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Fashion With A Brain? Behold Ying Gao's Interactive Creations

The Chinese-born fashion designer creates clothes that react to light, sound, even a passing glance. What would Lady Gaga think?

Ying Gao's photo-luminescent dresses
Ying Gao's photo-luminescent dresses
Julie Conti

GENEVA — In the rarefied world of high fashion, she has made her mark designing "interactive" clothes. Yes...a blast, a sound, a flash or even just a look can make her creations suddenly light up or start to move.

When a spectator looks at Ying Gao's two photo-luminescent dresses called "(No) where (now) here," for example, the dresses suddenly contract and move thanks to inflatable sensors and motors.

"I don't know if people are singled out for good reasons. But surely the technological aspect is what intrigues," she sighs.

More than anything, the Chinese-born fashion designer, who divides her time between Geneva and Montreal, is afraid of being misunderstood. That's exactly what happened when she presented one of her creations called "Playtime," a dress that features scattered lights that are activated by camera flashes, which can foil attempts at photographing the woman who might be wearing it. It is a tribute to Jacques Tati's movie "Playtime" in which the filmmaker uses trompe-l'oeil effects and reflections. Thus Yiang Gao wasn't pleased when journalists dubbed her creation "anti-paparazzi" fashion.

"It sounded terrible," she says. "A misunderstood object represents the death of the concept and it kills the desire to experiment."

A Lady Gaga nightmare

Her nightmare would be to see Lady Gaga wearing one of her dresses on a red carpet. Therefore, she refuses, for the moment, to produce a limited edition of her creations. "I prefer to see it in museums for now, so they maintain an experimental character. It is just the beginning for interactive clothes, and I need to wait for the field to mature."

Ying Gao's dream is to create self-thinking interactive clothes, and she has been testing a device for more than a year that can transform dresses by water movements.

On the technical side, the designer has collaborated for more than a decade with Simon Laroche, an artist who works with robotics. They have begun using 3D-printers, which allow them to develop unique and miniaturized pieces and motors. She hopes her clothes can someday make everyone reflect on appearances. They already make us dream.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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