to split it into two.

50: Farrah Fawcett - Saturn 3 (aka Saturn
City, 1980)
Designer: Anthony Mendleson (The Keep; Krull; Dragonslayer)

When producer Lew Grade's Raise The Titanic went over-budget, some of the resources were sapped from this Alien clone conceived by Superman/Star Wars art director John Barry, but filmed by Stanley Donen after Barry's death at the age of 43. Having hired one of the great sex-symbols of the 1970s, the producers were reluctant to keep her in the baggy jumpsuits of the experimental base on Tethys, and devised a dream sequence where Fawcett is wearing a space-bathing-suit so outrageous it would have been rejected for that year's Flash Gordon (see below). At this point the stories as to why the space-vixen outfit was ultimately nixed vary from source to source; some contend that Stanley Donen fought the exploitative costume, others that Farrah was not happy with it, as it had never been mentioned at the contract stage. Stills of the actress looking uncomfortable in the outfitwere widely used to promote the movie, though it never appeared in the film itself, and the accompanying video shows the only footage currently available of the costume in use on set.

49: Morena Baccarin - (Adria) Stargate SG-1/Ark Of Truth
Designer: Christina McQuarrie

The 'adult' Adria of the Stargate franchise frequently lived up to her name, particularly in the above-middle outfit with the armoured shoulder-pads, leather brassiere and choker, and the ever-present pendant. The attached clip shows just how hot she can get, though whether Jessica Alba failed to have the same influence with better VFX on Fantastic Four is a matter of taste, I guess...

48: Sybil Danning - Battle Beyond The Stars (1980)
Designer: Durinda Rice Wood (The Vanishing; Mulholland Drive)

Jimmy T. Murakami's sci-fi retake on The Seven Samurai/The Magnificent Seven was produced by Roger Corman and Aliens' Gale Ann Hurd, amongst others, and featured emerging 80s sex symbol Sybil Danning as the improbably named 'St. Exmin', a roving warrior prone to thrills, suicidal missions and dares. St. Exmin is featured in two costumes in BBtS; the strip-ribbed second outfit caused the actress some difficulty in taking a rest break, as she had to be sewn into it at the start of shooting, but it's the Nordic fantasy (pictured above) we first see St. Exmin wearing that is perhaps the more memorable of the two. "I had to be very careful with it," Danning told a magazine in the 1980s. "The Valkyrie outfit had breast-plates which were supposed to look like metal fingers holding the breasts." These supporting structures were actually made of Styrofoam, and threatened to raise the PG rating of the film several times. "What was happening," Danning recalled. "was that my nipples were coming through the breast piece! [the cinematographer] had the wardrobe girl take me out and she asked if we could do a glue job there because that was the only way to cover the nipples while I was moving. Once I was glued in, it was no problem. NBC ran it on TV and they rotoscoped another outfit I wore into battle. It was called 'The Dart' because it had little oval darts cut out of the spandex all over was apparently too revealing of my breasts for TV, so they rotoscoped it out.".

47: Femi Taylor - Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Costume designers: Aggie Guerard Rodgers / Nilo Rodis-Jamero.

After Carrie Fisher's 'Slave Leia' costume (see part 2), slave dancer Oola's get-up in Richard Marquand's Star Wars entry is arguably the most iconic and copied, and certainly the sexiest. Oola is of the Twi'lek race, schooled in dance on the planet Ryloth, and the popular and distinctive anatomy design on the head (the appendages are called ' Lekku') returned again for the all-too-brief appearances of Amy Allen as Aayla Secura, one of the betrayed Jedi in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). When Femi Taylor was asked to shoot additional scenes for the dance in Jabba's palace for the special edition of Jedi 14 years later, she was so remarkably unchanged as to be able to not only extend the dance sequence but do some close-up inserts for the sequence where she is confronted with the Rancor. The wide-holed net costume is barely held together by narrow leather strips, and several 'slips' occur in Jedi. Is it a coincidence that the sexiest ever episode of the Star Wars saga coincides with the year George Lucas divorced his first wife? He certainly does seem to be under no kind of domestic constriction in this film...

46: Sandra Dickinson - The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (UKTV, 1981)
Designer: Dee Robson

Dee Robson specialised almost exclusively in sci-fi regalia, having contributed costumes to Moonbase 3, Blake's 7 and Doctor Who, besides the BBC's enjoyable if underbudgeted adaptation of Hitchhikers. The show is full of the white plastic which had taken over from trimmed aluminium as the clear sign of future technology, but Dickinson's space-vamp costume is Barbarella on a budget, and there wasn't the correlative indication in Adams' original text (or radio show) that Tricia McMillan was going to be quite this sexy. The costume itself seems made of the kind of Christmas-costume plastic that isn't intended to last further than boxing day, and....ah. Now I get it.

45: Rose McGowan - Planet Terror (2007)
Designer: Nina Proctor

Rose McGowan's turn as pole-dancer Cherry Darling in Robert Rodriguez's extended Grindhouse spin-off required a fetching leather skirt and boob-tube to be CGI-augmented with a powerful machine-gun to replace her missing leg. The vibe of exploited-woman-bites-back is pretty explicit here. In a genre that loves girls and guns, Cherry Darling is the ultimate fusion of male lusts. In an interview with MoviesOnline, McGowan said: "I was wearing a really heavy grey cast with LED lights, and it wasn't the most high-tech thing, because when Robert wrote it, the technology wasn't there to do was quite uncomfortable. There's a little ball bearing on the heel, because if you were resting on the end of a machine gun leg or a hospital table leg, it would be very small and round and kind of tippy. And so my toes pointed in the air, my heel was on the ground, and on the other side, I had a four-inch high heel boot. So it was...No. If you're going to save the world with a machine gun leg, make sure you wear a high heel, at least on one foot. "

