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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Met Gala 2016: Manus x Machina

I'm a sucker for a good red carpet moment so here we are with a Met Gala post. This year's theme was "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology." Overall I was extremely underwhelmed with the looks at this year's Met Gala. I suppose no one really tried after so many were critiqued for their causal cultural appropriation last year at "China: Through the Looking Glass:" so many celebrities and big-name fashion stars continuously confused Chinese aesthetic with anything that looked like it came from the continent of Asia. The laziness from last year's lack of research came back again this year. Was everyone too afraid to take risks? If anything, this was the year to do so, especially since there's no way to culturally appropriate technology. 

I loved the "Manus x Machina" theme for this year's Met Gala. The exhibit will focus on the blurred lines between handmade and machine made couture, with different techniques displayed in the museum. This theme is especially relevant this year since there were so many technological shifts in both the fashion and celebrity worlds like wearable tech; change in runway schedules to less seasons and faster buying schedule; the growing concern with fashion's impact on the environment; the introduction to 3D printing for textiles; and the way social media is changing modeling and advertising. I was disappointed that not many people dressed for the theme, especially since the retro-futuristic aesthetic was strong at the last NYFW. 

Keep on reading to see who I think killed it this year.


Best of Tech
These five women along with their designer counterparts came to conquer. Kudos to each of the designers for actually abiding by the theme and putting everyone else to shame. These designs prove that technology and fashion are a far more seamless match than we think. There's no rhyme or reason to this list since all of them were well-crafted, but some definitely got more tweets per minute than others.

Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace
For some reason, so many designers associate white with technology. Perhaps it's because we think of sterile environments when it comes to creating the hardware for technology, but so many of the looks were in dire need of an upgrade. The one anomaly in white was Kate Hudson. She wore a gorgeous gown by Atelier Versace. Not only did she work those cutouts, but the individual pieces of the gown were created by 3D printers. I truly have no idea what Kate Hudson has been up to (besides adding to the frenzy that is athleisure with her own brand), but I'm happy she came around to show us what she looks like sans yoga pants. 

Lady Gaga in Atelier Versace
Lady Gaga has already proven that fashion and technology are not mutually exclusive fields, as seen in her costume changes throughout her career, and her Bowie tribute at the Grammys in collaboration with Intel. She walked down the red carpet in an Atelier Versace creation, but it clearly would not be confused for Kate's. Mother Monster wore a jacket made of recycled motherboards, with the whole outfit giving off a retro-futuristic feel. The entire look reminded me of her "Born this Way" era and although it wasn't my favorite ("The Fame" era or Die) it reminded me that she needs to release more music ASAP. 

Emma Watson in Calvin Klein
As the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, it's no surprise that Emma Watson's look was both an fashion and political statement. Her Calvin Klein gown with its cut-outs around the bodice and deconstructed tux-look reminded us that black tie (or white tie in this case) doesn't have to be boring. She also shared on her Facebook page that the fabrics used in this dress were made from repurposed plastic. Way to go, Em. 

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa

Karolina Kurkova looked ethereal in this Marchesa x IBM creation. Not only was the dressing stunning on it's own, but it took the power of social media to a whole new level. Sewn inside the flowers were small lights that lit up depending on comments on her social media handles about the dress and the Met Gala. If you want to know a little bit more about the tech behind her dress, she tweeted about it here. One of my roommates commented that so many girls wear light-up gowns à la Cute Circuit for their quinceañeras, but I'm not about to compare anything to Marchesa.

Claire Danes in Zac Posen
When designer Zac Posen posted this video on his Instagram, I knew it was over. Everyone should have gone home, especially those that didn't even try. So many people on the Internet were playing the Cinderella guessing game and even falsely reported that Heidi Klum was the belle of the ball, but I'm happy it was Claire Danes. I don't plan on watching Homeland anytime soon, but I was really hoping we would get a Paris/Juliet moment at the Met since Paul Rudd was also in attendance. I'm still scratching my head as to how this was done, but one thing I know for sure is Zac Posen is too good for us.


Honorable Mentions

Gotta give the guys a little bit of love too! Orlando Bloom and Nick Jonas definitely took the "wearable tech" suggestion in a different direction, with Bloom accessorizing with a Tamagotchi and Jonas with a watch pinned on his Topman jacket. Co-host for the evening, Idris Elba, looked suave as ever in his Tom Ford tux reminding us that he's the James Bond we need. Another honorable mention is Zayn Malik, who showed up to the event with bionic arms that resembled those of the Winter Soldier from Captain America.

Orlando Bloom; Idris Elba in Tom Ford; Nick Jonas in Topman


Among the sea of plain white dresses or overly chrome-detailed get-ups, these stood out to me. Laser cut-outs were far too common on the carpet that it became a snooze. Kudos to all the ladies who didn't show up in a Balmain gown: I hope that style follows the legacy of the Hervé Leger bandage dress out the door because I am sick of it. These definitely weren't the best looks of all time, but they stood out nonetheless. 

FKA Twigs in Versace; Kate Bosworth in Dolce and Gabbana; Zendaya in Michael Kors
Saiorse Ronan in Christopher Kane; Florence Welsh in Gucci; Lily-Rose Depp in Chanel
Kristen Stewart in Chanel; Alexa Chung in Thakoon; Nicole Kidman in Alexander McQueen
Hailee Steinfeld in H&M; Solange in David LePort; Amandla Stenberg in Calvin Klein
Dakota Johnson in Gucci; Bee Shaffer in Alexander McQueen; Kim Kassel in Giles Deacon
HAIM in Rodarte; Fei Fei Sun in J. Medel
Beyoncé in Balmain; Wendi Deng in Christopher Kane; Lorde in Valentino

I hope you enjoyed another extensive red carpet post. Let me know which ones were your favorites or the ones you can't stand.

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