What’s a good way to shock the fashion world? Shock yourself with half a million volts of electricity and come away unscathed. And Dutch avant-garde designer Anouk Wipprecht did just that, protected by a new dress she created from plate metal, 600 rings of chainmail, and toy plasma balls as shoulder pads, paired with a spiky metal helmet.
Wipprecht latest debut was part of the annual MakerFaire that takes place in the Bay Area. Accompanied by ArcAttack, a band that makes music from singing Tesla coils, Wipprecht stood on stage like a chic space princess between two giant Tesla coils, which zapped her with half a million volts of raw electricity. Protected by the Faraday cage of her creation, she appeared to command bolts of lightning like a lady-Zeus. The fishbowl-like plasma balls on her shoulders dance with squiggles of purple light.
Electricity always finds the shortest path back down to the ground, so the dress shields its contents by conducting the volts through its metal coils and then directly through the floor instead of through Wipprecht’s body.
“Since we are all experts in what we do, it was no problem to create a dress like this–me as fashion tech designer playing with the boundaries of technology, and ArcAttack as leading inventors of these kind of circuits,” Wipprecht told the Daily Mail. But the models she usually works with proved too wary to be guinea pigs for the dress. Wipprecht stepped up herself. “I had to sacrifice my own body for science by standing in between the coils,” she said.
It’s not the first time that Wipprecht, who describes her work as “robotic couture,” has electrified fashion: her Intimacy dress becomes transparent when contacted with electrical currents; her Smoke dress veils its wearer by puffing out bursts of smoke; and the DareDroid 2.0 is a dress that makes fresh cocktails for its wearer.
And if you’re braver than the models who refused to wear her design and want to try your hand at making a DIY plate metal dress, Wipprecht has created an Instructables guide, called “How To Get Fashionably Struck By Lightning!” It details her design process and the science behind the garment’s shocking power (and doesn’t earnestly suggest you try this at home).
[h/t the Daily Mail]