For my part, I wanted to know a little bit more about the background and looked underneath the two dresses.
It turns out that a young smart guy from Germany, Moritz Waldemeyer is the technical wizard behind the fabulous creations from fashion oracle Hussein Cahalayan.
Moritz moved to London to study business administration but discovered robotics during an internship at Bosch. He switched to mechatronics and landed a research and development job at Philips where he worked for 3 years. ‘We did some things that were considered pretty crazy at the time,’ he says. ‘Like a bra for female athletes embedded with sensors to monitor their heart rate.’
Not that crazy anymore but available by Numetrex for example.
Waldemeyer says: ‘Mechatronics is simply a combination of mechanics and electronics’. ‘It’s a relatively new discipline, but almost everything we use nowadays — a washing machine, the electric windows in a car — is automated in one way or another.’
This special knowledge got him together one day in 2006 with Hussein Cahalayan and ended up building those famous Wearable Electronic Fashion dresses.
As a demonstration of changing shapes in fashion, Chalayan wanted to end his show last year in Paris with six dresses and two hats that would transform themselves electromechanically on the models along the catwalk in real time.
Confronted with that challenge, most engineers might say, ‘Get lost,’ but Waldemeyer devised the control electronics for a complex set of micromotors with tiny pulleys and nearly invisible cables.
At the Spring/Summer 2007 fashion show, the concluding group of Chalayan dresses and hats in the promenade spectacularly changed shapes; and for the finale, the ultimate hat magically raised the costume below like a curtain on threads and absorbed it, leaving the model naked.
In the second collaboration with Cahalayan for the Autumn/Winter 2007/8 collection, designer-engineer Waldemeyer produced dresses with full video capability: each is covered with 15,000 individually controllable LEDs, meaning the surface of the dresses can display video imagery.
Below a collection of photos from Mortiz’s Website on how the LED-Dress looks from underneath:
Those two dresses will be remembered as the first great works towards a Wearable Electronic Haute Couture, created by two great visionaries: Hussein Cahalayan and Moritz Waldemeyer.