Interview: Gersha Phillips Talks Designing Section 31 Cool And Klingon Casual On ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Gersha Phillips at the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 red carpet premiere

Star Trek: Discovery stars and producers walked the red carpet on Thursday night in New York to celebrate the premiere of season two, and we’ve got a few more interviews coming your way.

We spoke with Gersha Phillips, who was recently nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award in the category of  Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television for Star Trek: Discovery, and asked her about the new season–including her designs for Section 31.

Does Section 31 have a distinctive uniform?

Phillips: We do a couple of uniforms for some security guards and some other beats, I can’t remember exactly. I think we did a medical officer of some sort. But basically we just extrapolated from our Starfleet look, and brought it over and sort of gave it a black persona and adapted it to our Section 31 characters. So that’s the uniform look. But a lot of the characters in Section 31 are wearing individual clothing. They just wear, I guess, Section 31 streetwear (laughs) as opposed to wearing a particular uniform. So it’s really cool.

Some of the Section 31 pieces are some of my favorite things in the series, I just love them. And I think – we buy some things, we make some things, we augment some things, we sort of do a lot of everything to them and I think they turned out really great. A lot of directors—or not ALL the directors, because obviously you have to have a certain like for that type of world, but some of them have said that those are some of their favorite clothes as well, so I think it’s really cool. And everybody’s always saying, “What is that? Where did we get that? Where do we get that from?” so it’s cool.

Are you involved with some of the new shows that are coming as well?

Phillips: Not so far! I have said that now that Section 31 with Michelle Yeoh is a real thing that I’m definitely very interested in that. Both Alex and Michelle are aware of my desires to do that, so hopefully that’ll come to fruition.

Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou in Section 31 “streetwear”

(Asked by another interviewer) Do you have a favorite piece that you worked on this season that we should look out for?

Phillips: Yes … it’s like a duo thing, and it starts in episode 10, and ends up—the best part of it for me is in episode 13-14.

(Asked by another interviewer) Can you tell us who wears it?

Phillips: No. (big laugh)

Will we know it when we see it?

Phillips: Oh yes you will. You will. You’ll be like, ‘Oh THAT’S what she’s talking about.’ Yeah, no it’s really great, it’s a favorite of mine. I think we really knocked that one out of the park so I’m super excited for people to see it. And hopefully—I’m pretty sure it didn’t fall apart too much on camera.

What’s been the hardest thing for you to do this season?

Phillips: That costume I’m talking about is definitely the hardest. Also, I’d say that all the Klingons because it was really tricky coming up with Klingons that were not armored. And still trying to keep the Klingon feel and the power of Klingons but de-armor them. First, they said fabrics in the script and I was like “No.” (laughs) I don’t think it can be fabrics, I think it needs to still be leather. So we used a lot of leather but just reworked it in many cool different ways. So it’s been really great.

Klingons at peace means a whole new look

Anson Mount drive-by

Just as she was wrapping up, Anson Mount zoomed in to give her a quick kiss on the cheek before heading to the screening, showing once more that this team has taken the “Star Trek family” tradition to heart.

Anson Mount and Gersha Phillips at the red carpet Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premiere

Anson Mount stops by for a quick hello

More from the season 2 premiere

There is more to come from our red carpet coverage of the season 2 premiere in NYC.

Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else. The second season debuted on All Access and Space on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, and on Netflix January 18, 2019.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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Love her work. I knew Bob Blackman and spent time in his costume dept. and on set during the voy/DS9 and TNG film era. I thought that was as good as it could get and was amazed at the level of work. Gersha takes it to a whole new level of awesomeness. Can’t wait to see what she’s done for this season!

I’d love to see the video of your quick interview with her. She looks like she’d be fun to talk to…laughter and a ready smile are a hlmark of people who are confident and comfortable sharing their work, and the costume choices on Discovery have been VERY brave choices. Well done Ms. Phillips!

Yeah, every interview I’ve seen with her, she looks like she’s genuinely having the time of her life.

Really like her costumes. She seems to be enjoying her work. Would probably prefer more traditional Trek stuff myself, but these designs fit this series.

On Georgiou’s belt, the buckle, that’s the emblem for House Mo’kai.

Yep, the original picture in the article was actually of her Klingon disguise (seen in the trailers). I swapped it out since that’s not what was intended to be shown.

I always found it found they chose to use “Mo’Kai” which was only ever used on a Holodeck simulation used by the Hirogen aboard Voyager. A nice little easter egg, I suppose!

I like her designs. Looking forward to new costumes.

Was it that difficult to reproduce the TOS designs. Really Gersha you had ONE job!

I’m going to lie down now and watch Monty Python. For those of you not in the know Monty Python by the way is supposed to be funny.

i love Michelle’s space cowboy boots

Star Trek has fallen so low.