We are proud to announce that ElektroCouture’s glowing Marlene Dietrich dress has made it into Google Arts & Culture!

This exciting development marks the first contemporary FashionTech dress that Google has included in its online art collections and also means that millions of more individuals will learn about the story of Marlene and how ElektroCouture connected the past and future by creating Marlene’s glowing dress.

The legendary style icon Marlene Dietrich was known as the master of lights. Marlene was an internationally acclaimed actress, a role model to many women, a live performer and much more — she was a FashionTech visionary. She dreamed of inventive and avant-garde ideas that were ahead of her time.

In her letters in 1958 to designer Jean Louis she wrote about a dress, which should glow and be interactive. Her wish for a glowing dress was clearly defined in her personal correspondence to Jean Louis she wrote:

If you are worried about the technical side, let me just say that I make the contact with my foot (on wire running to a small plate on the sole). The contact plate, which is fed electricity by the main line, is on the floor of the stage. This way, I can light up and take the light off at will. This will puzzle the people, which is good. They will not know if they imagine the light or if they are there.

The dress required a combination of new technology and traditional handiwork. In addition to working with tulle and embroidery, the dress leverages 3D printing and laser cutting and includes 151 LEDs, 313 flowers and 2371 specifically developed crystals from Swarovski. The dress glows in various patterns to match Dietrich’s different songs.

For ElektroCouture, recreating the dress was like reverse engineering. “Marlene told her designers what she exactly wanted and explained her vision. In modern times, we would do the same and it is the job of the fashion designer and technologist figure out a way,” says Lisa Lang Founder & CEO of ThePowerHouse and ElektroCouture. Marlene wasn’t afraid to do any experiments and was very pragmatic. While in the first letter she explained her vision, in the second one she explained the technological process to achieve it. 

Marlene’s designers made numerous sketches but the ElektroCouture team did not look at them while designing. “We wanted to make a dress relevant for 2017 not 1958. We did it with a modern approach and use of technology. Of course it had the sparkle and flowers that Marlene would have wanted,” mentioned Lang.

We couldn’t be prouder!

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