University of Dundee

Primitive Streak

03 Feb 2011

'Fashioning Science to create a new way of understanding the origins of human life'

CLS PI Kate Storey and her sister, artist and designer Helen Storey are taking their boundary-breaking collaboration Primitive Streak on a nation-wide tour including Sheffiled, Newcastle and London.

Primitive Streak, a fashion/science collaboration and a ground breaking cocktail of high fashion and embryology, burst onto the cultural horizon in 1997. Conceived and created by sisters Helen Storey and Kate Storey, this seminal work comprises 27 dresses which elucidate key stages in the first 1000 hours of human life. In 2011 ten key pieces from the original collection will travel with two brand new dresses dedicated specifically to the development of the embryonic lung to Sheffield, Newcastle and London.

Sisters Professor Helen Storey, artist and designer, and developmental biologist, Professor Kate Storey, Head of the Division of Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Dundee, collaborated to produce Primitive Streak in a bold partnership. Using the medium of fashion design Helen and Kate developed a new language to communicate the complex developmental journey that the human embryo undertakes in its first 1000 hours. The phrase ‘Primitive Streak’ is in fact a crucial embryonic structure through which thousands of cells pass in order to generate our internal tissues and organs. Since then the timeless collection has travelled the world to inform and amaze millions. It is testament to the strength of the original concept that after 14 years the work continues to inspire and grow.

Two new additions to the Primitive Streak collection, exploring the science behind the development and function of the lungs, will be seen for the first time in 2011. Working with her sister Kate as guide, Helen has explored the extraordinary structure of the lung and the very fine cellular membranes that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide from the air to the blood hidden deep inside the body. The new works incorporate bespoke textiles to evoke the feel and function of our respiratory surfaces. The ‘Lung Dresses’ will raise the view that we take our lungs for granted and are unable to see the effects of smoke or particles that we inhale until it is too late.

For coverage of the exhibition visit: