Italian designer Emilio Pucci may have designed the main motif for the Apollo 15 mission patch, but Vivienne Tam will enter instead fashion history for having used NASA's logo in her collection.
The main background to Tam's S/S 17 collection is indeed a trip to Houston and a visit to NASA's headquarters. Tam was actually inspired by the local art and culture (in particular the Menil Collection, the Rothko Chapel and the Project Row Houses), and the music, science and technology scenes, plus the local rodeo, and eventually decided to mix all these references together.
This journey through Houston's life resulted in a series of dresses, tops, jackets and trousers in which rockets combined with flowers and astronaut-inspired silver jackets, were mixed with cowboy fringes.
Tam also received permission to use the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Rice University logos: the cowboy hat with boots and the Athenian owl - a symbol of honor, influence and wisdom - were therefore combined with the NASA logo and printed, embroidered or appliqued on the various garments.
The East met the West in a dress with a colourful mix of botanical motifs, Mexican elements, Chinese herons and Nasa logos, and in a top with matching pants with a print of Chinese motifs but with a Mexican edge about it. Tam also created a fun print of a panda head and a cowboy hat that she nicknamed the Panda Cowboy.
The final dresses were covered in Tam's trademark butterflies in their three-dimensional variation and with appliqued NASA logos scattered here and there, hinting at space, flying and exploration.
Not everything was perfect: at times the frilly boho-rodeo inspiration took over the space fashion side of things in a rather kitschy way, but Tam seemed to have genuine good intentions as she switched the attention from New York to Houston (where she will also bring her collection next year) during election times.
Besides, the designer announced that she will donate a part of the proceeds from the collection sale to the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Scholarship Fund.
Technology-wise the show at Moynihan Station was opened by a prerecorded broadcast of NASA astronaut Tracy Dysons from the International Space Station's Mission Control in Houston.
Tam, who in the past took part in projects with Hewlett Packard, Square, Monster, and WeChat and hinted at technology in previous designs such as her A/W 2013 in which she included QR codes, launched during the show a collaboration with Lenovo/Motorola for the design of the Moto Z Style Shell, and Moto Mods technology was employed to allow the audience to get the backstage scene and design details.
Tam is currently planning a lecture at NASA's Wearables Lab, in the meantime, it will be interesting to see if this collection will also end up being linked with the film "Hidden Figures" directed by Theodore Melfi (to be released in December 2016 in the States).
Inspired by Margot Lee Shetterly's eponymous book (the complete title is Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race), the book tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder, Eunice Smith and Barbara Holley, African-American women and mathematicians who analysed the data from wind tunnel tests of airplane prototypes and made a significant contribution to aeronautics and astronautics.
Will European designers counteract and look for the help of European Space Agency (ESA)? Who knows, after all a few months ago the Science Museum in London organized a catwalk show in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).
So expect NASA and ESA to become fashion trends next year. Fashion may not be rocket science, but here we may have clothes for rocket girls. Houston, we don't have a problem, but we do have a fashion collection.