Fashion and technology have been coming together in the past few years more than ever before. Perhaps it first began when the Apple Watch came into being, or when we decided that Fitbits and Jawbones were as much accessories as they were fitness trackers, but change is coming, and it’s coming as fast as modern technology will allow. As if in direct response to this, the 2016 Met Gala will celebrate technology’s place in the fashion world, a partnership between the Costume Institute and Apple. The name of the exhibition? “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”
Featuring pieces by Chanel, Dior, and more, the collection will include “future-forward pieces…that combine hand craftmanship with [things like] motors and radios,” or pieces that go against the traditional understanding of design and garment creation.
It seems that, rather than to use the Gala as an opportunity to look at how technology has, in a way, disrupted traditional fashion, it will serve as a place to showcase just how well the two things can work together to create something great. Apple chief design officer Jony Ive said in an official statement,
“More than ever, we believe that it is fundamentally important to personally work with materials as a means to truly understand their physical nature and to design authentic objects. Far from being mutually exclusive notions, we believe that technology and craft go hand in hand—much like beauty and utility—and become all the more powerful in combination.”
In a way, it makes sense: both technology and fashion are beautiful and intricate in their craftsmanship, albeit in markedly different ways. In fact, the exhibition will serve to prove that we’ve reached a point where technology is required in fashion in order to innovate successfully.
The preview for the collection is currently on display at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and it’s already full of pieces, both new and old, that represent that beauty that can come from a harmonious partnership between tech and fashion (Issey Miyake‘s iconic Flying Saucer dress, for example, and Yves Saint Laurent‘s feather-embellished, machine-sewn couture gown). It’s the perfect way to show that, while technology and fashion are coming together now more than before, the idea of such a tension (and such a collaboration) existed long before we chose to celebrate it.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how celebrities take this theme into consideration when selecting their wardrobe from the always-entertaining red carpet before the Gala. Rihanna turned heads (and launched thousands of memes) last year with her bright yellow fur cape, and Sarah Jessica Parker broke out a headdress that would make even Carrie Bradshaw cringe, so I can only hope that people will interpret the Tech x Fashion theme in ways that are just as memorable. Actually, this would be the perfect venue for Miley Cyrus‘s robot-esque costume for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, so, you know, missed opportunities and all that.
The 2016 Met Gala, sponsored by Apple, will take place on Monday, May 2, and will be hosted by co-chairs Idris Elba, Jony Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour, along with honorary co-chairs Nicolas Ghesquiere, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada.
(Photos: D Dipasupil/Getty Images)