Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The fashion press so far appears to have missed a mathematical reference in one of the gowns presented by John Galliano for Dior, in the current Paris Fashion Week presentation.
This purple gown features trianglar patterns quite reminiscent of cellular automata. Cellular automata are diagrams which grow and change according to simple rules, yet which can produce very complex structures and behavior.
It's a concept that can illustrate the relationship between the haute couture and the read to wear collections. The haute couture collection, usually flamboyant, conceptually sophisticated, and labor-intensive, supplies the basic rules for generating the ready to wear trends that will follow in its wake. The couture outfits are not to be taken literally, but offer gestures of color, shape, line, pattern that will be picked up by the mass manufacturers and mutated according to their reading of the zeitgeist.
Steven Weinberg, "Is the Universe a Computer?"
The Wikipedia page on Conway's Game of Life shows some of the patterns animated.