FUTURE APPEARANCE LAB
Lab Author: Ghazal Zamani
POST_001: SILK AND CEMENT
What happens when we steal the forms of hardened worlds (stone and cement architecture) and place them in the domain of soft worlds (silk cloth and fashion)? What happens when we take something meant for survival (the dwelling) and place it in the realm of luxury (the decorative object)?
Artist: Viktoria Al. Lytra, 2018
Example: "Form Follows Fashion"
The fairytale was always a space for experimental fashion, but what happens when we take these hyper-visual genres of the wonderland and the legend and plunge them into a futurist prism? Do we arrive at a new appearance of the magical creature?
Image: Tim Walker, "Wonderland" 2010
It defies history itself, this reflective metallic visor in the desert regions of sand and intense heat. It blocks and casts the light of scorching suns back outward; it exiles the hostile materiality of this place in a reciprocal combat at the equator.
Example: Afrofuturist fashion fuses science fiction, fantasy, and tribal cosmologies in order to project an alternative racial destiny of forms. Image: Julia Noni, Ajak Deng for Obsession Magazine, 2012
POST_003: MOOD SILHOUETTE
Will future fashion begin emulating the vague nature of human moods? What would it mean to actually wear the turbulence within as a bodily costume?
Example/Image: Designer Violet Zhou sews affective states--angry, weighed-down, wounded, sinking, numb, emerging--into her collection of silhouettes titled "Within"(2019)
POST_005: FUTURE SEDUCTION
There is a parallel between classical and futuristic figures of seduction: the robot is also a cosmetic force, wearing a made-up look of gentle invitation in order to entice others towards an attractive world of desire.
Artist: WETA Workshop (designer), Ghost in the Shell (film), 2017.
POST_007: THE DIVA/SHAMAN
What will happen in coming ages to the elaborate headdresses of older tribes worn by chieftains, healers, and shamans? What does it mean to turn these items connected to power and animality into the fashion of futuristic opera?
Will the extreme paleness of the alien, vampire, or ghost (always a forbidden desire in the old world) become a dominant model of beauty in the future? A vanishing into pure light itself.
Image: Tilda Swinton, W Magazine, (photographer: Tim Walker, 2013).
POST_008: THE ENVELOPED
Is the obsession of fashion with states of enfolding and enveloping a symbol of the future's own engulfing quality? Are we being encircled, blanketed, or submerged by the threads of an oncoming time?
Image: Alvaro Beamud Cortes, Vogue Arabia, 2019
POST_009: WHAT THE NO-ONE WEARS
The hood has always been an accessory of the sacred world of humility (priests, monks, beggars) or of the dangerous world of those who choose anonymity and concealment for violent reasons (the bandit, the rogue, the assassin). Is the future leaning towards our becoming these someones who are actually no-ones? Will we form an entire hooded universe that shields the face from ever being seen?
Artist: Fashion designers Damascus Apparel, named for an ancient city in the midst of civil war, portrays futuristic strangers in hoods and cloaks.
POST_012: THE MELTING OUTSIDE
Future Fashion will increasingly imitate the ecological transformations happening in our era (melting glaciers, air pollution, geological erosion, rising sea levels, earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis), turning us into emblems of the potential extinction of our race. This does not even include the unnatural, technological forms of disappearance that might wait in store for our species (nuclear disaster, manufactured viruses). What does it mean that we can consciously design symbolic visions and costumes representing the end, but not intervene to stop its progression?
Example: Fashion designers manifest the impact of global warming visible in their new clothing lines. https://www.yatzer.com/global-warming-effect-art-design-because-world-melting
Image: ''Crystallization'' one of a kind dress by Iris Van Herpen. (2013)
Iris Van Herpen’s collaboration with Nick Knight and Daphne Guinness.
