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Photos (L-R): Intel, Albert Sanchez, Gagapedia

High fashion goes high-tech

Although still in its embryonic stages, the concept of wearable technology is an exciting prospect. Despite the fact that my inner conspiracy theorist is still not entirely trusting of the wonders of such technological advances such as free Wi-Fi (it all seems to good to be true?), in what I’m christening as my very first ‘infotainment’ feature, I’m going to be diving head first into the depths of cyberspace and beyond to show you that the very best of cutting edge clothing and cosmetics is yet to come.

Bubble Dreams: Gaga for the Lady

In a change of direction from her usual attire of lingerie, haute couture, or even antipasti, it was pop icon Lady Gaga who first introduced me to the potential for the worlds of fashion and technology to collide and give birth to something altogether more revolutionary.

Never one to shy away from the unconventional, back in late summer of 2013, Gaga was photographed leaving Camden’s Roundhouse venue surrounded by a nebula of bright bursting bubbles. There were no devoted acolytes nor doting assistants blowing these bubbles, they were instead emanating from her very own dress. Titled ‘Anemone 2.0’, it was white, 3D printed construction by Studio XO which featured four distinct bubble factories designed to produce a fabulous flurry with every step. One might even say that the dress was designed to quite literally reinject the ‘pop’ back into pop culture.

Photo: Gagapedia

Photo: Gagapedia

 

The thrills of 3D printing

How frustrating is it when you dream up exactly the garment you need—yet the humble high street is unable to satiate your sartorial cravings? Fear no more, fellow fussy fashionistas, for 3D printing could be the answer to your prayers. A specialized substitute for the humble sewing machine, input your designs virtually and marvel as the 3D printer works its magic especially for you in a state of the art fusion of skills from the spheres of material science, mechanical assembly and three-dimensional design.

For the 3D printer, making the jump from tech offices (where they have been based since their conception in the 80s and 90s), to the catwalks of today is no mean feat. Designers across the globe are hidden away currently researching the best ways to make tech couture more articulated and sensuous.

Take the most expensive piece of 3D fashion to date, for example—a $100,000 dress designed with burlesque icon Dita Von Teese as its muse. The result of one hundred hours of skilled work, a total of 17 printed pieces of lasered nylon; three thousand articulated joints and 13,000 Swarovski crystals (my favourite ingredient) were all needed to ensure that this unique piece was both functional and form-fitting. Like its inspiration, the resulting dress really was a true reflection of fantasy.

Photo: Albert Sanchez

Photo: Albert Sanchez

 

Metamorphosis à la Mode: The Butterfly dress

In what could be thought of as the perfect blend between the worlds of haute couture and science fiction, the Çetin sisters this year presented a piece of well-orchestrated design that they hoped could change the world’s approach to fashion and technology. From the depths of the creative chaos of their combined minds, came the butterfly dress.

The dress itself is simple yet chic. Made from an elegant blend of luxury jacquard, interwoven with metallic lurex fibres and cerulean feathers, the 40 individual computer-powered butterflies adorned the collar of this piece to truly ensure that the wearer stands out from the crowd.

Thanks to an embedded proximity sensor (the Intel Edison chip), the otherwise secured and poised butterflies were primed to react to external stimuli. The closer an approaching person gets to the dress, the more fervently the butterflies are encouraged to flap their wings until—finally—in an otherworldly, avant-garde display, the butterflies release en masse into their immediate surroundings. The resulting effect is quite literally, fashion that flies in the face of anything ever seen before.

Here’s hoping that the Çetin sisters invest in a whole collection of a similar nature to ensure that this highly intelligent couture can become a staple for the more flamboyant fashionistas of the universe in the near future.

Photo: Intel

Photo: Intel

 

Bespoke Beauty: This time, it’s personal

In what is being hailed as a revolutionary crossover between the worlds of technology, cosmetics and forensics, beauty products can now be tailored to even the most individualistic of tastes through the miracles of 3D printing. Simply locate your desired colour on the Pantone colour chart and marvel as the modern machinery meticulously produces the matching pigment. The resulting colour can then be added to mixing mediums, producing nail paints, lipsticks, eye colours and eyeliners with the hopes that foundations and concealers will eventually follow. Although it is currently exclusive to the makeup mavens of the world, it is thought that in as little as one year from now, printers of a similar nature will be on sale to the general public.

 

A Most Macabre Moisturiser

If (as is the case for every human being to have ever lived) your face suffers from pigmentation, acne, an oily T-zone or even dull, dry patchiness, a Vampire Facial Cream could be your (un)holy grail. The magic ingredient? You guessed it—the client’s very own blood.

The elaborate production process involves a trained professional drawing two teaspoons of blood from the willing participant. A centrifuge (a piece of fancy laboratory equipment that a linguistics degree student is dangerously unqualified to use or even describe) then isolates platelets from the blood—a 10 minute process according to the experts. The platelets are then ‘activated’, spurring them to release 8 growth factors thought to be crucial to the healing of injured tissue.

While this process may sound like a scene from an episode of American Horror Story, thankfully, the white cream that contains the aforementioned blood is not a gore-toned red but a sparkling white due to the translucent nature of the platelets. Fellow Beauty School Dropouts rejoice.

The cream (once devoured by ‘bloodthirsty’ pores) promises to improve skin tone and texture, tighten problem areas and even plump the hollows of the face. At £950 a pot, you’d jolly well hope it was doing some good. Unfortunately, as this alleged miracle cream is way out of my price range (and at time of writing this I have yet to be granted a trial) the only guarantee I can offer to you is that this product will take a bite out of your bank balance.

 

Final thoughts

For much too long, when it comes to fashion and cosmetics, we’ve been living an analogue life in a digital world. All of this technologically tantalising tailoring and tincture won’t stop us from buying off the shelf just yet. For the foreseeable future, it seems to be the case that (unfortunately so) these products shall remain largely the possessions of the upper echelons due to their tremendous (yet justifiable) cost. So, on a closing note, while the pairing of technology and fashion is an exciting venture (a marriage of which we are nowhere near the apex) we are forced to remain comfortable, yet content with our current wardrobes and cosmetics. Vampire Facial, anyone?

Tags: 3D printing, beauty, bubble, butterfly, cosmetics, fashion, Feature, Lady Gaga, laser, Pantone, technology, vampire facial

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