Since When Did Christmas Trees Become Couture

STORY BY Jessica Elizabeth Pawlarczyk

Published: November 4, 2013

It sounds straight out of a science-fiction movie: Ying Gao, a designer from Montreal has managed to create two dresses that utilize eye-tracking technology, recognizing an admirer’s gaze. Each dress activates its minuscule motors that work to create wave-like movement on the special fabric. Once set off, the dresses continue to make flowing patterns that mimic jellyfish and DNA strands. 

Gao says her design was inspired by Paul Virilio’s essay titled “Esthétique de la disparition,” which translates to “The aesthetic of disappearance” in English.

In an interview with TIME, Goa said: “Virilio’s essay is about speed, light, and disappearance, so while creating these dresses, I must have unconsciously related to it as the movement of jellyfish.” 

“Whether it is a direct visual contact or through a camera, the artistic concept of gaze has always appealed to me,” she added.

The dress is made from a combination of three unique materials: glow-in-the-dark thread, structured plastic, and super-organza. Super-organza, the rarest material of the bunch, and is usually reserved for Europe’s most famous designers and costumes designed for the Paris Opera House. Organza is known for its extremely lightweight and its inclusion in Gao’s dresses helps keep them from being too heavy. Despite all of their robotic components the dresses weigh a mere half a pound making them sensible enough for everyday wear.

Gao added that her high-tech dresses will be exhibited this year at Montreal’s Centre de Design UQAM, Shanghai’s Power Station of Art, and Toronto’s Textile Museum of Canada.

You’ve got to see it to believe it-click here to see a short video that shows the dresses at work.


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