Don’t even attempt to get the red wine out of this dress. The skintight garment is part of a line of “fermented fashion” derived entirely from the alcoholic beverage. Developed by a group of scientists at the University of Western Australia, the Microb’be’ project eschews “lifeless weaving machines” in favor of living microbes, according to Gary Cass, its lead researcher. The resulting material, which comprises microfibers of cellulose, feels like sludge when wet but dries to the consistency of cotton.
It’s been seven years in the making, but the world’s first “invisible” bike helmet is now available for purchase. The brainchild of two industrial designers from Sweden, the Hövding—Swedish for “chieftain”—is essentially a collar that deploys an airbag-like hood in case of an impact. Unlike regular hard-hat helmets, the Hövding is designed to be unobtrusive. But the device is more than an expression of vanity. “An invisible bicycle helmet is a symbol of the ‘impossible,’” say Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin. “If people say it’s impossible, we have to prove them wrong.
Leave it to the Chinese to take the phrase “saving face” to a whole new, literal level. The “Face-kini” is all the rage in Qingdao, where bathing beauties don the accessory as a chemical-free alternative to sunblock. Another plus? The ski-mask-like coverup also keeps insects and jellyfish, not to mention unwelcome company, at bay.
Who can forget the infamous meat dress that Lady Gaga donned to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards? Comprising slabs of tenderloin, strip steak, flank steak, and rump roast (about $100 worth of the cheaper cuts, notes one New York butcher), the “Poker Face” singer’s Atkins-approved getup skirt-steaked the question of taste, not to mention sanitation.
When Liverpool designer Rachel Freire featured a gown made from 3,000 protruding cow nipples at London Fashion Week in 2011, she raised the ire of the British public, politicians, and animal-rights groups alike. But Freire defended her work. “What I am doing is recycling,” she said. “The people criticizing are clearly clueless about the amount of leather wasted on a daily basis.”