In a age where one in five women in Seoul have gone under the knife and a zealous Justin Bieber fan has spent over 100,000 on plastic surgery procedures to look like the star who is a good 10+ years his junior, remodeling one's looks has become ho-hum. But in a world where beauty can be purchased off-the-shelf at the doctor's office, what happens to the version created the old-fashioned way? "In Beverly Hills," observes Steve Martin in his book Shopgirl, "young men, searching for young women who remind them of their face-lifted mothers, are stranded and forlorn in a sea of natural-looking 25-year-olds."
"What makes a woman beautiful?" muses plastic surgeon Robert Tornambe, M.D., author of The Beauty Quotient Formula. "The Holy Grail of beauty has never been completely understood." Take Kate Moss. In her 40s, she's still one of the top 10 models in terms of her annual earnings, and people aren't sure why. "For reasons photographers, fashionistas and editors do not fully understand," writes one observer, "Moss's look translates across all demographics, from the luxury consumer to the high-street shopper." The "not sure why" factor is that undefinable but unmistakable X factor that comes not under the knife but via Mother Nature.
That being said, there are worse role models to emulate when blending beauty and bionics going forward. With the costs of 3D printing plummeting and available knowledge online rising, the first of this giant coming wave of us enhancing and extending ourselves with machines is evidenced in examples like the Colorado teenager who went online to learn the programming and engineering skills to construct a robotic arm, which he 3D printed for a total cost of $500. Another man collaborated with an inventor he discovered on YouTube to create a new, cheery green "cyborg" hand for his twelve-year-old son using $10 in materials and the 3D printer at his son's school. There will only be more of us wanting to be more "special" and enjoy higher levels of performance from our bodies and embracing transhumanism (aka H+).
This man-and-machine future is one embraced by the Futurenetic fashion tribe. Particularly if you can look like Kate Moss in the process.
Here's the podcast I recorded about this. I hope you enjoy!
Music: AcidJazz by Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott
(images: blue-eyed cyborg by Ales Kotnik; Body Shopping 2 by Franz Steiner - both via source)