The celebrities at last night’s Met Gala red carpet weren’t half as cool as this
If the future looks anything like the Met Gala red carpet looked last night, it’s going to be boring, and rest too heavily on conventional tastes. The theme, Manus X Machina, should have inspired more outlandish and innovative designs, but celebrities and designers alike were inhibited by a deference to traditional beauty and a lack of imagination. Even Lady Gaga looked comparatively normal in a bedazzled body suit and jacket. The truth is, “the intersection of art and technology” is a bit of cliche in the creative industry. Too often, it serves as a placeholder for “the future”. But that interpretation ignores the realities we’re living in now, a present in which unmanned planes trawl the skies and surveillance technology is helping corporations and governments build robust databases of our facial maps. What does fashion look like when it takes into account our high-surveilled environments, or the facts of climate change? Here are some suggestions for our tech-challenged celeb colleagues:
\nStealth Wear “Anti-Drone” Burqa by Undisclosed LLC
This metal-plated garment shield against thermal surveillance used by military drones. The interior is lined with black silk and it comes with a thermally reflective visor while the silver-plated exterior is hand oxidized with a brush stroke camouflage pattern. The item will set you back $2,500, but this is drone protection we’re talking about. No amount of “fiber optic woven organza” in a Zac Posen gown (that would likely cost more than double) is going to protect you from that.
Screenshot from BBC video.
\nCamoflash, An Anti-Paparazzi Handbag by Adam Harvey
This project is the creation of Berlin artist and researcher Adam Harvey, who wanted to create a functional handbag that would also protect celebrities from the prying lenses of paparazzi cameras. This accessory—currently just a prototype—flashes a 12,000 lumen LED pulse when activated, effectively overexposing the camera’s sensor. Camera-shy celebs like Sia might find this high-tech clutch useful.
Photo by Mike Nicolaassen. Image via Wearable Solar's Tumblr Page.
\nWearable Solar by Pauline Van Dongen
Here’s fashion for a progressively warmer planet: Van Dongen’s beautiful wool and leather designs implement the use of solar cells, which, when exposed to the sun, produce enough electricity to charge your smartphone battery to 50 percent. There’s already a coat, dress and shirt in the collection (all prototypes), so pretty soon your entire wardrobe will be capable of generating sustainable energy.
\nAnti-Surveillance Makeup by Jillian Mayer
Mayer, who is an artist and filmmaker, diverges from the typical smokey eyes and winged eyeliners typically demonstrated on YouTube makeup tutorials and instead shows viewers how to make up their facse to evade cameras and facial recognition technology. Nothing about this is conventionally beautiful—and some Hollywood makeup artists might even be repulsed by it—but it will allow you to navigate the world undetected by computers, machines, robots and other facial recognition devices. And all you need is white eyeshadow, black lipstick, and a few other implements.
Otaared: A wearable, antler-like headgear that acts as a protective exoskeleton, inspired by Mercury’s erratic and volatile behavior.
\nBiomimetic 3D Printed Fashion by Neri Oxman
Neri Oxman’s biomimetic wearables would turn heads in any room. These flamboyant pieces are not only inspired by nature but actually mimic its functions. The capillaries that compose Al-Qamar, store and generate oxygen, with pockets for “algae-based purification” and “biofuel collection”. Lady Gaga could have really pulled off Otaared, a piece of protective headgear that is designed to contain calcifying bacteria, which, over time, would grow bone structures.