Coded Couture exhibition in New York presents garments that detect lies and read tweets

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A new exhibition at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York showcases a range of futuristic fashion concepts, including a shrug that reveals when the wearer is distressed and a dress with integrated lie detectors (+ slideshow).

Coded Couture fashion exhibition at Pratt Institute in New York, USA
Rebecca Pailes-Friedman's Biowear shrug is on show at the exhibition. Photograph by Daniel Terna

The Coded Couture exhibition includes garments, jewellery and shoes fitted with technologies such as speech recognition sensors and heartbeat monitors, and created with methods ranging from 3D printing to hand-embroidery.

BioWear by Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, 2015. Photograph by Cody Miller, courtesy of the designer
The Biowear shrug has embedded heart monitors that cause feathers to ruffle when the wearer becomes distressed. Photograph by Cody Miller, courtesy of the designer

"Historically, the idea of customisation has always been at the heart of couture: the hand-beading, hand-stitching and other time consuming processes that reinforce the notion of the piece as a work of art with a specific connection to the owner," said curators Judy Fox and Ginger Duggan in a statement.



"Coding provides a new approach to and perspective on personalised fashion, essentially a new iteration of couture," they added.

Coding Non-Stop White Coat by Alison Tsai, 2013. Photograph by Paul Jung, courtesy of the designer
Alison Tsai used mathematical patterns to create her handmade Coding Non-Stop White Coat. Photograph by Paul Jung, courtesy of the designer

Many of the pieces in the show respond to physical actions. For instance, Rebecca Pailes-Friedman's Biowear shrug has embedded heart monitors that cause black chicken and coque feathers to ruffle when the wearer is anxious.

Coding Non-Stop Black Coat by Alison Tsai, 2013. Photograph by Paul Jung, courtesy of the designer
Alison Tsai is also presenting her Coding Non-Stop Black Coat. Photograph by Paul Jung, courtesy of the designer

Melissa Coleman's Holy Dress uses lie detectors and speech recognition sensors to monitor the truthfulness of the person wearing it, as well as those around them.

Holy Dress by Melissa Coleman, Leonie Smelt and Joachim Rotteveel, 2012. Photograph by Sanja Marusik
The Holy Dress uses lie detectors and speech recognition sensors to monitor the truthfulness of the person wearing the garment. Photograph by Sanja Marusik

The garment flickers during normal speech and produces a brighter, more sustained light when it picks up a falsehood.

Media Vintage: Charlie by Melissa Coleman, 2009. Photograph by David Joosten
Melissa Coleman's Media Vintage: Charlie features punchcards in the lining. Photograph by David Joosten

Other works in the show are created with the user or consumer, which the curators term "synergistic".

Material Compulsion by Marloes ten Bhömer, 2013. Photograph courtesy of the Stanley Picker Gallery
Marloes ten Bhömer's Material Compulsion, 2013, examines how high heels shape notions of female identity. Photograph courtesy of the Stanley Picker Gallery

The designers create a code or an interface that the end user manipulates to make something custom, like the 3D-printed miniature dresses based on a triangle pattern developed by Mary Huang.

A Measurable Factor Sets the Conditions of Its Operations by Marloes ten Bhömer, 2012-2015. Photograph by Ellie Laycock, courtesy of the Stanley Picker Gallery
Marloes ten Bhömer's A Measurable Factor sets the conditions of its operations, 2012-2015. Photograph by Ellie Laycock, courtesy of the Stanley Picker Gallery

Taking its cue from biology, Amy Congdon's handmade jewellery is based on ink-jet printed models of engineered tissue, to suggest how bracelets, ring, or necklaces could be grown from the body.

Back Piece from Biological Atelier SS 2082 ‘Extinct’ Collection by Amy Congdon, 2014. Photograph by Lorna Jane Newman, courtesy of the designer
In her Biological Atelier project, Amy Congdon explores how tissue engineering could be used to grow new biological textiles for the fashion industry. Photograph by Lorna Jane Newman, courtesy of the designer

Curator Judy Fox stressed that most of the works in the show are conceptual projections and not even close to prototype stage.

Back Piece from Biological Atelier AW 2082 ‘Bio Nouveau’ Collection by Amy Congdon, 2014. Photograph by Lorna Jane Newman, courtesy of the designer
Amy Congdon's Biological Atelier jewellery imagines the kind of fashion we might be wearing in years to come. Photograph by Lorna Jane Newman, courtesy of the designer

"This is really a peek into the minds of theses designers," she told Dezeen. "They're really working at the forefront creating concept garments."

iMiniskirts at AW 15 CuteCircuit RTW Fashion Show at NYFW by Cute Circuit. Photograph by Theodoros Chliapas, courtesy of CuteCircuit
CuteCircuit's iMiniskirts read tweets and display patterns on their surfaces. Photograph by Theodoros Chliapas, courtesy of CuteCircuit

One exception is the CuteCircuit iMiniskirt, which reads tweets and displays patterns on its surface, a version of which was worn by singer Nicole Scherzinger.

Incertitudes by Ying Gao, 2013. Photograph by Mathieu Fortin, courtesy of the designer
Ying Gao's Incertitudes kinetic garments react to sound. Photograph by Mathieu Fortin, courtesy of the designer

The Pratt Manhattan gallery is located in Greenwich Village outpost of the Pratt Institute, an art and design school based in Brooklyn. Coded Couture in on view through 30 April 2016.

No[Where] / Now [Here] by Ying Gao, 2013. Photograph by Dominique Lafond, courtesy of the designer
Ying Gao's No[Where] / Now [Here] dresses writhe around and light up when someone stares at them. Photograph by Dominique Lafond, courtesy of the designer
In May, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will open an exhibition on high-tech garments called Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology.

A similar show about how technology is changing fashion also recently opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

  • squarefetish

    After reading all these I just realised how I loved plain white t-shirt and good old jeans.