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    Posted April 19, 2008 by
    Mountain View, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    Vanna Bonta Presents Smart Fashion At NASA Ames Yuri's Night


    A fashion, music and dance event was one of the least hyped but not-to-be-missed events April 12 at the NASA Ames Research facility, where an estimated 8000 people celebrated Yuri's Night, a yearly worldwide celebration of the anniversary of the space shuttle and first human being in space.


    Making an under the Hollywood radar appearance, novelist and award-winning poet/actress Vanna Bonta talked about "the future of fashion." Bonta's otherwise classic vintage moon-era 60s look, complete with white gloves, was rave-current with glowing crystal earrings and hair lights. She  opened by asking if fashion is superfluous to a future of space-faring geeks, and if bling will make it to space, then quoted Yves St. Laurent,  "fashions change but style is eternal."


    Bonta admitted a fashion-challenged childhood, and to using paperclips for hair barrettes because she was into writing and refused modeling classes, but she said the times were catching up to her taste.


    "Style of the future is the convergence of function and fashion," Bonta said. She called spacewear the new high of "haute" couture, and declared intelligent bling the new haute "hot."


    To a slide projection of happy people floating in zero gravity, Bonta pointed out it was difficult to be haught-y in weightlessness, and predicted fashion would find a new high beyond people looking down their noses.


    According to Bonta, the best time to start spacewear of the future is right now on Earth ("since we are in space") and urbanwear high style needs to multi-task as well as express and impress.


    One example of multi-tasking wear was the Bubble Shoe (designer Aljosa Senk), a transparent shoe composed of two layers of silicon plastic with compressed gas between. The durable, shock and water resistant, thermally insulated shoe can change its look for any occasion, mood, or place with socks.


    Socks, like scarves, would fit the bill for space's light weight requirement.


    Announcing it's time to get space out of "the little black dress," she displayed a few vivid gold, magenta and turquoise Hubble pictures of the cosmos as fabric inspirations and waxed about fabric innovations such as "thermal fabrics" and "velvets with the fibers doubling as sensors."  In any case, accessorizing basic garb is the key to traveling light, and PDAs as the new hot "intelligent bling (such as blue tooth earrings) are on the spacewear wish-list.


    Future space explorers might spray on "second skins" as clothing for protection in extremely dusty planetary environments that not only could possibly outfit the wearer with artificial muscle fibers to enhance human strength or stamina but also (of course) "glitter."  The crowd went wild about that.


    She suggested balloon couture that was portable atmosphere and hydration, and self-illuminating purse interiors as the kind of fashion that got her excited.


    Above all, Bonta stressed comfort in travel as important. Wearing an astronaut orange 1960s vintage flight attendant dress and white pumps, Bonta held up a pair of flats and praised them as "sensible shoes" but chided the space loving throngs to remember, "When you get there ... you need something to wear" -- at which point the flats ejected heels. The shoe, called an Ever shoe,  is Bonta's latest invention, a combination flat that converts to heel with telescoping platform or stiletto high heels.


    Bonta's finale for the urban space-aware did not disappoint. The last time she had something up her fashion sleeve, it was her invention of the 2suit, a garment that includes diaphanous inner material designed for intimacy in the near-weightless environment of space.


    It looks like bling not only will but already has made it to space. Bonta praised Anousheh Ansari (the first female independent space explorer who paid her way to the International Space Station) for already bringing bling to space and making space exploration "human for girls everywhere" when Ansari mentioned her lip gloss floated away within five minutes of arriving in space, praising the virtues of velcro to secure things in zero gravity.


    Up next were The Aerial Showgirls, who choreographed a special dance to Bonta's music about human flight and zero gravity. Three acrobatic beauties flowed fabric like wings and made arduous stunts look easy from thirty feet in the air, leaping and flying to Bonta's music.


    Award-winning space fashions from a Tokyo designer collection were flown in from Japan and  showcased by Misuzu Onuki of the Space Fashion Organization. An fashion contest with real-time voting for space clothing picked from the audience awarded a first prize of a zero gravity flight to the winner, a woman dressed in feathers.


    One comment from the audience summed it up, "It was a great, it made me think, it's possible to think and have fun at the same time."


    That's the latest from the fashionista front. Miss Bonta is a refreshing break from celebrity-watching the usual baby bumps and rehab drama.   (Ian Caulder)

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