44: Faith Domergue - This Island Earth (1955)

Since costume designer Rosemary Odell is only credited for having done 'gowns' in Joseph Newman's innovative sci-fi actioner, it's not clear who came up with the jumpsuit that Domergue wears on her way to Metaluna with Jeff Morrow. It should be a drab and utilitarian affair, but some subtle styling around the bust makes it quite clear that this is not an off-the-peg number. Domergue herself noted that the legs of the suit were so tight to her body that she could not wear underwear, and had a female assistant to help her in and out of the costume. The ambitious budget for the proposed sequel, Aliens In The Skies, caused studio head Edward Muhl to axe the project, sadly. Domergue was a Howard Hughes protégé and was portrayed by Kelli Garner in the 2004 Hughes biopic The Aviator.

43: Adrienne Barbeau - Escape From New York (1980)
Designer: Steven Loomis

The costume designer on John Carpenter's dystopic actioner is only credited with two other films, Carpenter's The Fog and the 1981 Richard Pryor comedy Bustin' Loose. The idea with Barbeau's hippy-gypsy get-up seems to be that the haute-couture of prison-island Manhattan will be a charity-shop concoction of past fashions. In truth, since the film is set in the late 1990s, Barbeau's character would probably be attired in moon-boots and shoulder-padded jackets. It's amusing to hear Kurt Russell trying not to enthuse over the character's appearance as he joins friend - and Barbeau's then-husband - John Carpenter for their typically enjoyable commentary for the film,

42: Raquel Welch - Fantastic Voyage (1966)

The very minimal credits for Richard Fleischer's sci-fi yarn - about miniaturised scientists healing the human body from inside - do not disclose the wardrobe people or costume designer for Fantastic Voyage. Raquel Welch's 'furry bikini' in Hammer's One Million Years B.C. a year later was to make not only her biggest impression on the film-going public but a dent in the iconography of the 1960s. However ludicrous One Million Years B.C. is, it's not sci-fi, and Voyage is, so we'll content ourselves with the re-modelled white leather diving-suit that Welch uses to go and clear the vents of the Proteus from antibodies towards the film's end. In his excellent memoir Tell Me When To Cry, director Fleischer recalls the difficulty of staging the scene where the male members of the cast had to clear Welch of the choking antibodies after she re-enters the ship; "I called 'Action' and Stephen Boyd, Arthur Kennedy and Donald Pleasance went to work on the antibodies...maybe a rehearsal would have been a good idea after all: the actors were being gentlemen. No-one wanted to be the first to make a grab for Raquel's splendid boobs, so they grabbed everywhere else." A few instructions were issued for a second take, whereupon the actors "all made a dive for Raquel's tits...they looked like a pack of lustful scientists gone mad with sexual desire. They also looked ludicrous." Finally Fleischer had to choreograph the scene, assigning sections for the individual actors to clear.

41: Jolene Blalock - Enterprise (US TV, 2001)
Designer: Robert Blackman

The third-season addition of Jeri Ryan's Seven-Of-Nine sex-borg to Star Trek: Voyager was a ratings revelation that seems to have informed the approach to Sub-Commander T'Pol in this wavering pre-boot. T'Pol is Seven Lite; she's as remote as any other Vulcan, but not pathologically disinterested. Also, her jewellery comes off without surgery. The typical costume designer's ploy for a particularly heavenly body on nineties/noughties Star Trek iterations is to give the actress the same costume as others might be wearing, but two sizes smaller than necessary. It worked for Jeri Ryan and did no harm to T'Pol either, though she wore less spandex in general.

40: Diane Lane - Judge Dredd (1995)
Designer: Emma Porteus (Aliens; No Surrender; Supergirl)

It was no doubt a decision made almost at the executive level, but designer Emma Porteus stuck very closely to Carlos Ezquerra's original designs for 2000AD comic's antihero. The two most famous female judges of the Dredd canon at the time were Judge Hershey (Lane's character) and Judge Anderson from MegaCity One's PSI division; Ezquerra, Bolland et al certainly did seem to enjoy drawing these tightly leather-clad working women in the early years of the comic. The fidelity of the costumes to the original is one of the reason's attributed - by Sylvester Stallone and others - to the failure of the film; the costumes are exaggerated whilst the over-emphasised physical characteristics of the original characters have, of course, been toned down to human-level. Ultimately the blunt edges and sharpness of Lane's costume only serve to emphasise her marketable features, and if you like powerful women, you could do a lot worse. Optional accessories include a twenty-pound helmet, a gun that talks and a bike the size of a tractor.

39: Sally Knyvette - Blake’s 7 (BBC TV, 1977-78)
Designer: Rupert Jarvis et al.

It's not clear, even from reading an in-depth work like John Kenneth Muir's A History And Critical Analysis of Blake's 7, exactly why a popular, strong and sexy female character like Jenna Stannis (Knyvette) was routinely sidelined and left tending the teleport controls while the others beamed down into danger. The same deferment had happened to Alexandra Bastedo in The Champions ten years earlier. Perhaps it was too early to have really strong women characters break out in sci-fi (unless you can count Emma Peel), since Ripley was a year away when the series launched. By the time Alien was revising film feminist theory, Knyvette had had enough, citing a lack of interest in playing 'space-crumpet' anymore. The female action was left to Cally (Jan Chappell), and - in a far stronger incarnation - Soolin (Glynis Barber in the improvised fourth series). One of the mysteries of Blake's 7 was where all the money and clothes came from; there was apparently a well-stocked room of riches on the Liberator, but we never got to see it. It was here presumably that Knyvette's character went to make costume-changes so frequent as to challenge the upcoming Dallas and Dynasty. In the costume pictured here, Jenna keeps sci-fi's oft-used 'Roman' theme going with a charming little red number, with airy access and easy drop, off-set by the fetching gathered waist and...silver space grenades?

