MET Gala 2016 | Manus was there, but where was Machina?

4 min read

Yesterday, the annual MET Gala took place in NYC, introducing the new exhibition “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”. According to Jonathan Ive (Senior Vice-President of Apple) who sponsored the event, currently this theme is crucial as it is “to temper and define future products we’re working on”. How did the top-notch celebrities answered this question?

When technology is a simplistic futurist fantasy


The influence of technology in fashion was for some a matter of colors and materials. Indeed, countless celebrities recall technology with silver, gold and metal such as Cindy Crawford wearing Balmain or Lupito Nyong’o in a Calvin Klein collection dress. The dominance of these colors illustrated a simplistic understanding of the theme, where technology only seemed to be an echo to a futurist fantasy. Some chose to wear unusual textiles as a testimony of how fashion succeeded in appropriating every possible material. Here we think about Beyonce and her Givenchy latex dress, already raging all over the Internet, but also about Emma Watson who wore a Calvin Klein dress actually made from recycled plastic bottles.

However, very few of them tried to push to the limits the romance between fashion and technology. Even if the exhibition’s theme left the door open for newness and innovations for the celebrities’ outfits, most of them stayed pretty conventional. In fact, most of them interpreted it in a out-of-date way, as if they considered technology from a 20-year-ago point of view. And actually this was the issue: now is precisely the time when technology in fashion is a way to conquer new field of possibilities.

When technology is a path to achieve what seemed to be unfeasible


The exhibition opened yesterday night will feature some machine made outfits, shedding the light on techniques such as 3D-printing and laser-cutting. And even if some of the red-carpet walkers restricted themselves to quite a traditional view of the theme, some chose to precisely wear these technological outfits. For instance, Alicia Vikander wearing a Louis Vuitton dress, with a laser cut corset, was a quite reassuring vision of the use of technology within the fashion field.

Fortunately, two people managed to keep pace with what technology had recently brought to fashion. First, Karolina Kurkova, who wore a co-branded Marchesa & IBM dress. It was not only a aesthetically covered by LED dress but also an intelligent outfit. Her dress was a way to integrate social and mass media to this very select event as it changed colors with people’s reactions to the ball on Twitter. This garment was hence both technologic and democratic. Second, Claire Danes, in a Zac Posen dress, who rocked the digital field yesterday. Composed by fiber optic woven organza and 30 mini batteries, the dress glowed in the dark. Thus, Zac Posen managed to sew the most modern reminiscence of a fairy-tale. And yet, more than the mere technical exploit, these creators could have heard the words of Jonathan Ive when he points out the fact that the introduction of technology in fashion should benefit to people. Technology hence should be a way to improve people’s comfort, staying close to the aesthetic priorities of fashion.

Nonetheless, both Karolina Kurkova and Claire Danes figured out what was the real answer to the theme: the alliance between fashion and technology lies in the fact that every dream should be within reach.

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Post written by Sarah Banon, Contributor

sarah-banon-clausetteGraduate student from French Business School ESSEC, Sarah is passionate about fashion and spends her free time writing. She is very curious and likes to discover and study new trends. She joined Clausette Magazine in May 2016.

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