For his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, self-described techno-geek Hussein Chalayan, the designer who brought us dresses adorned with laser beams in 2008 and furniture which transformed into clothing in 2009, created a ‘chameleon’ dress; a garment which, with a wrench at its neckline, transformed from a short cocktail dress into a full-length evening gown.
Imagine a wardrobe full of these clothes, full of dresses that could change depending on the occasion, or even the weather. Designer Marielle Leenders has created a fabric that adapts to the temperature, including long sleeves that roll up in warm weather.
Imagine if one of these maxi dresses available at Very.co.uk could, with just a sharp tug, be transformed into something completely different. You’d barely need to think about packing for a beach holiday: a skimpy cover-up could cascade into a longer, more restaurant-ready dress. Think of the ease with which you could skip from the office to a party: a work-appropriate shift could hitch itself up into a thigh-skimming party dress.
Of course, there is a lot of technology and science behind these shape-shifting garments. Chalayan’s 2006 collection, ‘One Hundred Eleven’, produced a similar effect to that of his more recent ‘chameleon’ dress.
The 2006 collection was inspired by 111 years of fashion and he enlisted the help of technology in transforming 50s ball gowns into 60s sheaths and even a dress that disappeared entirely into the model’s hat. These dresses were moved electronically by motors, which were concealed in pads on the models’ bottoms. The motors were attached to wires, which ran through tubes sewn into the corsets of the dresses.
These kinds of techno-fabrics seem futuristic even in this day and age, and would almost definitely be too expensive to be reproduced on the high street within the next couple of seasons. However, with high-fashion designers such as Chalayan advocating such a fusion of technology and fashion, it can only be a matter of time before he strikes upon something that isn’t just frivolity, or a science-infused statement piece, but something which the high street can embrace and reproduce on a much larger scale…