Map Quest

» Map Quest

Map Quest

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Fresh off her selection as one of five international winners of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, fashion designer Angel Chang was in a celebratory mood on a recent Thursday evening in New York’ Flatiron district: Chang, a former design assistant to Donna Karan, was demonstrating the unorthodox qualities of a filmy chiffon cocktail dress from her spring 2008 line, thirteen pieces of which were on display as part of a Ralph Pucci exhibition of new furniture, fashion and photography. “You just blow on it,” she said, pressing a piece of the floaty dress to her mouth, “and the maps appear.” Indeed, the tangerine-hued fabric turned pale, revealing a network of downtown New York streets, part of Chang’s collaboration with Red Maps, a company that sells blueprints of major cities dotted with boutiques, cafes and noteworthy sites. Partnering with engineers and “interaction designers” to create the thermochromatic dress (which shifts color at 85 degrees or higher), Chang is at the forefront of a movement incorporating technology into the everyday frock – or jacket, as she proved last season with her velvet one trimmed with Ipod controls. But there are other benefits to the clothes besides techno-innovation. Smiling and running her hands over the dress, Chang noted, “This way, you know where the restaurants are.”

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