Meet Mathieu Mirano, The Science Geek Of The Fashion World

Mirano makes science high fashion. His clothing has featured beetle wings, galactic sparkles, and actual meteorites.

When someone sends me a petri dish invitation to Fashion Week, I’m in.

That’s how I ended up at the Mathieu Mirano show at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City recently. His fall 2013 collection, which he described to the Wall Street Journal as being “about creating life on the way to another planet when we run out of resources on Earth” was quite otherwordly–a black, nude and metallic gathering with some chiffon, leather, neoprene, galactic sparkle, and a skirt studded with ACTUAL METEORITES. Other natural elements included fox and beaver fur, stingray skin separates (not for trypophobes), and a veiny looking sweater and skirt.

Mirano is a geek designer. “Science is a huge part of my inspiration,” he told me. “My dad got his masters in astrophysics and my uncle in botany… and I’m happy that I have that background.” One of his previous collections used Archaeopteryx fossil motifs and real beetle wings as embellishments.

It was all very cool, but I couldn’t help wondering if the inspiration was science, or just nature? And what’s the difference? So, I’ve mulled over it, and this is my proposition: Beetle wings, fur, and stingray skin–they are the stuff of nature. You don’t need any scientific knowledge to grasp them. But a meteorite without science is just a rock. And an Archaeopteryx fossil without science isn’t a species that links dinosaurs to today’s birds, it’s just a bunch of old bones. So, Mirano is definitely putting some science in his work.

Plenty of fashion goes for nature (flowers, animals skins, gems, and Alexander McQueen’s fashion-world famous razor-clam shell dress), but is mostly stuck in a pre-science, pre-microscope, pre-relativity world. It’s shocking to me now that I’ve never questioned why the only science clothes I usually see are dinosaur T-shirts sold on the internet.

Science is effing inspiring! Antibiotics, anyone? Brain scans? Generating power by smashing particles together? Hello! The internet has been techifying our culture at large (note: Diane von Furstenberg’s models who wore Google’s augmented-reality glasses down the runway last fall). Hopefully, with the human genome sequenced and the Higgs boson found, science isn’t far behind.

So, Mathieu Mirano, thanks for reaching across the aisle and dipping into the inspiring gobs of awesomeness on this side. Tell your friends that there’s tons of cool stuff over here. Please, everyone, make lots of prohibitively expensive, science-inspired clothes! And maybe, someday, science fashion will trickle down to the rest of us.

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Susannah Locke is a senior associate editor at Popular Science.