38: Connie Booth - The Strange Case Of The End Of Civilisation As We Know It (1977)
Designer: Hazel Pethig

Pethig was a Python stalwart, and came up with a fairly absurdist world super-villainess outfit for Connie Booth for this interstitial pause between the two series of Fawlty Towers. John Cleese and Arthur Lowe are the Holmes and Watson descended into the Bond age, which is pretty appropriate for this scene.

37: Prunella Gee - Kinvig (UK TV, 1981)
Designer: Sue Formston

The huge success of science-fiction in general in the late 1970s, and the particular success of the BBC's Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy led ITV to develop a number of sci-fi sitcoms in the early 1980s, including Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden's Astronauts. Quatermass writer Nigel Kneale conceived and wrote this off-beat entry, a Walter Mitty-like affair which revolved around down-at-heel Tony Haygarth being recruited into the service of Prunella Gee, a visiting alien from Venus who might or might not be a figment of his imagination. Pictures of Gee in the costume were heavily used to promote the show, which ran only for an initial seven-episode series. Kneale was a sci-fi genius, but he was no Douglas Adams.

36: Valerie Leon - Zeta One (aka The Love Factor, 1969)
Designer: Colette Du Plessis

Glamorous Valerie Leon was seconded into this exploitational low-budget sci-fi movie, which amazingly managed to attract star comedy names such as Charles Hawtrey and the legendary James Robertson Justice. All concerned deserved better than this shabby tale of large-breasted aliens kidnapping earthlings to repopulate their planet, though it has gathered many fans over the years. In our interview with her, Leon recalled: " We were the Amazon race of women, or something. My main memory of that is being freezing cold. That was an odd film...I found this extraordinary photo of me where I am dressed in a white cat suit with ropes going round my body and through a leather triangle; I think there’s another photo somewhere with just pieces on my nipples or something. That really is so long ago, but it turned out to be a sort of spy sci-fi spoof, didn’t it? and it has been described, I think, as soft core porn "

35: Caroline Munro - Starcrash (aka The Adventures Of Stella Star, 1979)

Considering the very particular work that went into the costume design of Luigi Cozzi's low-budget Star Wars cash-in, it's outrageous that the designer is not credited. Caroline Munro - who chatted briefly with us about Starcrash and other projects, was the Lamb's Navy poster-girl ubiquitous in 1970s Britain, and made a sensational and popular Bond girl as helicopter-flying 'Naomi' in The Spy Who Loved Me (see below). Later on we'll get to Barbarella, but the costumes in Starcrash follow that film's secondment of function to glamour, with this 'leather-bra' costume being the best-known of those in the movie. Munro was cited many times in the 1980s as a potential assistant in a proposed Doctor Who movie that never got off the ground, and also turned down the Vampirella movie - which we'll come to - first mooted in the early seventies, because of the nudity required (Munro never appeared nude in her films).

34: Persis Khambatta - Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Designer: Bob Fletcher (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Bob Fletcher had already clad Khambatta in far more familiar-looking starfleet garb for the never-filmed Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II, the putative TV series which developed into ST:TMP, and for the transformation into the regenerated Ilia chose a kimono-effect cut off as drastically as the severest mini-skirt. The production design of the film deliberately restricted itself to a muted and cream/white colour palette, with the notion that the garish colours in TOS would look distracting in Cinemascope. Director Nicholas Meyer was to restore normal colour in Wrath Of Khan two years later, but here we find the late Khambatta in an ethereal and other-worldly white outfit that makes the most of her amazing legs.

33: Linda Harrison - Planet Of The Apes (1968)
Designer: Morton Haack

Haack is following in the footsteps of Carl Toms' work on the 'furry bikinis' for One Million Years B.C. two years earlier, but in truth there were plenty of conveniently-covered cave girls around in the years after Raquel Welch set the trend. As 'Nova', Charlton Heston's wordless companion in Franklin J. Schaffner's sci-fi hit, Harrison made an enduring impression, returning not only for the sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes but for a cameo role in the less well-received Tim Burton remake. Harrison was only a couple of places away from Raquel Welch in GQ's 25 Sexiest Women In Film Ever.

32: Anne Francis - Forbidden Planet (1956)
Designer: Helen Rose

There's an unusual concentration in the script itself regarding Francis' wardrobe for Forbidden Planet. The very short skirt that she greets the visiting astronauts in is frowned upon by old fuddy-duddy Leslie Nielson (the captain who is actually protecting his romantic designs on her). Francis' character orders Robby The Robot to run her up a nice new number with a rather more modest cut. Forbidden Planet was an admitted influence on Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who would go on to fashion many of Kirk's away-mission romances on the naiveté of Francis' sheltered character.

31: Tricia Helfer - Battlestar Galactica (USTV, 2003)

Designer: Deborah Everton

Recognisable glam-wear makes quite an impression in a semi-industrial science-fiction context, as Jacqueline Pearce had discovered 25 years earlier as gown-clad despot Servalan in the BBC's Blake's 7. The straps on Helfer's stunning red number are so lateral to the design as to look cosmetic, and the whole affair looks quite perilous. The rib-exposure at the extreme edges of the upper section precludes the dress being modelled by size-zero food-phobics, and further reinforces the tentative structure of the upper section. In this much the costume obeys the unwritten law of William Ware Theiss's "Theiss Titillation Theory", which proposes that there is a proportional relationship between the apparent fragility and the manifest sexiness of a costume.

30: Karen Carlson - Buck Rogers In The Twenty-Fifth Century (USTV, 1979)
Designer: Al Lehman

Planet Of The Slave Girls
If ever a sci-fi character had a self-explaining name, it's 'Stella Warden', Karen Carlson's character in possibly the most well-known episode of this disco-loving sci-fi glamfest. Warden is the traitorous character helping Jack Palance enslave women on his planet, and here sports an unusually well-cut standard leather number with optional sci-fi collar. We've not seen the last of Buck Rogers in this piece.

29: Mindy Clarke - Return Of The Living Dead Part III (1993)
Designers: Jananicole Mincer (costume)

It's wrong, really, but Mindy Clarke's turn as zombie-to-be Julie Walker in Brian Yuzna's underrated sequel to the Dan O'Bannon classic is without doubt the sexiest zombie yet committed to screen. Additionally she probably holds the record for most-protracted transition from human to zombie, lasting almost the entire movie. The couture is a cross between Hellraiser's cenobites, Mad Max and tramp chic. You really need attitude to carry this kind of thing off, and Clarke demonstrates it in abundance. It's not clear from the large list of prosthetic designers who else had a major hand in conceiving zombie Clarke, but the production designer was Anthony Tremblay.

28: Jane Badler - 'V' (1983)
Designer: Brienne Glyttov.

Lizard-queen Badler provided one of TV's biggest shocks in the 1980s when she engorged her throat to accommodate a snack-hamster in Kenneth Johnson's hugely-successful sci-fi mini-series. Designer Brienne Glyttov has toyed with the alien-fascist motif that even Ed Wood had a crack at in Plan 9 From Outer Space, but gets the proportions right. The colour is a sexy orange-red and the concealment of the upper chest area is off-set by the very form-hugging nature of the underlying jumpsuit. This is a costume designed to show off the rear and legs, and is particularly well-served by Badler in this respect. Diana (Jane Badler's character in the two mini-series and subsequent TV series) was voted at No.5 in TV guide's list of 25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends in 2004. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Jane last year.

27: Barbara Bach - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Not all Bond films are sci-fi, but about 50% are, and - what with the submergible city - Spy is second only to Moonraker for sci-fi battiness. Bach's costume is very modest, at least in terms of material used. There isn't much to say about it because there isn't much of it, though we note that the elegance of the criss-cross bust wraps is rather killed by the flares. Though the legendary Ken Adams is the production supervisor on Spy Who Loved Me, no individual credit is given for the costumes.

26: Kelly Le Brock - Weird Science (1985)
Designer: Marilyn Vance

I can remember a lot of odd fashions from the 1980s, but I can't remember Kelly LeBrock's hyper-truncated football sweater ever hitting the high street. The mechanics of Anthony Michael Hall's science project (wherein he and fellow loser Ilan Mitchell-Smith assemble the perfect woman from a bunch of well-thumbed playboy mags, some electrodes and some of the worst computer interfaces ever to curse the silver screen) are risible, but the results memorable, and I suppose it's appropriate that LeBrock's top is so crudely remodelled from the base ingredients of Hall's bedroom. It's a look that predates and exceeds the noughties fashion for midriff-baring, and it stamped itself indelibly onto the psyche of a whole generation of geeks.

25: Dorothy Stratten - Galaxina (1980)
Designer: Malissa Daniel (Slam Dance; Communion; Cool World)

Malissa Daniel has integrated the spandex disco chic of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century with the 'at-least-show-them-something' philosophy of William Ware Theiss (as famously demonstrated in Sherry Jackson's costume for the Star Trek: TOS episode "What are little girls made of"). Instead of revealing the underside of the breast area, a Star Trek favourite, or the side area, Daniel exposes the chest area directly above, too high for significant cleavage but too low and broad to not be intriguing. The flares that Buck Rogers (correctly) guessed the future would tire of are in evidence on Galaxina's spandex suit, and the light-cream colour matches the pale make-up that often (with Blade Runner's Pris, for instance) denotes the bloodless cybernetic construct. Some consider that Natalie Portman's tight and midriff-revealing get-up in Attack Of The Clones is inspired by Stratten's spandex outfit.

24: Charlise Theron - Aeon Flux (2005)
Designer: Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

Many fans of the original Peter Chung animated character were displeased with the rather more modest version of the costume that Charlise Theron sported in Karyn Kusama's ill-received movie adaptation, though others seem to welcome the protection. The almost non-existent lower section of the main version of the original costume would likely have cost the film its PG-13 rating. Chameleon-like Theron seemed to be in some halfway state between her customary dimensions and some kind of (no doubt work-related) weight-gain, and the original design might have been a bit of a reach for her that year anyway. Though the top section of Chung's costume design seems very tight, it lacks the upper-chest reveal of the Pasztor 'compromise' costume seen in the film. Either way, both designs have many adherents.

23: Scarlet Johansson - The Island (2005)
Designer: Deborah L. Scott (Titanic; Transformers; Minority Report)

The purity and innocence of gee-whiz clones Johansson and MacGregor is emphasised in the design of their sporty and tight-fitting tracksuits. The hedonism and venal nature of the society in Logan's Run - which, along with Clonus (1979), The Island owes a great deal to - is passed over here to represent a mini-society that knows nothing about sex, even at a theoretical level. With the aim of suppressing lust in mind, these are not the most obvious couple to bind up in tight and sexy one-pieces, but there you go.

