When I think about high-tech fashion, I picture compression shorts and moisture-wick fabric in blinding neon. Functional, yes. But sexy? Nuh-uh. Here to try and prove wearable technology can be every bit as steamy as a peek of black lace is a forthcoming exhibit at quartier21 in Vienna.
TECHNOSENSUAL. where fashion meets technology will showcase dozens of garments equipped with electronics and other cutting-edge materials that “combine fashion and technology while expanding the possibilities of contemporary fashion design,” quartier21 says. That includes a dress that purports to increase intimacy between a wearer and those around her by using sensors to transform from opaque to ooh-la-la transparent; neck pieces that pump ink over absorbing fabric; and a slime suit whipped up in real time by Bart Hess, stylist for Lady Gaga.
The show is curated by Dutch fashion designer Anouk Wipprecht, herself no stranger to techie sexpot couture. Wipprecht worked on the aforementioned Intimacy dress and designed this cocktail dress, which actually dispenses cocktails while channeling the look of a slutty-nurse costume.
And therein lies a disappointment: For all the technological inventiveness on display here, the ideas are oddly conventional, imposing the same old “ahwooga hubba hubba” male fantasies onto clothes that try to expand the “possibilities of contemporary fashion design.” You’d sort of hope that electronic textiles and LEDs and, yeah, even slime would free designers to explore the traditional marriage of sex and fashion in a fresh manner. Instead, we get what we’ve had for decades: a whole lotta’ skin. Just because something is intimate, though, doesn’t mean it’s sexy. Look in stores. What’s more intimate, but less sexy, than high-tech fabric that soaks up sweat and cradles balls?