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One Star Trek Costume Left Patrick Stewart With Lasting Damage

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The original “Next Generation” uniforms worn by the cast were developed by the show’s first costume designer, William Ware Theiss. But the reasoning behind the muscle-hugging look came straight from “Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry. “Gene Roddenberry loooooved it,” Patrick Stewart explained to the BBC, later adding, “He wanted everything to be absolutely chic and smooth.”

But for Roddenberry, it wasn’t just about presenting a slick-looking Starfleet uniform. In his memoir “Making It So,” Stewart called the producer “a fan of cheesecake.” Despite his overall progressive vision for “Star Trek,” Roddenberry’s vision for a sexy future has often been accused of objectifying actors in sexist fashion. As Stewart wrote, “We all suffered to a degree from a directive to look sexy,” adding that Ware’s costumes were designed “so that they never wrinkled and kept our bodies on full display.” 

Despite the tight costume leaving Stewart in constant pain, Roddenberry hadn’t taken his many complaints seriously. Fortuitously, Stewart’s agent, Steve Dontanville, recommended he see a doctor around the time the show’s original costume designer was retiring, and new designer Robert Blackman was much more sympathetic to Stewart’s pain. Even after Blackman pulled together the sharp-looking two-piece polyester costume Picard can be seen wearing in later seasons, Roddenberry’s insistence on a wrinkle-free uniform was unwavering. Luckily, Stewart had a very special shirt tug in his back pocket for dealing with the issue.