Fashion has always found inspiration in the unusual. It began with strange silhouettes and bold colors, and progressed to avant-garde materials such as latex and PVC - before taking a step into the future with 3D printing.

The latest piece of technology to inspire fashion is lasers. The Balenciaga Laser Cube is appreciably space-age in appearance. It's a transparent box with an optical illusion built inside by lasers to give the impression of a floating sneaker.

Shoes Made Of Stone

The Laser Cube is part of Balenciaga's Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, which was presented in Paris Fashion Week. Designers Demna Gvasalia, formerly of Vetements, and Balenciaga artistic director, Alexander Wang also collaborated with American designer Rick Owens to produce the show (which is why Owens' signature all-black designs were spotted on the runway).

As for materials used in the Laser Cube model, they include clear glass, aluminum, rose gold, rubber and felt. The designer himself describes the shoe as "fresh out of a sci-fi movie".

Geometric Shapes And Optical Illusions

Laser Cube shoes are not the only designs to feature optical illusions in fashion now. At London Fashion Week in February 2017, designer Ashish Gupta revealed a collection that incorporated 3D shapes into shirting fabric. The pieces used geometric patterns to create the appearance of two-dimensional and three-dimensional volumes. Depending on how you look at them, they can appear to be flat or raised from the body.

Natural Shapes In Digital Fabric

Ashish Gupta's digital fabric was not created with the Laser Cube, however. That honor falls to contemporary artist Hiroshi Nagasawa. He is responsible for the so-called "digital couture" collection which incorporates fabric laser cutouts into highly original designs.

Because of its angular shape, a laser cutter can create shapes that are particularly unusual and perfect for use in an optical illusion. Nagasawa sees fashion as a good match for his artwork, because it encourages people not to be afraid of experimenting with new designs and shapes.His inspiration was also rooted in geometric shapes - but they were natural shapes rather than man-made ones. He used the Fibonacci sequence extensively in designing his collection, seeing this mathematical sequence as proof of the symmetry in nature.