Durinda Rice Wood may have been bound to the overall uniform aesthetic that William Ware Theiss had established the previous season, but she still managed to make significant creative contributions to The Next Generation during its second year – including many subtle (and some not-so-subtle) changes to the early TNG jumpsuits.
Her reimagined TNG jumpsuits were primarily seen on Captain Picard and Geordi La Forge, both of whom wore entirely new uniforms featuring her new detailing throughout season two.
Worf also had new uniforms made for season two, but his jumpsuits only included some of Wood’s alterations.
Commander Riker wore at least some uniforms that were clearly made for season two, but most of the detailing on his jumpsuits was very close to that from the first season. His uniforms only had minor changes from season one.
For the first two-thirds or so of the season, Data appears to have either continued wearing his existing uniforms or new ones that were made in a nearly-identical style. Beginning with the episode “Q Who,” though, he exclusively wore Wood’s redesigned season two jumpsuits.
As a recurring character, Chief O’Brien would have presumably had uniforms made specifically for him that year, but his jumpsuit detailing was almost exclusively in the season one style.
Broadly speaking, early in the season other guest characters such as Dr. Selar, Captain Louvois, Bruce Maddox, and Ensign Mendon wore jumpsuits that were similar to those (or possibly even reused) from season one, but as the season progressed guest characters such as Sonya Gomez wore Wood’s redesigned season two jumpsuits.
For his sole appearance in season two, Q wore a jumpsuit that was something of a hybrid between the season one and season two jumpsuit styles.
Wood also experimented a bit with other design changes on some extras and minor supporting characters.
Wood’s redesigned detailing primarily included:
- Ovular necklines, with slightly wider division-colored trim binding the neckline edges rather than extending outward from underneath
- Yoke piping extending farther outward toward the shoulders, and possibly wider (although this was primarily seen on Geordi’s uniforms, less so on others)
- Deeper yoke proportions at the center front
- Lower yoke/upper body seams that barely curved downward from center toward the sleeves at all
- Tighter armscyes with raised armholes
- Re-proportioned asymmetrical front paneling, with the apex shifted farther outward toward the side and the black side panels slightly wider
- Looser sleeves, especially toward the wrists
- Shorter pant leg slits, with wider division-colored trim cornered at the top and attached differently
Other curious design variations included:
- The M-shaped lower yoke/upper body seams on Captain Picard’s and Worf’s jumpsuits
- Captain Picard’s baggier sleeves
- Ensign Gomez’ and Ensign Clancy’s absurdly deep yokes
- The “season two weird front” seen on Lieutenant Robinson, and Ensign Gomez’ first uniform
Despite the logistical restrictions imposed by the show’s producers, Durinda Rice Wood still managed to imbue the show – and in this case, specifically the TNG jumpsuits – with her considerable creativity.
She redesigned almost every aspect of the TNG jumpsuits, putting her own creative “spin” on Theiss’ original design while also introducing a couple entirely new uniforms into the TNG-era uniform family – not to mention establishing other iconic new costume aesthetics for Counselor Troi, Guinan, the Borg, the Pakled, and more.
Wood received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series, although (curiously, like her predecessor the year before) this wasn’t for her work in the 24th century, but rather specifically for a holodeck-centered episode – “Elementary, Dear Data” in this case.
Nevertheless, like many other creative forces behind early TNG, she wouldn’t return for the following season.
As quoted in Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier, Wood said, “I was there for a year, but I think I got disappointed. We came up with incredible stuff, but very often you really only saw it from the neck up. I thought there was a lot of work going on that didn’t get seen. So I went back to features.”
After Wood’s departure, several of her costume designs would continue to be prominently seen throughout the remainder of the show, and the subsequent spinoffs.
But for The Next Generation’s third season, yet another costume designer would be tasked with dressing the 24th century – and in this case, adapting the TNG jumpsuits.