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Future shock: fashion that’s light years ahead

Back in 1970, the American writer Alvin Toffler published his book Future Shock. The title suggested the confusion experienced by humankind at the premature arrival of, well . . . what lies ahead; the issues of having “too much change in too short a period of time”. Forty-eight years later, many may argue that we’re in another full-blown wave. Transatlantic politics are in varying, unsettling degrees of upheaval and transition; there’s more “unknown” in “the great unknown” than ever before. The mood has seeped into fashion, too, which is experiencing its own sort of turbulence regarding logistics, expectations and even relevance, yet has spurred some thought-provoking ideas. Get a jump-start in this brave new world with fashion designed for the next phase.

Pod cast

One of the late architect Zaha Hadid’s final projects, the 62-storey One Thousand Museum, in Miami, Florida, is a marvel of broad-minded daring. The building looks like an extraterrestrial pod, with fibre-glass-reinforced concrete, hurricane-grade glass and a slew of curvilinear common spaces. Units are from around $5m to more than $20m (the penthouse is POA), and developers say the property is attracting an unusually global mix for the Magic City. It’s a bit like buying a liveable piece of art. But in a fortress. 1000museum.com.

Space suits

Sies Marjan, designed by Sander Lak, has come to be known as a deeply personal house, lauded for its colour-play. For Spring, Lak did a solar-orange crinkled metallic jacket and trousers, akin in texture and tone to the sails used on satellites — like a haute spacesuit when combined. “I’ve been thinking a lot about the future,” says Lak. “I’ve lived all around the world, so what I’ve kept thinking about is grounding myself.” Sies Marjan orange jacket, £1,290, and trousers, £585, matchesfashion.com

On the run

You’ve perhaps heard of the “dad”, “chunky”, or even “ugly” sneaker trend; houses from Louis Vuitton to Vetements and Yeezy have put them on the market. APC’s, by Jean Touitou, are a sturdy but less visually aggressive option. When pressed for his view on what’s now, and next, Touitou elaborated by naming his favourite science-fiction movie: “[It’s] The Lobster, by Yorgos Lanthimos, because it tells the damn truth about today’s life. It is a very good illustration of a Herbert Marcuse concept called ‘repressive desublimation’, because in this movie, people are prisoners of the social rules.” There’s a little lobster bisque for thought. APC trainers, £225, available in April, apc.fr

Concrete proof

“The prosaic is treated as precious” is how Comme des Garçons describes its latest fragrance, dubbed Concrete, and there’s a certain prescience to its kick. Housed in a concrete canister, the scent is a combination of “shattered” sandalwood, artificial rose oxide and industrial synthetics. Smells like tomorrow. Concrete by Comme des Garçons, £115, doverstreetmarket.com

Airborne

The antidote to the chunky tennis shoe, Nike’s high-performance VaporMax Flyknit 2.0 features a pod-like, air-filled sole, and its design is futuristic in its lack of established aesthetic codes. This new model, released on March 22, has an updated upper that adds support and protection, and the underfoot cushion is bouncier and lighter than the original. “It’s a completely new expression, defying conventional style,” says Kathy Gomez, vice-president of Nike’s footwear innovation. In other words: it’s built to move, quickly, ahead. Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 2.0, £169.95, nike.com

Flash forward

At Margiela’s couture branch, John Galliano imagined — to industry fanfare — a specialised textile that lit up in polychrome splendour when hit with the camera’s flash. Built into parkas and trenches, the kaleidoscopic effect offered a progressive vision of outerwear but could only be appreciated on a camera screen (how very modern). Galliano has since expressed an interest in bringing the techno-fabric into Maison Margiela’s ready-to-wear line. maisonmargiela.com

Out of this world

The California-based designer, merchandiser and pace-setter Heron Preston will this year unveil a product capsule in collaboration with Nasa (the first time the space administration has agreed to such a thing). While you wait, pick up one of his silver metallic hooded jackets, or a backpack, replete with paratrooper straps. (Film buffs will notice that the bands are similar, in style and in colour, to the suspenders worn by Milla Jovovich in the 1997 sci-fi film The Fifth Element.) Backpack, £690, brownsfashion.com

Star tech

Berlin-based design collective GmbH, by Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik, have a singular way of upcycling fabrics into toughened, protective-wear. They’re eco-friendly — a forward-thinking notion in itself — but their visual approach is advanced, too. Of their current inspirations, the duo say: “Our favourite sci-fi movie of late is Black Panther, for its utopian vision of a country not inflicted by colonialism, but also for the costumes — how they combined traditional elements with high technology.” Their SS18 collection melds traditional outerwear with an added sense of self-preservation. Jacket, €1,500, ssense.com

Sci-fi sunglasses

Remember the character Trinity’s sunglasses from the 1999 dystopian future-based film The Matrix? Narrow and sleek, they helped to project a 1990s-era vision of a future in which humans are the minority and machines are the enemy. Today, “Matrix sunglasses” are trending, big-time, and Andy Wolf, a handmade eyewear company that operates out of Austria and France, has some of the best: fans include Rihanna, Lupita Nyong’o, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and more. The company was started in 2006, but it has only recently spread across our current matrix. “[We call] the theme ‘mini-shades’. Sunglasses have evolved from being purely functional to being a standalone trend accessory,” says the brand’s head of design and chief executive Katharina Schlager. Sunglasses, $465, kith.com

Young meteor

Marine Serre is the one to watch. In 2017, the Belgian-educated French designer won the LVMH Prize for young fashion designers, and her clothes, which range from scarf-dresses to techno-tops and high-waisted dress-trousers, embody a mixed approach to dressing that seems especially now. Her AW18 show was one of the most talked-about on the Paris schedule. “Our view changes all the time,” says Serre, “so what we do with our style changes, too. What we do is try to see things, emphasise things, and combine things together that were actually already there. By doing so, we create something new. Then, we change the world by just sticking with it.” Headband, £94, top, £168, matchesfashion.com

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The future’s bright

The artist Takashi Murakami and the multi-hyphenate creator Virgil Abloh (of the label Off-White) have a collaborative art show on display at Larry Gagosian’s Davies Street gallery in London until April 7. Aptly, it’s called Future History. Murakami’s work flattens the world in digital characters and mutates the ways we see things; colours are pop-bright and twisted. Abloh brings a utilitarian extremism to nearly all of his output. Together? A combination that’s compelling in its freshness; this particular future looks as bright as Murakami’s neons. gagosian.com

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