There’s a bit at the end of the last episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor ditches the sonic screwdriver, dons a pair of shades and says, ‘I’m all about wearable technology.’ Clara Oswald’s response – ‘Seriously?’ – mirrors my attitude a few years ago, when I wrote a frankly sceptical piece about fashion and technology. Donna Air’s LED dress at the BAFTAs this year – design brutally subjugated to gimmickry – could have provided the image but I was accused of shortsightedness then and I’m eating my words now. Innovation in wearable tech continues to gather force and newly launched handbag label Gianoi is one initiative showing what can be achieved with a bit of passion.
Brothers Enrico and Raffaele Caroli have used their respective skills – technology and design – to create luxury bags that simultaneously seduce the eye and facilitate modern communication. By using the Gianoi app, the bag alerts you when you receive an email, phone call, Tweet, even an Instagram comment, by gently lighting up its gold-plated logo in colours of your choice. I need to spend more time with this feature before its nuances are revealed to me but the aspect that will revolutionise the life of any fashion writer is the inbuilt charger. This has the capacity to fully charge your smartphone up to two times in a day, making queueing at the charging lockers at London Fashion Week a delicious thing of the past. When you’re taking 100 plus images on your phone per fashion event, this is a life saver.
Most key for me, however, is that the technology is housed in such covetable designs: structured trapezoids, and – soon – bold shoppers, and a sweet boxy bag, drafted in mouthwatering combinations of calf leather and painted snakeskins.
The brand is named Gianoi, after the two-headed Roman God Janus, who could look both to the past and to the future, encapsulating the philosophy of the brand. ’We saw an opportunity because, in wearable tech, most new products were on the technology side, and they were catering mainly for the geek customer rather than women who want beautiful products,’ says Raffaele, previously design director at Jean Paul Gaultier. ‘We wanted to do a fashion product which is artisanal and made in Italy – and which is beautiful inside and out. The technology is there but you can’t see it.’ Job done. And if this is the beginnings of truly wearable tech, I’m sold. www.gianoi.com