Magazine Features

From Screen to Catwalk

Long patent leather coats, technological materials… The Matrix look is one of the strongest trends for next season… By Lina Vaz 


The imaginary world of the brothers Wachowski, screenwriters and directors of the Matrix movies continues to surprise us. The costume design is one of the highest appeals of the movies. Who doesn’t remember the swirl of Keanu Reeves’ coat? Or Monica Belucci’s dress?


Kym Barrett was the costume designer, she avoided seeing fashion shows, video games or to have any style references. Her purpose was to focus on the screenplay and to create clothes which were not associable with any time or place. Ironically, Matrix looks ended up being mirrored in some collections for Autumn/winter.


Costume National has long leather coats similar to Trinity’s clothes in the movie. Morpheus’s image influenced the collection of Michael Kors and Fendi, Balenciaga and Givenchy were also inspired by The Matrix

This film raises questions about the development of technology. From cloning to genetic manipulation, everything lays open… In fact, technology moves towards a greater integration with our everyday life.


In the United States, a research group of MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the AIRE (agent-based Intelligence Reactive Environments) dedicates itself to design and the development of IT systems which permeate spaces. The so-called intelligent environments are equipped with basic capacity of sensorial perception and voice recognition. 

On the other hand, Philips Design aims at a better quality of life through the development of design solutions, having technology as a backdrop. There’s an innovative project, the ‘New Nomads’, which basic principle is to attach electronic devices to garments and the production of fabrics with special fibres.


Imagine for instance a jacket for children with a device that enables their parents to locate where they are. Or a DJ jacket with which he can go to the dance floor and continue to play music through a wireless connection installed in one of its sleeves.


The most surprising is a kimono that emanates an electro static charge to the column, through some fibres inherent to the fabric, provoking a well-being and relaxing feeling.


The intensity of these charges is controlled by the person who wears the kimono with a small device that fits the pocket. The future is always unknown. Will it be similar to The Matrix? Are we going to live in technological environments with a slightly mystic touch like the ones we see in the movie?


According with The Matrix universe, apart from special effects that challenge the limits of the fantastic, there's an underlying strong conviction of something that goes beyond life itself.


When it comes to fashion designers, will they embrace technological elements of clothes production? For now, in a not so distant future, we’ll know the final of The Matrix trilogy, which starts showing in all cinemas across the country in November.

Published by Elle Portugal in September 2003. All rights reserved.

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© 2018 Lina Vaz, London.