Fashion is facing up to a tough economy by going back to the space age for inspiration, featuring helmets, Star Trek-style padded shoulders, and metallic leggings. "It's an android crossed with a biker," says Glamour's Susan Cernek.

According to an article in the Metro, the fashionistas feel that women need to be transformed into space warriors to deal with the challenging economic situation:

There were even a few Stormtrooper helmets on the runways for fall collections. Clearly, the intention was to send a focused, futuristic warrior to do battle with the economy.

"This isn't the naive kind of '60s futuristic stuff you might think of," said Susan Cernek, senior fashion editor of "This is more robotic. It's tougher. It's an android crossed with a biker."

Francisco Costa, creative director for Calvin Klein's womenswear collection, prefers to call the vibe "modernist," but he says he sees the space-age connection. "The house gives a sense of strength from structure, and that is actually nature-driven, and space is definitely a part of nature."

For the fall collection, Costa used an asymmetrical crescent hemline to soften aggressive laser cuts, and he played with fashion's equivalent of puzzle pieces that had the effect of mimicking the plates of Earth.

Cernek noted a toggling between the vast galaxy and the core of this planet as inspiration in many collections. They're opposite in some ways, she says, but similar in others: "We're looking for the light at the end of the tunnel."

I like the idea of toggling between the core of the planet and the edge of the galaxy. Can I get that toggle switch installed now, please? (Preferably with heat shields and artificial gravity and stuff.) But the new space-ageyness of fashion isn't just to do with fears about the economy. Apparently, cutting edge new fabrics make more science-fiction-looking garments possible:

Italo Zucchelli, the menswear designer at Calvin Klein, says that much of the modernity of his fall collection came from a new stiff, repellent fabric that bonded foam with traditional textiles. It probably wasn't possible to do five years ago, and, even if it was, it wouldn't have been right for the times, he says.

Foam is the new fashion look of 2010. You heard it hear first: Foam!

Images from AP, Getty Images and The Number 4 Blog.