by Dora Haller
A sweater that checks your mood, lace made of strawberry roots or a dress that uses wood as textiles: the third edition of the Futurotextiles exhibition in Paris presents the intriguing alliance of textile innovation, high fashion and art.
The latest achievements of the constantly evolving textile industry often become the “muses” of fashion designers. Synthetic biology, a science which combines biology and engineering, for instance, gave way to the development of the lace made of strawberry roots fibers. We noticed at the Futurotextiles exhibition an undeniable desire from the designers to take inspiration from the natural world. They wish to bring nature closer to fashion by using amazing fibers such as the spider silk from Madagascar, five times stronger than steel and two times more elastic than nylon, or the Japanese ancestral fabric fujifu made from the fiber lying under the bark of the branch of the wisteria, which was notably used in designing kimonos.
Also tapping into the scientific benefits of nature are Donna Franklin and Gary Cass, whose Micro'be' red wine dress is made by allowing microbes to ferment and "grow" into fabric that on the surface, has an aesthetic very similar to the meat dress famously worn by Lady Gaga.
Designed especially for the Futurotextile exhibition was the half wooden, half textile dress created in collaboration by the French fashion designer Léa Peckre and the German textile designer Elisa Strozyk. A great example of the use of a traditional natural material in untraditional circumstances, the dress blurs the boundaries between 2D and 3D, the laser cut triangular wood pieces attached to a textile base forming in unpredicted ways. The origami-like dress calls out to all of our senses with its familiar wooden smell, a beautifully designed geometric look and a soft wooden surface that creates a surprisingly tactile experience.
“It is very challenging for a designer to work with materials that have not yet been used in the fashion industry,” says Peckre. “What this exhibition demonstrates so well is that the industry is heading to this direction; there is an increasing tendency to employ surprising elements in creating high-end products.”
Check out the video about Storzyk's creation of the wooden-textile material and catch the Futurotextiles exhibition through 14 July 2013 at Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris' Porte de la Villette.
Images from Futurotextiles and Bioalloy