LINKAGE: “Holographic Fashion Memories,” Irenebrination

If you already used Google this morning, you’ve probably noticed that today’s logotype is dedicated to the 110th birth anniversary of Hungarian-born electrical engineer Dennis Gabor, the winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize for Physics for his invention of holography and famous for his researches on high-speed oscilloscopes, communication theory, physical optics and television.

Gabor carried out his first experiments in holography – at that time called “wavefront reconstruction” – in 1948.

The engineer continued experimenting further in this field for years: the first respectable results were achieved in the early 50s, but the goal was still far away.

Twenty years later, electron and optical holography finally became successful also thanks to the introduction of the laser that amplifies the intensity of light waves.

Holographic techniques were often applied in fashion to create futuristic effects on clothes and accessories (though the very first experiments with these techniques were dubiously tacky…).

The most amazing application of holography in fashion remains the vision conjured up by video maker Baillie Walsh during Alexander McQueen’s Autumn-Winter 2006-07 catwalk show.

As the catwalk ended…, lights dimmed and a holographic twisting cloud of smoke generated inside a glass pyramid turned into a dreamy image of model Kate Moss wrapped up in an ethereal and billowing dress.

The spirit-like vision disappeared again after a short while, poetically vanishing in the darkness.

The effect was probably one of the most moving ever seen on a runway.

–Anna Battista, “Holographic Fashion Memories,” from the truly wonderful art and fashion blog Irenebrination: Notes on Art, Fashion, and Style



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  1. This isn’t really a hologram: it’s just light-projected video from different angles onto a volumetric display (a glass pyramid full of smoke). Holography is a specific technique used for rendering 3D information using the interference of light waves that doesn’t seem to have been used here.

  2. The MUSIC. The Schindler’s List theme music…is this vanishing-into-smoke with THIS music…on purpose?

  3. It is the smoke that makes it appear to be a hologram?

  4. I’ve no idea! I didn’t even recognize this music (it me it sounds like generic “fancy” music).

  5. Right, well, the smoke is what makes it so you can see it but still lets it be translucent. The hologram-ish nature is from the use of a Victorian era mirror-based illusion called Pepper’s ghost:'s_ghost

    This has some explanation specific to the McQueen piece:

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