Met Gala 2016 - Manus x Machina
Iris Van Herpen FW16
 Met Gala 2016 — Manus x Machina : Fashion and Technology

Perhaps the imaginative days featured in futuristic movies and TV shows are finally upon us. The Jetsons and McFlys speculated what millennial fashion would look like and, year by year, runways have begun to embrace and showcase these tech-infused concepts.

Fashion has always combined a myriad of creative and scientific expression with wearability. Wearable art, architecture, sculpture, geometry, physics, and now, naturally, technology.

Though these ultra-modern styles have made their way to the runway, they are not as prevalent off of it. Tech fabrics and prints don’t see much action on the street as of yet. Perhaps the masses still feel it impractical, or fantastical, too fictional to be functional.

Technology has definitely become a prevalent runway medium. Among traditional silks and crepes and wools, we have begun to see new fabrics and digital prints, from graphic patterns to 3-d printed manifestations.

The Met, noting technology’s initiation into the fashion world, has opened the conversation on the potential and impending reality of this revolutionary transition in modern fashion.

“Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made. But recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other.” – Andrew Bolton, Curator of the Costume Institute


Apple named as sponsor of Manus x Machina

Quite fittingly, Apple is the sponsor of this futuristic fashion extravaganza. The tech giant, always chronicling design and forward thinking as their core mission, has enjoyed forefront participation in the growing relationship between technology and fashion. 

Apple’s sponsorship comes as no surprise, as the brand has been making quite a point that it has just as viable place in the fashion industry as it does in the tech one.

Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Burberry are only a few of the major houses that have associated themselves with the designer technology house and their pioneering wearable devices that are as fashionable as they are functional.

The gala themes usually nod a historic designer, a time period or a design aesthetic. And this is fashion’s statement that there is a new kid on the block that is quickly falling in line with this narrative.

This theme initiates a conversation about the growing relationship between fashion and technology. The ever-changing landscape of fashion is beginning to take as much inspiration from ideals of future concepts as it has notoriously taken from concepts of the past, and it is something worth talking about. 

“Fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before. It is therefore timely to examine the roles that the handmade and the machine-made have played in the creative process. Often presented as oppositional, this exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine are mutual and equal protagonists.” – Thomas Campbell

Photo: Iris Van Herpen SS16

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