If The Shoe Fits…

Melissa Coleman, Joachim Rotteveel, Leonie Smelt, Holy Dress, 2012, gold-plated metal dress, commercial lie detector, shocktraining collar for dogs, LED lights, fabric dress, custom electronics, video (Courtesy of Melissa Coleman, Leonie Smelt, Joachim Rotteveel. Photo by Sanja Marusik).


Franklin W. Liu

It is said that every age has its own fashion expression, in pleasure, in wit and in manners. Tuft’s cutting-edge exhibition, “Coded_Couture” shows fashion design as the impetus for a digital Magical Mystery Tour that boldly transgresses the traditional boundary of couturier.

This couture-collection explores the stylish language of personal adornment, albeit shaped by an imaginative cybertechnology theme, reflecting on the social impact of the interactive, smartphone-toting, dynamic social-networking world we wake up to each day.

In this cyber-transformed world, what if we felt a sudden urge for flirtation and a tingling surge of desire for another person whom we had just met? But, we were reluctant to express that romantic attraction. Then, suppose that placed in direct contact with our skin are tiny electrical nodes directly measuring a miniscule rise in body temperature, triggering a corresponding signal relayed throughout the garment we wear, overriding our shyness to suppress those lustful thoughts?

This unique bodice-ensemble is, in essence, a wearable bio-indicator, an ethical whistle-blower on our true emotions. This provocative sentry and the dilemma created are precisely what intrigues artist/designer Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman in offering “BioWear,” 2015, composed of leather, feather and electronic components.

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