In Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's novel The Eve of the Future a fictionalised Thomas Edison figure creates via electricity, desire, photography, clairvoyance and magnetism an ideal woman. Called Hadaly, this electrical and magical being possesses a pair of lungs made with two golden phonographs through which metal sheets of recorded speech pass.
The dichotomy between the mechanical and the human body inspired Laura Theiss's Autumn/Winter 2016/17 collection.The collection includes crocheted and knitted interpretations of anatomical features and body parts borrowed from early automata and futuristic androids.
Hadaly's body was a sort of armour that called to mind the metallic body of Thomas Edison's talking dolls from the late 1890s, while more recent interpretations of futuristic beings include Ava, the android out of Alex Garland's dystopian sci-fi film Ex Machina, gifted with a flexible yet sensual body characterised by a semi-transparent texture.
Theiss looked at all these inspirations and at anatomy in general to create crocheted elements imitating the abstract shapes of human cells, and crocheted fractals directly inspired by the fractal properties of internal human organs, while she also transformed the structure of the DNA double helix into knitted cables.
The main collection palette was borrowed from skin tones and includes nude shades combined with shades of titanium, black and blue.
The same dichotomy characterises the choice of yarns for this collection that includes natural ones like soft wool, delicate cotton and luxurious cashmere, mixed with metallic elements. A coating of metallic foil on cardigans and dresses and metallic second skin-like mesh fractals reference the body of early automata.
The romantic and feminine side of the human and android body is explored via floral crocheted elements reworked with high-tech processes such as bonding. Designs combining different stitches and embroidered elements and techniques such as bonding, thermowelding, taping and embossing or integrating knitted cashmere bonded with other materials, cound be considered as representations of a body that can radically change via prosthetic parts.
Laura Theiss's A/W 2016-17 collection is journey through medical sciences, internal biological structures and functions, anatomy collections and future technologies, through her designs Theiss reminds us that, just like in science, there is no boundary in traditional arts like crocheting and knitting, and no limits to where fashion can take you.
written by Anna Battista
Photographer: Rama Lee
Styling and Creative Direction: My Name is Kabir
Model: Vick @Profile
Make-Up: Michelle Webb
Hair: Kiyoko Odo