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The Year In Lists: Most Futuristic Fashions 2011

What did you enjoy this year? Here are our top picks.
December 14, 2011, 7:10pm

As another year comes to a close, it’s time to look back with a wistful gaze and reminisce about all that 2011 had to offer. It’s fair to say it’s been bountiful, with a smorgasbord of delights coming at us from galleries, computer screens, installations, and catwalks encompassing all sorts of styles across a whole range of disciplines. To honour our faves we’ll be rolling out a list a day all week.


Today is Most Futuristic Fashions, followed by Best Interactive Installations (Thurs), and Best Kinect Hacks (Fri). If you want to check out Best Animation/Motion Graphics go here and go here for Best Music Videos.

In addition to our curated picks, we want to hear your suggestions too, which you can do via the comments section below, or hit us up on Facebook, Twitter or email: We’ll take your recommendations into account and each category will call out a special “People’s Choice” winner based on the most-recommended work.

Most Futuristic Fashions

Fashion’s constantly evolving and technology’s playing an increasing part in expediting that process and propelling it into the future. These days, wearable tech doesn’t have to mean you have to end up looking like a cyborg—not when designers use bespoke technology to create elegant garments, or experiment with new materials and production methods like 3D printing to make fashion more sustainable, or designs that were previously impossible to execute. So here’s our selection of some of the pioneers striving to unite fashion and technology while keeping things stylish.

Iris van Herpen‘s Sculptural Designs READER’S CHOICE

Mixing old and new, hand stitching and rapid prototyping, van Herpen’s designs are exceptional. With their seductive curved lines, Medusian snakes and cyber-baroque stylings, they look like outfits from a place and time the world has yet to catch up with. Not only are the designs incredible, so are van Herpen’s production methods, bringing high-tech to the craft of haute couture.

Mary Huang

Outsourcing the design process to you, the wearer, Mary Huang’s deconstructed black dress D.dress gets individually customized in what she calls "computational couture." Users can get creative by using bespoke software to draw a dress using the triangulation method. The pattern then gets turned into a 3D model, which becomes a flat pattern that can be drawn onto some fabric and cut out, then assembled into a one-of-a-kind garment. It’s updating custom fashion design for the digital age. Oh, and she’s also designed DIY iPhone gloves and LED dresses.

Rainbow Winters

From wearable petal dresses that have colour-changing ink that reacts to everything from sunlight to water to thunder, Winters makes playful designs with uncommon materials like holographic leather and electroluminescent panels. Her clothes have been worn by Lady Gaga and Alison Goldfrapp, but are affordable enough for your girlfriend to wear. Winters’ knack for combining cutting-edge style and scientific materials like hydrochromic and photochromic inks produces designs that are just as show-stopping on the runway as they are on the street.

Suzanne Lee’s Biotextiles

Suzanne Lee is the director of the BioCouture research project, which uses microbes to grow a textile biomaterial. As certain bacteria feed on sugar, they spin threads of cellulose and form a skin (think: your favorite Kombucha beverage), Lee extracts this “skin” and uses it as her fabric—either by molding it while it’s wet or drying and sewing it into a design. The best part is that it’s biodegradable, so when the style goes out of fashion (as styles inevitably do) you can toss it with a clear conscience—hell, you could even bury it in your garden.

Hussein Chalayan

His S/S 2012 presentation in Paris in September used tiny cameras embedded in champagne flutes to enhance how the clothes were presented, recording in real-time the inside of the models’ mouths as they sipped their drinks down the runway. He’s always used technology in his designs, from animatronic or pixelated LED dresses to the crystal laser dresses made in collaboration with Moritz Waldemeyer.