POST_010: GENERATIONAL FUSIONS
Futurism includes the philosophical idea that perhaps we are born at the wrong time. It is therefore never clear to which generation we should have belonged, and which era might have served one's ideal destiny in the world. This allows future fashion to inhabit time-loops, cross-epochal styles, and generational hybrids of appearance.
Image Example: Model Albina Zavtur (Milan, Italy, 2021) combines futuristic space helmet with Victorian fashion and medieval peasant symbolism.
If the future will be consumed by violent uprisings and cataclysmic events, then perhaps fashion will begin to emulate the old techniques of war-camouflage: to dress as and thereby blend into natural forms (trees, desert, darkness) in order to avoid danger. Will we adorn ourselves with the look of inanimate things in order to sneak, elude, invade, or trample with greater efficiency?
POST_013: THE FOREVER LOOK
In light of our epoch's obsession with speed, we might assume that future fashion would lean toward the instantaneous (i.e. the ability to switch appearances in a split second). But what if our concurrent desire for extreme transformation means that our design processes will take longer and longer. Will our visual looks become so elaborate that they require excruciating stretches of time?
Example: For the film Dune (2021), actor Stellan Skarsgard sat nearly 100 hours in makeup sessions in order to perfect the look of the villain.
Image: Dune (2021)
POST_015: ANDROID ENVY
Envy and emulation have always been a part of fashion. We often aspire to resemble those of higher status, and imitate supposedly superior beings in our midst. But what if the android suddenly forms its own new aristocracy or is considered a higher evolutionary being? Would humans begin projecting envy onto the wires, plates, and metallic sheets that form the robotic body?
Example: Blog devotes itself to the phenomenon of "android chic" fashion.
Image: Yuima Nakazoto (Fashion Designer)
Site: YUIMA NAKAZATO
POST_014: WEAPONIZED FACE
The apparatus has always been tied to the world of fashion, even those of lethal dimensions. What if we cast ourselves in weaponries that could shoot our emotional states as violent trajectories into the world? The final triumph of the device: affixed to the skin as an instrument of extraction and projection.
Example: Taiwanese artist Yi-Fei Chen constructs brass gun that freezes her tears and fires them back as solid bullets at those who make one cry.
POST_016: ENDLESS STORM
What is the role of art, design, and fashion in adjusting their creative production toward the most drastic potential outcomes? Is it the responsibility of these imaginative spheres to also prepare us for oncoming ages of storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods?
Example: Designer Ann Van Galen envisions a future fashion based on translucent plastics to accommodate a "world with endless rainfall."
POST_017: SALT CRYSTAL DRESS
Immersion of fabrics for prolonged times seems like a strange gesture for an age obsessed with the shortening of time-spans (accelerated existence). Like the aging of wines, liquors, obsolete technologies or other luxury/vintage items, will fashion also be plunged into stasis and then resurrected with all the debris of passing eras.
Example: Fashion designer submerges dress in the Dead Sea for extended periods, only for them to emerge with salt crystals attached.
Image: Salt Crystal Bride Gown III, 2014. Sigalit Landau & Marlborough Contemporary.
The "weird" has been explored within literature, film, and visual art, but what does it mean in the multiverses of fashion? Is it the sewing of holes where they do not belong, or the reversal of garments to be worn inside-out, or the disproportionate elongation of sleeves and heels to the point of the absurd? The weird here is already something distinct here because it is not something discovered or defined but rather something coated onto the skin, something that envelops and enfolds at the most intimate level of that literal physical border between self and world.
Example/Image: “THE LADY WARRIOR. Jakarta Fashion Week, 2016. By Rinaldy A. Yunardi. Photographed by MyQ Richs.”
Link: (7) Pinterest
POST_018: FUTURE NAKEDNESS
How will the future--with its emphasis on prosthetics, assemblages, and hybrids--alter our conceptualizations of nakedness? Since nudity was originally a concept linked to purity and totality, will new formulations of the nude body have to integrate complexities of the mixed and the partial?
