This morning on the Space Channel I caught an episode of the original Star Trek series, “By Any Other Name” (1968), where the Enterprise is hijacked by humanoid aliens called Kelvans so they can go home. I was kind of half watching when this gorgeous alien babe comes out of nowhere, wearing a hot backless jumpsuit with groovy boots and an intricate beehive. Her name was Kelinda and she had one of those familiar faces. Looking her up, I found out her name is Barbara Bouchet and she is actually one of Italy’s top actresses, mostly because of her sexy “giallo” roles in the 70’s. She is still going strong and living in Italy, acting and running a few business ventures.
And that jumpsuit!!! Wowzers! This pixie would love to wear that somewhere, if I went out at all. Of course I had to look up the costume designer and of course, he was fantastic. William Ware Theiss (1931-1992), a seasoned, award-winning costume designer for film and T.V., was known for creating the sexy Star Trek costumes, and is the namesake of the “Theiss Titillation Theory”. It states that “the degree to which a costume is considered sexy is directly proportional to how accident-prone it appears to be”. I can imagine all the male Trekkers waiting with bated breath, hoping in vain that a boob might slip out unexpectedly as a hot alien chick grappled with Captain Kirk. His designs usually consisted of strips of fabric precariously holding a whole outfit together, or the weight of the fabric itself.
I am so glad that costume designers get the recognition they deserve. The talent, vision and imagination needed to realize characters, especially in sci-fi and horror, takes a special person born with a unique creative energy. Theiss gave us innovative designs and pushed the envelope, which is why it’s so fitting that he designed for Star Trek, which was a show that was light years ahead of the times.
Barbara Bouchet on imdb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0099054/
Check out www.startrekpropauthority.com for some interesting info on sets and costumes.
So far, the only bio available on Theiss is on Wikipedia. There are many fan sites with tidbits on him if you google his name.