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    Images of Tomorrow: Runway Moments That Opened a Portal to the Future

    Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons, Issey Miyake and more. 10 shows from the archives that revealed new worlds of design.

    Writer: Gregory Babcock

    Informed by the past. Created for the present. Shaping the future. Fashion’s most visionary designers identify shifts in culture to imagine what we’re going to be wearing months, years and even decades from now. Some harness the possibility of what’s on the horizon, providing us with radical ideas that interpret timeless silhouettes to present something entirely new. Others examine the uncertainty inherent in what’s to come, challenging concepts like AI and robotics to uncover humanity’s evolving relationship with technology.

    From Helmut Lang’s perspectives on post-apocalyptic utility to the optimistic innovations of Issey Miyake, discover 10 collections exploring aspects of futurism on the runway.

    The iconic finale to Alexander McQueen's Spring/Summer 1999 runway show celebrated the designer as craftsman, while expressing fear over a future dominated by technology. Raf Simons' Spring/Summer 2003 show explored overconsumption and its impact on humanity's future.   
    Designers like UNDERCOVER's Jun Takahashi, Takahiro Miyashita and Issey Miyake obscure the boundaries between art and technology.   
    For Balenciaga's Fall/Winter 2021 show, Demna Gvasalia harnessed the digital world to work around COVID-19 restrictions, showcasing his collection through a VR video game. Rick Owens, often ruminating on the fear and uncertainty of the future, wrapped his models in armor-like ensembles.   
    Thierry Mugler turned his Fall 1995 couture show into a spectacle that honored the past, present and future, punctuated by robotic bodysuits. Inspired by post-apocalyptic films like 'Mad Max,' Jean Paul Gaultier's Fall/Winter 1995 show fused computer chip-like embroidery with biker motifs and Renaissance-inspired details.   
    Helmut Lang presented his version of minimalism and utility for Fall/Winter 1999, incorporating military-inspired parkas and biker jackets influenced by astronaut space suits. Comme de Garçons' Rei Kawakubo wrapped her models in a similar shiny silver textile for Spring/Summer 2021, protecting her muses with robot-like armor.   

    Shop Styles Inspired by Futurism