Example: Japanese artist Shinichi Maruyama manipulates relations of time and motion to produce an image of a nude dancer generated from over 10,000 individual stills.
Link: Shinichi Maruyama
Image: Shinichi Maruyama, Nude 4 (2012)
POST_019: MARTIAL ANIMATION
What if ancient masters, craftsmen, performers, and artisans were commissioned to lend their traditional movements to a new timelapse-form of appearance? Could we design wearable pieces based on the frozen gestures of these elder figures of motion.
Example: Martial artists (Kung Fu) shown in 3D animation slow-motion arrangement.
Image: Tobias Gremmler, Kung Fu Motion Visualization
POST_021: THE BLANK ONES
Is she a butterfly or is she the void, or more exactly the chrysalis that houses no metamorphosis but rather a vanishing? These ultra-smooth beings deprived of expression, and encased in the empty space of wires or cylinders leading nowhere... are they emissaries from a future in which no becomings are allowed? Only blank dominoes.
Example: Designer Sheguang Hu creates "world of emptiness" in China Fashion Week 2014.
What color is the future? If a famed secret society of the twentieth century asked its philosophical members one evening "What color is the sacred?" then we can ask this same descriptive thing of the future. While countless futuristic films depict the next eras as either coated in sanitized white buildings and sterile white clothes (utopia) or suspended in permanent midnight (dystopia), there are other genres where the future is linked to fluorescent and neon color schemes of artificially-lit cities (e.g. cyberpunk). Color therefore faces a crucial threshold--either to be radically intensified or drowned out for all time.
Example: Moroccan-Belgian Photographer Mous Lamrabat juxtaposes classical fashion against strange natural backdrops or cultures of luxury.
Image: Mous Lamrabat, "Mousganistan" (2019)
POST_022: DARK DANCE
Fashion and dance share some aspects of common orchestration: both are tied to movement flows and to the visual zones of perception. But what if we take a disturbing dance phenomenon--one that emerges in the aftermath of a nuclear bomb experience to showcase pale bodies writhing, twitching, scratching, shivering, and staring at their own limbs in awkward, excruciating disbelief? What if fashion followed this catastrophic return to the zero degree where we find ourselves rising from the primordial waters to behold our own bodies and movements in a state of terrified awe?
Example: Article explores rare connection between recent fashion items and the avant-garde Japanese dance tradition of Butoh.
Image: TOP PRADA NECKWARMER AND PANTS GIVENCHY RINGS KARMUEL YOUNG
POST_024: NOCTURNAL FACES
To wear sunglasses at night or in closed quarters was always the domain of the incognito figure (the celebrity, the thief, or the spy). But now they are protective against neon and fluorescent lights, but also a fashion statement that things are upside down or that "necessity" and "practicality" are no longer the prime laws by which our exteriors abide. Now we coat ourselves in useless accessories and absurd items. Or do the sunglasses reflect something about a rising desire for secrecy in our age (to
Example: X-Presion Producciones showcases futuristic portraits that capture transmogrifications of the face.
POST_025: SPINAL GOGGLES
For thousands of years, various cultures and civilizations have adorned themselves with the furs, pelts, skins, and other features of the animal. They have stolen their physiological patterns (leopard prints, tortoise shell glasses, peacock feather hats). Thus, how will the accelerative tendencies of our time propel these practices forward, leading to new methods of animate-inanimate replication? What does it mean to forge nautilus goggles in the shape of an armadillo's spine?
POST_028: COMING SOON
Fashion has always experimented with varying elevations, angles, and geometries. Abnormal height was attained through the invention of the high heel; abnormal diminution and miniaturization was attained through the cruel cultural practice of footbinding. But now we stare into the odd fashion of the stiltwalkers, who conceal their prosthetic beam legs (wood or spring or metal) in illuminated, descending circles.
Example: Theater companies like Artrageous allow rental of stiltwalkers for private events.
POST_027: COMING SOON