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Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Two things you’ll find at a VR fashion show: skin-suit models, unreal clothes

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Two things you’ll find at a VR fashion show: skin-suit models, unreal clothes

Let’s make one thing clear off the top: You cannot show up to work in virtual clothing. Do not try this for work and come back telling us what happened. You were warned.

With that said, here is a holographic fashion show created by the Dutch artists Pinar&Viola for a virtual fashion line:

Yes, this is real. Well, it’s virtual, sure, but it’s also real in the sense that it happened. It all gets confusing really quickly.

“Inspired by Magic Leap and how we’ll experience real-life VR in the future,” the artists write, “we showcased the virtual clothing line on a real model.” Mouths and eyes and even dresses were projected onto the model, changing her form or at least the appearance thereof. At one point, she faces a projected dress, naked. It mirrors her movements. When she bows, the dress bows; when she straightens her back, it does too. “What I am interested in is the body, and the way it moves through material,” designer Amber Slootern, who collaborated on the project, told The Creators Project. “Whether it is a virtual fabric, flames, hair or other virtual entities does not matter to me.”

“the body, and the way it moves through material”
Image credit: Team Peter Stigter, via The Creator's Project
Image credit: Team Peter Stigter, via The Creator’s Project

This is a fair point to make about fashion. We are, in a sense, just avatars, getting dressed up and putting on identities on a daily basis. It normally feels less dramatic—and rightfully so—but the underlying mechanics are still similar. The question, then, becomes whether fashion shows ought to reflect this dynamic. They are all performances in a sense; a runway show normally visualizes how the clothes look in their idealized form as opposed to how they’ll look when you wear them. (Though, for the record, you are a beautiful person, dear reader.) It is only really a small step from that form of performance to a fashion show that embraces that the entire thing is just a virtual reality. Slootern and Pinar&Viola took that step.

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