“We have to find a way to have the dress glow.”

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich 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 letter 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.

Unfortunately, Marlene’s vision of a glowing dress could not be created at the time she was living due to lack of technological advances. But she clearly had taken a lot of time to think through her avant-garde idea.

 

Fashion for the Future

To mark the 25th anniversary of Marlene’s death, the ElektroCouture team decided to fulfill her wish and Marlene’s last dress was finally realized. For the creation of the dress, we collaborated with Swarovski on custom-made crystals, which suit perfectly with the material and e-broidery® technique by Forster Rohner Textile Innovations that utilizes Osram LEDs.

The Last Dress of Marlene Dietrich

The incredible story of Marlene’s dress was captured in ARTE’s documentary “Das Letzte Kleid der Marlene Dietrich” or “The Last Dress of Marlene Dietrich”, which publicly screened on May 7, 2017. Still, you can watch the official documentary on the right.

Since creation Marlene’s dress has been featured in Forbes, ModeLab, Deutsche Welle, Vodafone, and many other publications.