You know you’re hot

Times Staff Writer

THE ‘80s have been mined so thoroughly, so deeply, it’s come to this: Hypercolor is back.

Generra Sportswear created the craze in ’91, with heat-sensitive T-shirts that changed colors like magic. Touch a purple shirt and leave a pink fingerprint; boogie down and your green tee would be splotched with bright yellow hot spots.

Small-screen cameos on MTV and “Beverly Hills, 90210" propelled Hypercolor into style stardom. The tees sold out across the country, and fluorescent tops bearing the Hypercolor logo became a major status symbol among school-age followers. But the novelty faded as quickly as pink back to purple, Generra filed for bankruptcy, and Hypercolor became a forgotten fad.

Until now. This time around, the trend has a more fashionable spin. The L.A. line Anzevino and Florence is making a racer-back tank dress ($84) and cotton scarf ($26) that start out aqua or lavender and turn yellow or pink. British designer Henry Holland took inspiration from early ‘90s Vogue photos of Stephanie Seymour and Axl Rose for his heat-activated T-shirt ($110), mini-dress ($236) and denim shorts ($150), all in a neon print befitting Will Smith’s reign as the Fresh Prince.


American Apparel offers a hyper spinoff with a unisex tee ($34), and has tank tops in a rainbow of changing colors ($24.95). But the most updated version is Puma’s sneakers ($65) -- if, of course, you don’t mind your hot, sweaty feet dictating the color of your kicks.

Just remember: The gear is dyed with a heat-sensitive pigment, so it’s washable in cold water -- but iron it, bleach it or dry it in a steaming-hot machine and your shirt won’t last the 15 minutes this trend is destined for.