Christine Bieselin Clark Interview: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ costume designer
For “Star Trek: Picard,” costume designer Christine Bieselin Clark had to boldly go where no “Star Trek” had gone before.
“The producers were seeking someone with a background in science fiction, but not exclusively in science fiction because our take on this was pretty different. A lot of the science fiction that you see is very sleek and has a very sci-fi futuristic kind of coldness to it, so they really wanted a costume designer that had experience in science fiction and outside of it to kind of meld those worlds,” Clark told Gold Derby on our Meet the BTL Experts: Costume Design panel (watch above). “It’s a much more humanized, grounded — for lack of a better word — interpretation.”
Set 20 years after the events of “Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002), the series finds Picard (Patrick Stewart) living the retired life in a vineyard until Dahj (Isa Briones) pulls him back into the game. To establish Picard’s new minimalistic existence, Clark turned to natural fabric instead of the synthetic material you’d normally associate with sci-fi costumes. On Earth, the former Starfleet admiral is outfitted in warm sweaters and turtlenecks in luscious green and red hues.
“I think oftentimes synthetic becomes the old reliable and there’s where you get that feeling. And because Picard is a lover of history and an archivist and a reader of paper books even in 2400, we really wanted to keep ahold of a lot of the natural materials, especially in … the beginning of the series. We eventually get into lots of synthetics [when he goes to space], but we transition,” Clark said. “We made almost everything that Patrick wears in the series. In the beginning, yes, it was very much grounded in natural materials — cotton, wool, linens — and doing blends of those. Because the ability to create depth of color and get textures and mixtures of those things without that glossy feeling, those materials are definitely the best. And they have an old world feeling.”
The knitwear wasn’t exclusive to Picard; other characters were also outfitted in cozy cloaks and the ilk, including Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Gone was her iconic metallic catsuit and in its place was a nice mesh sweater.
“We both very, very, very much wanted to get away from the sleek, hourglass, sexy catsuit from ‘Star Trek: Voyager,’” Clark shared. “It just didn’t fit the story and we wanted to show time passing for that character as well. So as much as we have reverence for that hourglass silhouette … we’re doing in a very different way, and the way to do that now is to show her power and strength physically for the journey that she’s on now. But again, using texture and knitwear to create a connection. We didn’t want to feel so distant from these characters that they were so far in the future that we couldn’t be emotionally connected to them. If you’re going to be kicking ass all the time, you should be able to do a little roundhouse.”