22: Pamela Hensley - Buck Rogers In The Twenty-Fifth Century (USTV, 1979)
Designer: Al Lehman

The second of three entries for a sci-fi TV series so devoted to glam as to make the efforts of TOS pale by comparison. Though she only appeared in four episodes out of the two-series run, Hensley managed to create a two-gal glam-off in the minds of male Buck Rogers fans between herself and Erin Gray. Often clad in typically erotic sci-fi spandex, Ardala's most enduring appearance is actually from the first episode (also released as a motion picture in 1979). Here, at an absurd dance where Gil Gerard revives disco after a 500-year absence, we find Princess Ardala adorned in ornate robes, a semi-frilly bikini and a hat that clearly had a huge influence on an adolescent Jamiroquai. As Buck says later, "she had the nicest set of horns at the ball."

21: Talisa Soto - Vampirella (1995)
Designer: Roxanne Miller (film) / Tom Sutton (comic).

As the first artist associated with the Warren comics super-vamp, Tom Sutton's credit as designer of the original 'collared-thong' outfit should be tempered by the association of Frank Frazetta and Archie Goodwin with early Vampirella. The costume itself has become an SF/horror icon non-pareil since the first Vampi comic came out in 1969. With it's form-hugging midriff side-straps, the costume looks impossible, something a teenage boy would design and an engineer would laugh at. But it's amazing what science can do when the will is there. There are so many accurate versions of the costume on display every year at conventions, that it is surprising to find Soto's get-up in the Jim Wynorski film so plastic and unconvincing, and it gets a place in this list far more for the design than the execution. Talisa Soto is a perfectly fine actress, but lacks the trademark Vampi physiognomy, and the outfit hangs rather drably on her; it's not the right costume for her to wear. A far more suitable candidate would have been the lovely Caroline Munro (see #35), who had turned the role down many years earlier.

20: Claudia Black - Stargate SG-1 (US TV, 2007)
Designer: Christina McQuarrie

McQuarrie's excellent work with Morena Baccarin (see part #1) continued apace in her designs for Black. We note that the designer is extremely fond of chokers, and seems to be holding back an S&M riff for the benefit of delicate network sensibilities. Vala Mal Doran is a combustible and strong character, and her many moods give opportunity for a varied wardrobe. The ceremonial garb aobe-left is a particularly sadistic challenge, showing both the upper arms and sides of the abdomen; you don't get away with anything on McQuarrie's watch.

19: Dana Gillespie - The People That Time Forgot (1977)

In the absence of a specific costume design credit, we can only thank production designer Maurice Carter for enlivening this rather confused sequel to The Land That Time Forgot with a cave-girl memorable enough to stand beside Raquel Welch (who we remind you can't be here in that regard since One Million Years B.C., ludicrous as it is, is not sci-fi). The costume for Ajor (Gillespie's character), little as there is of it, seems to be a rustic suede affair where dignity is unwisely maintained by sparse laces. Gillespie had trod the prehistoric route before with Hammer's The Lost Continent (1968), and provided similarly fulsome roles in the otherwise irredeemable Cook & Moore spoof of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978) and also Nick Roeg's Bad Timing (1980).

18: Louise Jameson - Doctor Who (BBC TV, 1977 - 78)
Designer: John Bloomfield

Oddly enough, the Sevateem warrior's garb is extremely similar to Dana Gillespie's (above), but emphasises the thighs and upper legs rather than the chest. As the actress told us in an interview last year "I think the BBC said 'We'll have this feisty, intelligent, interesting woman, but...we'll take her clothes off for an outfit! I had absolutely no idea that she'd be in those clothes and she'd end up a sex-symbol. With the wisdom of hindsight, of course - put someone in a leather leotard after the football results, and inevitably you're going to get a load of the male population tuning in. ".

17: Rebecca Romijn - X-Men (2000)
Designer: Louise Mingenbach (costume); Gordon Smith (special makeup design).

Of the preparation that went into creating her naked-looking polymorph character in the X-Men trilogy, Romijn told IndieLondon: "It is tough. Mystique is solid blue and covered in scales. I remember when I was reading the script for the first time, for the first X-Men, they described what my character looked like and I thought: “Ok cool, that might involve a couple of extra hours in makeup, I can deal with that.” I never really understood how much time it would entail until I began work. It ended up being seven or eight hours in the make-up chair, so sometimes I would have to get to the set at one or two in the morning to get started. It is mostly prosthetics; the scales are giant pieces of silicone, (which cover 70 percent of my body), that are strategically placed all over my body. Then they spray me down, they airbrush the rest of me with blue makeup. It is not much fun. But the same group of women has been doing my make up since the first film and we all know each other very well now, obviously. We genuinely have a pretty good time together and make the best of it. And it is worth it because the results are so dramatic." Mystique was created by David Cockrum and writer Chris Claremont for Ms.Marvel No.16 in 1978. The character's long-term affair with another female mutant, Destiny, never made it into the X-Men trilogy.

16: Ashley Scott - Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
Designer: Paco Rabanne

Paco Rabanne worked extensively on Barbarella (see below), and I'm guessing he had a hand in the design of Anita Pallenberg's 'Black Queen' outfit, which shares some DNA with the restrictive garb of Jude Law's casual cyber-prostitute pal, Gigolo Jane (Scott). In typical S&M style, this scarlet cat-suit harks back to the 1950s, with a modelled bust-line and evident cantilevering, and while it shows everything, it also shows absolutely nothing - not even the neck. One might imagine a garment this enclosing and hermetic to be an obstruction in Jane's trade, but for all we know, it's built right onto her chassis.

