Envision water hitting a solid object, droplets scattering in a dozen directions and light being reflecting from all angles. Iris van Herpen captured that moment, and shaped it into a dress. This was the beauty of “#techstyle.”
The Museum of Fine Arts put together an exhibit that anyone can admire, regardless of their knowledge of haute couture or engineering.
The exhibit was divided into three sections, each spotlighting a unique aspect of the intersection of fashion and technology.
Upon entering the darkened room of “Performance”, the music humming in the background placed the viewer in an eerie futuristic setting. The garments displayed drew viewers in with unconventional structures and fabrics.
Fashion is all about being cutting edge, whether it’s being more eco-friendly or ornamental, said museum visitor Ricky Phillips.
Hussein Chalayan’s shapeshifting “Possessed Dress” was a prime example. The dress made a statement about how clothes can change the way people perceive themselves. Chalayan used robotics and nanotechnology to change its shape and manipulate the model it was on.
This dress and the exhibit “Performance” took the human form, contorted it and stretched it as far as it could go. The exhibit reached an uncharted territory in the definition of clothing.
The garments showed “how the basis of human structure is just a column, that can have any sort of transformability,” said Xander Shaw, an exhibit visitor.
The next room was smaller, featuring designers whose names have long been revered in the fashion industry.
It is here that “#techstyle” presented its central piece, a dress from Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection “Plato Atlantis.”
The “Plato Atlantis” line envisioned a ominous dystopian future—humans being forced back into the ocean due to the tireless destruction of the environment, the melting of icecaps and the heedless churn of faceless factories. The garments in the line Increasingly morphed into marine and reptilian life as it reflected the progress of evolution.
The line showcased how apathy toward the environment will eventually result in people losing touch with their humanity.
Using 3D printing and intricate digital printing on fabrics, the focus on environmental awareness created a smooth transition into the final phase of the exhibit.
The pieces in “Production” used technology to pull forward the current state of fashion, into a future of 3D printed dresses and pollution-free textile dyes.
British designer Kate Goldsworthy united the focuses of environmentalism and technology. She used laser patterning and bonding on polyester to create the 100 percent recyclable dress, “Full Circle.”
The dress highlighted how society’s advancing technology and shifting cultural values can be integrated into our closets.
It is easy to forget that fashion is an art form, considering every person practices it every day. However, “#techstyle” can remind the viewer of what fashion is truly capable of.
The pieces in this exhibit used engineering to make statements in art—providing an insight into the future of fashion and technology.
“#techstyle” is available for viewing at the MFA until July 10.