This year has witnessed a number of key moments in the realm of outer space, notably the death of the world’s first moonwalker, Neil Armstrong; Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner's miraculous plunge to Earth from the edge of space (the world's highest and fastest skydive to date); and last week’s announcement that astronauts will embark on unprecedented one-year mission aboard the International Space Station in 2015, in preparation for longer visits to Mars in the future. And this week's Most Loved product stands further testament to our ongoing fascination with the great void beyond our skies: a digitally-printed space shuttle sweater seen on super/collider depicting a mesmerising blast off from NASA's Cape Canaveral, as chosen by AnOther's editorial assistant Tish Wrigley.
After centuries of study and speculation, humans began the physical exploration of space in the 20th century – the age of the notorious Space Race – with the advent of high-altitude balloon flights, prior to the development of single and multi-stage rocket launchers. Yuri Gagarin was the first being to orbit Earth in 1961 and unmanned spacecraft have since reached all of the known planets in the Solar System.
"After centuries of study and speculation, humans began the physical exploration of space in the 20th century with the advent of high-altitude balloon flights"
Space and our incredible scientific advances within its spheres has, unsurprisingly, greatly influenced popular culture. In film terms this extends from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which achieved a cult status for its pioneering special effects and gripping extraterrestrial story line, to Steven Spielberg's much-loved, earth-dwelling alien E.T., to the more recent Another Earth and Duncan Jones' Moon.
Musically, Jones' father David Bowie is of course the ultimate space-channeller, from his Kubrick inspired hit Space Oddity to his renowned, intergalactic alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. While in fashion terms it is important to consider Paco Rabanne's ground-breakingly futuristic 1966 collection, which pioneered the use of materials like plastic, metal and even chain mail, and Nicolas Ghesquière's contemporary take on the theme as creative director at Balenciaga, where his signature pieces included sharply tailored dresses in techno materials and gold metal "robot" leggings.
Here, we talk to Wrigley about her ultimate designer space suit, why she chose to Love this sweater and what she would name a planet.
Why did you choose to Love this sweatshirt?
It is the most dynamic sweatshirt I've ever seen – I can't believe you would feel anything other than galvanised while wearing it.
Have you ever seen a space launch?
Only on YouTube.
If you had been the first man to land on the moon, what would you say to the world?
A silent scream of awe, followed by an open invitation to all my friends and family to join me.
What designer would you choose to design a spacesuit?
Perhaps sadly, I think my main focus would be on safety over style. So perhaps a NASA qualified designer with a secret passion for the stylistic flourishes of Nicolas Ghesquière.
Do you believe in life on other planets? If so, what is it like?
The logical reality of what the life forms are most likely to be – plankton, plant life etc – is totally subsumed in my head by a Douglas Adams vision of comic strip extravagance.
If you could name a planet, what would it be?
It being Christmas, the issue of finding interesting presents is uppermost in mind. Having the power to name a planet could surely satisfy my entire family in one fell swoop.
What's your favourite space-themed film?
It would be a shell suited face off between Moon, Moonraker and The Fifth Element.
Have you decorated your tree yet?
That will happen when I get home on December 23. As per the family tradition, we put on carols, start with great precision, graduate to throwing plaster apples in impatience, and end with a pitched battle over who will put the loo roll angel on the top. It's the best part of Christmas.
Text by Daisy Woodward