15: Erin Gray - Buck Rogers In The Twenty-Fifth Century (USTV, 1979)
Designer: Al Lehman

Like many of the tighter costumes in this list, Erin Gray's spangly spandex catsuit from the first series of Buck Rogers required the actress to be sewn into it every morning. "I didn't mind being on-camera wearing the spandex, but I couldn't walk around the studio with it on." the very charming Gray told us in an interview last year. "I always had to wear a bathrobe over it! When I did the screen test they asked me to wear white Levis and a white top. They wanted [the costume] very form-fitting and tight. That’s all I knew. It’s interesting, because I came from the world of modelling and fashion, so I wasn’t really shocked or uncomfortable about wearing the costume. I’d been one of the original Sports Illustrated models, so my sexuality, showing my body, I was comfortable with that. The thing was, I didn’t mind being on-camera that way, but I couldn’t walk around the studio with my spandex. I’ll never forget, one time I was at home and looking at an episode of Buck Rogers, and there was a moment when I walked away from the camera, so I’m seeing myself from behind – and I blushed. I was thinking that was quite – ahem! I’ve learned to recognise that there’s a certain age group of gentlemen between about 36 and 43 – we’re walking down the street and all of a sudden you see the lights go on behind the eyes. What I’ve found from going to the events is that obviously I helped a lot of young teenage boys go through puberty! "

14: Joanna Cassidy - Blade Runner (1982)
Designer: Marika Contempasis ('Nymph' costume, uncredited)
Designers: Charles Knode('Chase scene' costume)

Though costume changes are a frequent occurrence for sci-fi glamour icons, this is one of only two examples in the list where the source material shows the transition from one costume to another (see #4), as Harrison Ford follows fugitive replicant and showgirl Zhora into her dressing room in the guise of a performing arts union representative. The first of Zhora's costumes is the 'nymph', which the actress discusses in some detail here (includes many pictures of the costume, then and now).

"This costume consisted of three relatively small pieces of nylon strategically placed and then thousands of sequins carefully glued on my skin." said Cassidy. The sequins were secured to her skin with hair-gel, so that they’d wash off in an interesting way in the shower scene. "It took three hours to apply the makeup for that scene and a lot of patience". Cassidy's friend Marika Contempasis (uncredited) was the designer. Of the chase-scene's 'pac-a-mac' design, a rigid leather bra and lower section crowned with a Barbarella-esque clear plastic cape, Cassidy reveals that "It fit like a dream, but was very fragile and Ridley [Scott] appreciated it , but felt it needed to be enhanced to make Zhora look much tougher (more like rough trade), but with an air of the super human quality which Replicants have. I was very happy that I could wear a bit more because I knew we would be shooting nights and because it would be very cold around four o'clock in the morning." The effect Zhora's kinky get-up would have was well anticipated: "I was shocked when I went to the studio to see the costume Charles had made. I had my measurements taken a week before and like two naughty school boys Ridley and Charles [Knode]waited for me to change into my costume and emerge from the changing room, and then they watched me go from pink to red in my black leathers. I tried to act nonchalant, but it was nearly impossible in the Warner Bros. dressing room with the overhead neon lights accentuating my white skin. I think I said something like "Where's my whip?" , and we proceeded to break into gales of laughter. That broke the tension. I realized I would have a lot of fun being a dominatrix for the next three weeks. Of course Ridley would love shocking the producers and audience with his Zhora."

Joanna Cassidy discusses Zhora's costumes

13: Jeri Ryan - Star Trek: Voyager (US TV, 1997 - 2001)
Designer: Robert Blackman

Borg-couture is clearly heavily influenced, as is so much else in this list, by Buck Rogers In The Twenty-Fifth Century, and Ryan’s ‘orphaned’ spandex-clad demi-alien Seven-Of-Nine was usually rated 10 by the male fans that the character was clearly put in to attract after a ratings dip. Ryan only took the role at the fifth attempt by producer Jeri Taylor. A certain contingent of Trekkers took umbrage at the inclusion of a crew-member so overtly sexy in the usually glam-free Trek-verse. The rest of us set our VCRs as we fell for the oldest trick in the book. Jeri Ryan discussed the costume with Trek Today: "The whole 'sex symbol' or 'babe' thing doesn't bother me. It's the costume that I wear on the show which is ... a little snug, shall we say, and doesn't leave a whole lot to the imagination. I don't have a problem with it because of the way this character's been written, how intelligent she is and how strong she is and what a wonderful female portrayal she is."

12: Susan Oliver - Star Trek: The Cage
Designer: William Ware Theiss

And here we arrive at some of the best work of the founding father of TV sci-fi glam. It must be admitted that Theiss seems to have developed his famous theory after suffering some criticism for the very considerable amount of flesh being waved at poor old Captain Pike. The fact that the flesh is green probably didn't entirely get it past the network guardians, though body-painting has proved a good excuse for absolute nudity (or the appearance thereof) in the likes of Goldfinger and X-Men (see #17).

11: Sarah Douglas - Superman II (1980)
Designer: Yvonne Blake

Ursa is clearly channelling the Eva Braun wannabes of UK punk culture in the late 1970s, and if the supervillains in Superman and Superman II didn't start the New Romantic movement, they certainly weren't late for the party. For the second instalment, the thigh area of man-eating Ursa's costume was opened up as part of a mild re-styling that would glam up the part a little without breaking continuity with the imprisonment sequence at the beginning of the first film.

10: Monica Bellucci - The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Designer: Kym Barrett

La Bellucci is the clothes horse of the Wachowski brothers sci-fi trilogy, stunning in every one of the various creations she frequentlyu changes into. The above number riffs on a familiar SF/SM theme, but is proportioned in such a way that a lot of male viewers might be hard-pressed to even remember what colour it was. The choker is white and the pony-tail casually flunf forward, but this is still another SF homage to Eric Stanton.

