10 (Literally) Bright, Shiny, and Splashy Pieces from #Techstyle at the MFA

Your future closet looks mighty inspiring.

Image of Mary Katrantzou's "Expandit" dress Erik Madigan Heck (American, born 1983) 2012 British Photograph *Erik Madigan Heck / Trunk Archive *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Mary Katrantzou’s ‘Expandit’ dress. / Erik Madigan Heck/Trunk Archive courtesy of MFA Boston

More than 60 one-of-a-kind pieces appear in the MFA’s new exhibit, #techstyle, which looks at how artists and designers are using new technologies to present innovative ideas for the future of fashion. The exhibit has high impact and overloads the senses in the best way possible. Everywhere you turn, there’s fire, water, snakes, and spikes. Some fashions respond to their environment, and many are environmentally friendly.

With works commissioned and collected from around the world (and our backyard), #techstyle gives visitors a glimpse of what our closets might one day look like. The future, apparently, is literally bright. Check out some highlights below, and see the exhibit for yourself now through July 10.

The Spike
Viktoria Modesta

A segment from pop artist Viktoria Modesta’s music video “Prototype” is shown at one of the entries into #techstyle. “The Spike” is on view nearby. Due to an accident at birth, Modesta experienced lasting problems with her left leg and opted for amputation in 2007. Since then, she’s embraced her disability and uses art to shift people’s perceptions about amputation and prosthetics. Modesta attended the opening reception with Hugh Herr, MIT’s “bionic pioneer.”

A video posted by Yiqing Shao (@yiqingshao) on

MFA Dress

Commissioned by the MFA, this dress designed by London’s CuteCircuit really is gosh darn cute. Make selections on the adjacent tablet, and the dress is flooded with the pattern of your choice: hearts, stars, and so on. How? LEDs, my friends, 10,000 semiconducting microLEDs.

mfa #techstyle Anthozoa 3D Dress

Photo by Ronald Stoops courtesy of MFA Boston. / Closeup via Instagram @mfaboston

Anthozoa 3-D Cape and Skirt
Iris van Herpen and Neri Oxman

Van Herpen partnered with Oxman of MIT Media Lab to create this provocative piece, which was made with a Stratasys Connex 3-D printer. The nature-inspired design was shown on the Paris runway in January 2013.

"Air" Cape The Unseen Lauren Bowker (English, born 1985) British, 2014 Coated leather * THE UNSEEN 2015 AIR Collection. *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Photo courtesy of MFA Boston

The Bird

Leather jackets coated in reactive ink change color in response to touch, heat, light, air flow, and pressure. THEUNSEEN founder Lauren Bowker, a “material alchemist,” says “it’s about changing the way people see material and see product…We just want to show people data and the stuff going on around us that you don’t normally see.”

mfa #techstyle Water Splash Daphne Guinness

Image courtesy of Nick Knight/SHOWstudio.com and MFA Boston, dress photo via Instagram @CCYoun

Water Splash
Iris van Herpen

From a burning Phoenix to a cool splash of water—filmmaker Nick Knight and SHOWstudio staff used high-speed cameras to capture model Daphne Guinness being splashed with water. Then Van Herpen used the footage to make a solid dress out of plastic and acrylic spray that looks like a floating splash of water.

Raquel Zimmerman, wearing ensemble from Alexander McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis Collection, with snakes, 2010 Nick Knight OBE (born 1958, London, UK) British Photograph *Image Courtesy of Nick Knight and SHOWstudio.com *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Image courtesy of Nick Knight/SHOWstudio.com and MFA Boston

Plato’s Atlantis
Alexander McQueen

Above, Raquel Zimmerman wears an ensemble from Alexander McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis collection in 2010. Yes, those are snakes. Footage from the original runway show—where Lady Gaga’s single “Bad Romance” also premiered—is shown in #techstyle too. Sing it with me: Ga, ga, ooh la la…

3-D Steam Stretch
Issey Miyake

If McQueen’s iconic animalistic heels above make your feet hurt just looking at them, let designer Issey Miyake calm your nerves. His origami-like pieces are a joy to see fold, unfold, and fold again. In #techstyle, check out his 3-D Steam Stretch at work and other flat-to-fab fashions.

Kinematics 8
Nervous System

Somerville-based Nervous System has a 3-D-printed dress inspired by petals on view at the MFA. The design is created from a body scan and can be customized using an online app. The “Kinematics” dress is not the only notable fashion endeavor for Nervous System. The team has also been working with New Balance on 3-D-printed shoes.

Bodysuit from Hard Copy collection Noa Raviv (born 1987) Israeli, 2014 Silk, polyester, tulle, cotton, beads, and 3D printed elements *Work by Noa Raviv *Garments by Noa Raviv, photos by Ron Kedmi *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Photo by Ron Kedmi courtesy of MFA Boston

Noa Raviv

Raviv came up with the idea for this design while still a student at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv, entering commands the computer could not compute. She then re-created those patterns for “Bodysuit” using traditional techniques, laser cutting, and 3D printing.

A photo posted by @ibulkeley on

Ying Gao

Feeling prickly? There’s much more to this ensemble than what meets the eye. The pins on the outfit move when triggered by nearby sounds. The piece will be “turned on” every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.


#Techstyle, March 6-July 10, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org.