Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Radiation-proof Fishnet

There's some fascinating stuff (images and text) over on the Paleo-Future blog, about visions of the future from different decades in the past, visions that never quite happened in real life.

It's not just the strangeness (or ordinariness) of how people predicted the future would be, which has always fascinated me from watching old science fiction films. I suppose it's partly thinking about why they came up with those ideas, and how the ideas might have related to the time they emerged from. It's also interesting to think about why some things didn't work out, even if they were pure fiction and weren't serious ideas intended to go into production.... or why some examples that did happen actually made it into reality and general use. I guess product design and fashion 'flops', items that were produced and hyped-up, but subsequently ended up a total disaster with the public is linked into this too...

I liked the fashion-related posts, though the illustrations aren't as nicely luridly coloured as some of the other subjects! This image is from a post on designer's fashionable visions for Miss AD 2000, from the Chicago Tribune, 1952. I like the idea by the designer, Jacques Heim, of a glamorous fishnet evening dress which would protect the wearer from atomic radiation.

The odd thing is that today, radiation-proof fishnet is far less fantastical than the Protect and Survive public information films from the British government, which were intended to be taken seriously to avoid the effects of a nuclear bomb... paint your windows white, hide in a ditch from that mushroom cloud, brush the atomic fallout off your clothes and you'll be fine. On the other hand, that fashion designer nearly got his vision of the future spot-on. Radiation-proof fabrics have actually been developed now, 50 years on, though probably not fishnet -it's a bit holey- and maybe just for the military, not for evening gowns. Though you never know!

Great blog - I found it via BoingBoing a week or so ago, and I keep going back for another look. I even ended up ordering a book (allegedly) with bits of jewellery in, so hope that's good when it arrives... not that I need more distractions at this point in time!

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