9: Cindy Morgan - TRON (1982)
Designer: Syd Mead / Dean Edward Mitzner (production design) Nedra Rosemond-Watt (women's costume)

The clip accompanying this entry shows the deleted love-scene between Morgan and co-star Bruce Boxleitner, and there the actress gets a chance to add a string of ethereal glamour to her slinky and unforgiving outfit in Disney's cult SF outing. When Morgan turned up on set and saw the costume design, she went AWOL for a day to lose 5ibs in a gym, and it all seems to have worked out very well.

8: Jenny Agutter - Logans Run (1976)
Designer: Bill Thomas

The 'Roman' motif was once popular in sci-fi visions of utopian or despotic future societies, as evidenced in The Time Machine (1960), Brave New World (US TV 1981) and various others. Here Jenny is modelling a fetching, sideless green one-piece intended for easy access on ‘the circuit', effectively a TV channel where you can materialise any of the girls (or boys) you're zapping and have a nice evening in with them. The average citizen in Logan’s Run plumped for a slightly less revealing toga variation, available in three colours, of which red meant that you were shortly going to be tossed in the air in an arena and blown up. The very revealing design Agutter sports in her first encounter with Logan was intended as the template for all the women in the unnamed future society of Michael Anderson's Oscar-winning dystopic sci-fi. Eventually it was decreed that the demands of making up hundreds of semi-clad female bodies were beyond the budget, and many of the supposedly bare legs on display in 'Arcade' are actually stockinged to save time. This is not the first time we've discussed this 'green handkerchief' costume.

7: Jane Fonda - Barbarella (1967)
Designers: Jacques Fonteray / Paco Rabanne

Though Paco Rabanne is co-credited for costume design on Roger Vadim's sexy space-fantasy, Jane Fonda's wardrobe in the film seems universally attributed to Jacques Fonteray. Perhaps great minds think alike, and Rabanne's styling for #16 (below) would either suggest that he was very influenced or influential regarding Barbarella. The threads (and sometimes they are little more) of the kooky space-bimbo are substituted for new ones no less than seven times in the movie, but the vacuum-formed outfit is probably the kinkiest, and certainly the most imaginative of many in Roger Vadim’s trippy sixties comic-strip adaptation. Scratchy polyester and skin-biting plastic, ever the curse of the sci-fi sex symbol, are firmly in evidence here, and the very fetching stomach-reveal of Anita Pallenberg's Black Queen is foreshadowed with 50% transparency over the abdomen. The S&M hardness of the materials and sombre colours are offset by the back-combed blonde hair, bare arms and super-slinky kinky boots. The highly textured stockings, soon to be chewed off by a nasty species of zombie-style dolls, don't look remotely comfortable, and maybe that's part of the appeal. It's an elaborate and expensive costume to reproduce, and in a home setting probably couldn't be achieved without a vacuum-forming mill and five gallons of clear resin. Nonetheless advice can be found on setting oneself up as Queen Of The Galaxy, and don't forget the spaced-out sixties make-up. Barbarella was no Ripley in terms of astronautical ability, but she had a killer wardrobe. Much as I’d like to include Sigourney Weaver’s iconic strip in the fourth act of Alien, a t-shirt and panties aren’t much of a costume, are they?

6: Milla Jovovich - The Fifth Element (1997)
Designer: Jean-Paul Gaultier

Gaultier concocted an uncomfortable blend of associations for Milla Jovovich's mysterious character in the Luc Besson sci-fi cult hit: the fetishistic strips which comprise the "ACE-bandage" costume are offset by being made of pure white cloth; the dominatrix vibe by the faint impression that the costume may protect against incontinence; the sense of expensive sophistication by the suspicion that the whole thing could be accurately recreated with a pair of white knickers and a roll of electrical tape. More sophisticated versions of Jovovich's costumes in the film are available for purchase or hire, but not everyone has the courage to reveal as much as the actress in this first bandage-fest. For those who dare, $94 buys you a fetching and pretty authentic recreation.

5: Raquel Welch - Mork & Mindy (1979, " Mork vs. the Necrotons" pts 1 & 2)

Designer: Robert Fuca

The disco emphasis in the second series of Robin Williams' break-through show did nothing good for the ratings but significantly upped the glam quotient, which went through the roof when Raquel Welch slinked into Mork's life as Captain Nirvana, the queen of the Necrotons. The silver-strapped jumpsuit rises in all its cheesiness from a fetching pair of silver thigh-boots, and before we reach the antenna-like crown - apparently fashioned after the Sydney opera house, but no doubt used to communicate with distant planets - we stop and stare in amazement at the tubed hip-spoilers that are determined to turn La Welch into a species of souped-up space car. It's all quite awful, and quite wonderful too.

4: Gabrielle Drake - UFO (TV, 1970)
Designer: Sylvia Anderson

If the purple wigs in Gerry Anderson's first-ever live-action series were for the women to avoid static charges in the pressurised atmosphere of Moonbase, why didn’t the men have to wear them too? Their hair was usually longer than the girls anyway. Ponder not these matters, but enjoy the sight of a statuesque Drake wearing the skin-tight and sparkly moonbase operative outfit. There is a shiny silver mini-skirt for off-duty hours too, and Gerry Anderson was kind enough to let Gabrielle demonstrate the transition in a changing-room montage in one episode of UFO. "They were the most uncomfortable costumes I had ever had to work with," Gabrielle Drake said at a convention reported by "They were very very scratchy; that was the trouble, and you did sort of have to pour yourself into them in the mornings. Quite tight. Sylvia [Anderson] was very very particular and she would come and examine the girls before we went on and make sure the wretched eyelashes with diamonds on them which were so heavy on your eyes." Drake went on to mention that the purple hair of the moonbase ensemble was being imitated by the Japanese at the time. You can check out Sylvia Anderson discussing the moonbase outfits on a TV show of the time, which also features some fairly absurd of-series action from a moonbase model.

