Fashion Arts @the MFA: #Techstyle show is powerful!  A review by Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco, Chair seARTS Cape Ann, Celebrate Wearable Art

The MFA has curated a mind-expanding, exhibit, #Techstyle that presents Boston’s fashion sensibilities in a new way, separate and distinct from neighboring fashion centers. #Techstyle is smart, futuristic, fun, and fully capitalizes on the local economic pillars – technology, textile industry inheritance, academia, and the brightest engineering and innovative minds in the world. And out of all this, beauty and elegance emerge in new ways. Attendees at opening night also embraced #Techstyle their own way by wearing digital printed clothing and accessories, LED lit jewelry and tattoos, and the unforgettably elegant “bionic model,” dancer, designer, Viktoria Modesta whose unique fashion statement modeling her prosthesis was breathtaking!
A key to understanding the exhibit is to follow the curatorial story. Technology and fashion interact in different ways – not always apparent. Part of the exhibit is dedicated to traditional iconoclast designers like Alexander MacQueen, where his digitally-printed dress from Plato’s Atlantis collection (Spring/Summer 2010/2011) and Iris van Herpen’s 3-D printed dress (2013) produced in collaboration with MIT designer and assistant professor Neri Oxman. New work includes, special commissions created by CuteCircuit, Hussein Chalayan, Kate Goldsworthy, and Somerville-based Nervous System. There is also a performance angle to be explored in the exhibit and accompanying videos that show how work responds to the environment and how pieces of technology can inhabit what looks like a regular article of clothing. No doubt we will see many of these technologies find their way into our daily lives. It’s mentally challenging and visually pleasing at the same time.

My personal favorite, just the sheer elegance and lightness of the piece a fringed sliver
dress created by focusing a laser beam on a material which the beam melts, burns, or vaporizes away leaving a finished edge – an industrial technique working its way into fashion. The dress was designed by London based Designers Giles Deacon. According to the placard, “The look of a Swarovski crystal encrusted dress with the appearance of hard metal in reality is made of leather coated with silver pigment and laser-cut to form an intricate lace underskirt and collar with trailing fringe.”  Try that one on for size and many more a this inspiring, thought-provoking show! I can’t wait to return with another group from my Celebrate seARTS Wearable Art committee and fellow artists from Cape Ann. Show now open through July 10th. Hope to build a strong liaison with this talented group of curators at the MFA going forward!   And if you need more incentive….check out these reactions from seARTS members who attended the opening:

“It was a visual treat to see the show and the theater of fabulous outfits parading by. The show let us realize there is no limit to our imagination and the merging of possibilities with art and science was so exhilarating.” [Eileen Mueller, painter, designer for CWA III, Rockport, MA Member -Montserrat College of Art, Boston Museum School, Decordova Museum School]

“Here’s to the geniuses behind every clever beguiling look at MFA’s #techstyle. Thank you for challenging our fashion sensibilities with your interpretations of techno edge environmental design. Congratulations to all “the makers” and to the MFA for making it possible.” [Kristine Fisher, Executive Director, Marblehead Arts Association; Board of Advisors, Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Cape Ann]

“Such a perfect way to melt together the technological innovations thriving in this area with creative fashion design – I am so inspired! It’s a whole new world for young people in design school now. Clothes of the future will be taking on a new definition to “functionality” combined with creative aesthetics! Fashion engineer is a new frontier!” [Brenda Wong Murphy, designer, RISD graduate, Hughes-Bosca SideStreet Gallery Gloucester]

“It was awesome to attend the opening of “techstyle” at Boston’s iconic MFA last night! Kudos to everyone involved, it was amazing, fabulous and completely captivating; an eye-opening immersive experience in the cutting edge blending of contemporary technology with fashion design.” [Beth Williams, Glass Jewelry & Beadmaking, Beth Williams Studio member of Cape Ann Artisans]