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      Coming Soon: Clothes That Disappear When You’re Horny

      February 21, 2014

      Photo courtesy of Daan Roosegaarde

      The fashion world can be pretty frustrating if you’re a futurist—synthetic fabrics aside, we’re still pretty much swaddling ourselves in dead animal skins and fur. Where are the dresses made of LEDs, the WiFi-enhanced onesies, the outfits you can pour onto your body a la that killer liquid robot in Terminator 2?

      Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is at least on the right track with his Intimacy line—these haute couture outfits are made of leather and smart opaque e-foils, and become more or less transparent in response to the wearer’s heartbeat. Put simply, these are items of clothing that become transparent when you get turned on.

      The Intimacy 2.0 dress, unveiled in 2012, drew lots of media attention, though it seemed more like “techno poetry,” as Daan has described his aesthetic, than something people would actually wear. But according to the designer, he’s sold at least some of the initial run of four dresses and has made others on commission at his studio in the Netherlands. (He won’t reveal how much these dresses cost.)

      When I contacted him to see whether he was going to create mass-market versions of his see-through clothes, he told me that Intimacy 3.0 was “in development with a high-end fashion brand” and wouldn’t say any more, but did talk about the dresses he’s made for a select, wealthy clientele.

      VICE: How did you get the initial idea for Intimacy?
      Daan Roosegaarde: [People in my studio] have always talked about technology as a second skin. One day, while I was standing in the shower, I sort of skipped the metaphor and thought we should do that literally. I traveled to a few electronics manufactureres, and at one of them I saw something lying in the corner, covered in dust, and I asked what it was. My guide told me, “It’s rubbish, all this fabric does is turn from white to transparent.” I bought it and started from there.

      How did it go from a piece of technology to a piece of fashion?
      I realized I had no idea how to design a dress, so I teamed up with young Dutch fashion designers to make different versions. We're currently talking to big fashion chains such as Louis Vuitton. But I don't really care how the dress looks; more important to me is how the whole mechanism works.

      What sort of people actually wear these dress?
      We made a version for a wealthy lady who lives in Los Angeles. She's married but has a secret lover. Basically, we made a dress that looks completely normal but recognizes the voice of her lover. When he says a particular set of words—which, by contract, I'm not allowed to repeat—the garment becomes transparent.

      We’re also designing a version of the dress for Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who’s a complete fashion freak. She said, “I’ll wear it, but you should also make a version for men.” That's why we started the Intimacy suit for men—it’s a perfect fit for the banking world, [because] it becomes transparent when they lie!

      How can the machine even tell the difference between someone who’s lying and a sincere person?
      You have indicators like sweat and heartbeats that slightly differ according to the wearer's feelings. We put a lot of sensors [into the clothes], you can measure a lot in that way. We develop our own software to fit it to any of our consumers.

      What other technological advances do you think could be useful in a fashion context?
      Look at Amazon: You buy a book online, it says, “Thanks for your order, and by the way, 28 of your friends have bought these books.” Recently, when I got to an airplane to go to Singapore, one of the stewardesses said, “Hey Mr. Roosegaarde, two sugars in your coffee?” She had no idea who I was, but she knew what I liked. When it’s the government saying, “You visited that particular square more than five times in a week,” we don't like that. It's an ethical discussion—we have to know what we want. But what happens if you connect this type of thinking with fashion? I'm still amazed that somehow, the fashion world seems to be quite immune to technology. It's only a question of time though.

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      Topics: Daan Roosegaarde, Intimacy 2.0, see-through clothes, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Futurism

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