Bernadette Croft on SNW Season 2
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing SNW Costume Designer Bernadette Croft. We previously discussed the first couple of episodes from Season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Consequently, this article is more of an overview of the show’s second season.
Celia Rose Gooding was extremely pleased that she wore a costume that included pockets in the second season premiere, “The Broken Circle”. Please tell us a bit about that costume.
Celia looked so great in her incognito Cajitar look. Since our main cast are usually in the Starfleet uniform, it’s cool to see them in different colours as part of an incognito look or a disguise. We wanted Uhura to have a bit of a rebel edge, so she had a sleek leather holster for her phaser and pockets! I’m a fan of pockets as they add texture and interest. Turns out Celia is very resourceful and she liked to stash snacks in them.
Were the time agent costumes in “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” supposed to be a uniform?
It was scripted that the agents wore contemporary grey suits. They were meant to blend in with the time period in which they are found and not raise any eyebrows. A look that could disappear in the crowd.
Do you have any favourite costumes from the last four installments of the second season?
In “Those Old Scientists”, I loved Captain Caras‘ costume. We did this long leather jacket that had veins and sculpted leather charms that were broken down. We wanted the audience to believe the Orions were pirates, so their looks included a lot of textured leather and gritty breakdown.
I also loved Ambassador Dak’Rah in “Under the Cloak of War”. Normally our Klingons look very intimidating and imposing with exoskeletal sculpted armour. For Rah, he was described as a peacemaker and reformed violent soldier. We wanted his robes to be long and flowing like a Monk. We had the fabric mushroom-pleated in Montreal to add an interesting texture to his robes. We hand-beaded the cuffs of his robes, and his belt buckle was 3D-printed.
For “Those Old Scientists”, how easy or difficult was it to adapt the Lower Decks uniforms for live-action?
It was a welcomed challenge that we were all pumped to be a part of. I love Lower Decks and it was a real joy to bring those costumes to life. We used our Starfleet uniform fabric and lined it with scuba to give a super-smooth finish. We tweaked the proportions so the uniform would suit a human body. It was important for me to incorporate details like the logo on the sole of the shoes and Mariner’s sleeve roll.
Were you involved in adapting the regular Strange New Worlds duty uniforms into animation for the end of “Those Old Scientists”?
The Lower Decks team wanted to see detailed pics of the costumes for reference but it was all the magic artistry of the LD team. I loved how the costumes turned out.
For the flashbacks in “Under the Cloak of War”, how did you create those Starfleet troop outfits? Is there a reason they’re so colourful compared to the black tactical uniforms in the first season of Discovery, which is supposed to be set about the same time?
In that episode, our team wears the established SNW tactical look. The colours on the tactical vests reference what department they are serving. We also wanted there to be a clear visual transition from M’Benga serving as a doctor (wears light blue vest) to when he became black ops (black vest).
It was a combination of story and scheduling that led to the decision that we continue with the SNW uniforms. In our episode, the events took place towards the end of the war and so here we see some of the first upgrades to tac gear. We wanted the Special Forces unit in particular to feel like they had access to the latest equipment Starfleet had to offer. Practically, it was a relief that we could use the fabric and materials that we had already in stock in our workshop. This was our most ambitious costuming episode of the season in terms of labour and budget. We had a lot of work to do within the two-week prep period!
Perhaps you can tell us some more about the Klingon uniforms used in Strange New Worlds‘ second season? Although they’re introduced in the Season 2 premiere “The Broken Circle”, they later show up in the eighth and ninth episodes, “Under the Cloak of War” and “Subspace Rhapsody”?
True, but they are not heavily featured in those episodes.
In The Original Series, the Klingon uniforms consisted of a stretchy black and gold top and pant, and the belt buckle was painted bubble wrap. I used the original black-and-gold palette and the square neckline and then used hard armour with an exoskeleton detail over the top. This was to reflect the ridges of the prosthetic and make them more intimidating-looking than in TOS. Our key sculptor, Alex Silberberg, hand-sculpted the skeletal pieces, which added a creepy element to the costume. We even 3D-printed that bubble-wrap-style belt buckle.
Did the dancing in “Subspace Rhapsody” mean the costumes had to allow for such quick movements, or were they just like regular costumes?
We made special uniform dance tops to allow for more movement. We added a gusset to the armhole of the tops so there was no restriction when actors raised their arms. We also had elastic on the inside of the uniform to anchor the top and pants together so the tops wouldn’t ride up too much as they danced. We still wanted to maintain a sleek and tidy look.
Were you involved in designing the Gorn spacesuit for the season finale?
That was all the incredible work of Legacy Effects, who do all the Prosthetics on our show. It looked amazing!
And finally, one of our readers on social media asked, “She’s gotten to do some amazing work with redesigns: the Klingons, the TOS dress uniforms, the green wrap, the monster maroon. Is there anything still on her bucket list as far as redesigns that she’d love to tackle?”
It’s been such an honour to re-imagine these classic designs. Honestly anything from TOS would be a thrill to re-imagine.
I recently watched the TOS episode “Is There in Truth No Beauty”. I loved Doctor Miranda Jones‘ costume. She wore this gorgeous turquoise blue gown that had a bejewelled net overlay. In the end, it turned out that these jewels were sensors, a cool reveal I didn’t see coming. I don’t know how her character could be introduced to our show but perhaps I can incorporate some kind of reveal in a future character’s costume to honor Doctor Jones!
Thank you very much for talking with Warp Factor Trek, Bernadette.
Editor of WarpFactorTrek, Dan is an avid Star Trek fan who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dan has loved Star Trek ever since discovering it in his childhood. He worked as an administrator, for six years, on the encyclopedic Star Trek website Memory Alpha, which involved studying the making of the various series and films. He has been mentioned in the official Star Trek Magazine, has qualified from a Star Trek course taught at Glasgow Clyde College, and coordinates the SubSpace Chatter (formerly The Scotch Trekker) YouTube channel, which regularly features live interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek.