Million-dollar outfits worth weight in gold

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - They’re the new fashion heavyweights: a Tokyo design school sent models decked out in more than 1,500 Austrian gold coins clinking down the catwalk on Thursday to showcase its students’ skill.

The coins, lent by the Austrian Mint Office and worth more than $1.2 million, were sewn onto three pieces of apparel -- a full-length dress weighing 10 kg (22 pounds) and two jackets weighing up to 21 kg (46 pounds).

The outfits, shimmering like golden scales in the spotlight, were designed by students at Bunka Fashion College for their annual school festival.

The coins were sewn onto the clothes in a locked room within the college campus, where the teachers kept a constant watch. “I felt the weight of the task as I sewed on each piece, coin by coin,” said student Yuko Imauji.

One of the models became overwhelmed with the weight of his outfit, a 15 kg jacket, which was swiftly taken off.

“The dress is heavy but well constructed and it fits well,” said female model and student Haruna Mine said.

“My back’s feeling it, though -- it would be tough to wear these coins every day.”

Gold prices hit a 28-year high on Thursday as the dollar dropped. Spot gold hit a high of $799.30 an ounce, its highest since January 1980.