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Couture Chemistry

Couture Chemistry
Fashion far forward: With 4,000 stones coated in special inks, this hat changes colors with the wearer’s brain activity. [Photos by Mitch Payne, Hair by Montana Lowery, Makeup by Sophie Higginson]

Lauren Bowker is an alchemist. It would be simpler to call her a fashion designer, but her métier isn’t fabric–it’s complex chemical compounds. At her London studio, Bowker concocts custom inks that change colors once they’re stimulated by heat or moisture.

She created this headpiece with Swarovski Gemstone (a different group from Swarovski Crystal) using more than 4,000 synthetic magnesium-aluminum stones, all coated in one of Bowker’s inks. The stones are similar to human bone and are highly conductive. Once the piece is placed on the wearer’s head (where humans lose a lot of heat), colors start to ebb and flow. Like a very technical mood ring, it can turn from orange to blue depending on what region of the brain is active. “It acts as a sort of visualization of what’s happening in the head,” Bowker says.

Lauren Bowker, The Unseen Studio seetheunseen.co.uk

Next year the piece will be at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, after which Bowker will work with a university to test its accuracy against real MRI scans. Bowker’s work with ink has caught the attention of the health care and auto industries; this particular piece could appeal to psychologists.MR