3: Michelle Pfeiffer - Batman Returns (1992)
Designers: Bob Ringwood / Syren Couture

The black PVC cat-suit that Pfeiffer sports so ravishingly in Tim Burton's last Batman entry stands in here for numerous others. There might be any number of spandex variations, but the sheer count of leather/rubber/latex cat-suits in female sci-fi and horror wardrobe is...legion. Check out the 'Who's not here' section below for some examples that would essentially have been inferior dupes of the extraordinary S&M garb from Batman Returns. It was commendably pragmatic of Burton to turn to a self-proclaimed 'latex fetish' fashion-house to bring Batman's neurotic nemesis to life. The costume was neglected after the production and allowed to reach "a sorry state", but was restored to its former glory by Syren Couture for the "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" exhibit at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art in September of 2008. According to a junket interview for Returns, Pfeiffer's very first thought upon seeing herself as Catwoman was "The mask is smashing my face. Getting over the difficulties of the costume mostly consumed me in the beginning." It's an elaborate and uncomfortable costume compared to the laughable one which Halle Berry sported in Pitof's disastrous Catwoman (2004), yet the latter item is currently easier to rent or buy for a party. If you're strapped for cash you can even do it yourself.

2: Carrie Fisher - Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Designer: Aggie Guerard Rodgers

Returning to Jabba's slave palace (see #47) we find a denuded Carrie Fisher shivering in the early shadows of an all-time SF glam-legend. Jedi was the first film conceived and shot after the release of Mike Hodges' gloriously camp romp Flash Gordon (see below), and Lucas really seems to have been heated-up by Danilo Donati's sexy production design for that film. Leia's slave costume is comprised of high-heeled leather boots, brass thong g-string underwear, red silk loincloth and metal brassiere secured to the body with filament. Optional (or maybe not) accessories included snake armwrap and bracelets, all topped off with a stout securing chain to ensure the wearer can't escape the slimy clutches of her slug-like master. Guerard Rodgers based her design on the erotic fantasy output of Frank Frazetta (a participant in the creation of Vampirella, #21), and the outfit was produced in a more cumbersome detailed version and a lighter latex edition for action shots.

Rodgers originally envisioned something more Arabian in nature: "I wanted 25 yards of fabric to be flowing through the scene." It may interest S&M adherents to know that Fisher injured Jabba operator Mike Edmonds when clambering over the latex creature in her 'escape' scene. Fisher herself was ambivalent about Leia's sudden lack of clothes for Jedi. "When they took my clothes off, put me in a bikini and shut me up, I thought it was a strong indication of what the third film was." Nonetheless, like Cindy Morgan (#9), the actress responded with drastic diet and exercise, and reports on chat shows that she points her Jedi self out to her daughter as the time "when mummy had the great body". The first Slave Leias were home-spinning their costumes within days of Jedi's release in Summer of 1983, and the role has passed on to a new generation of Slave Leia imitators who brighten up conventions, often in the company of a full-sized Jabba maquette. For the less committed, it's one of the most popular women's fancy dress costumes, and a toned-down version of it famously ended up on Jennifer Aniston in the episode of Friends called The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy (check out the Star Wars wiki for a detailed list of the costume in pop-culture). Presumably the rewards are worth the hardship; Fisher herself recalls the costume as very uncomfortable: "It was like steel, not steel, but hard plastic, and if you stood behind me you could see straight to Florida. You'll have to ask Boba Fett about that."

1: Ornella Muti - Flash Gordon (1980)
Designer: Danilo Donati

Danilo Donati's work included the most opulent costume design ever seen on screen, in the works of Fellini; he was an unlikely and (for us) fortunate contributor to the sci-fi genre. Sporting a metal bikini that preceded Slave Leia's (#2) by three years, Muti is an indomitable sci-fi goddess in Mike Hodges' gloriously retro re-boot of the 1930s swashbuckling sci-fi saga. The sexiness of Princess Aura's ceremonial costume lies, as with many such costumes, in the fact that it conceals much but in key areas exposes flesh up to the limits of an NC-17 rating, particularly around the thigh and hip area. Parts of Donati's costume go where even Leia would draw the line, though less flesh in general is shown, and this is the intrigue that transforms nudity from vulgar to erotic.

The pointed shoulderpads prefigure the 1980s obsession for boxed shoulders, but take their cue from Asian mythology, while the crown is a mixture of the art deco that pervades Flash Gordon and the styling of The Arabian Knights. The semi-skirt frontispiece is glisteningly gold, and if the reputation for opulence of Donati and Dino De Laurentis is true, it might not even be fake. A series of barbed-looking armbands extend - and draw the eye down - to their counterparts on the legs, and despite all these robust materials, the entire thing looks, quite intentionally, as if it might fall apart any minute. This is an ensemble that has to be worn with royal indifference or not at all, and coheres with an Italian elegance lacking in Leia's slave garb in Jedi. Later on in the film, Muti sports a memorable 'sci-fi spandex' outfit that could never be pedestrian with such an occupant, but which pales in comparison to her initial sashay into Ming's court earlier in the film. What an utter goddess; princess of Mongo but queen of the sci-fi screen. Also available in resin.

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