The Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute’s benefit gala is one of my favorite fashion events of the year. The Met Gala is different than most red carpet events because it actually has a theme that varies from year to year. How celebrities and other really rich attendees interpret the theme through their style, or the style of the fashion house who invited them, is very interesting to watch. Before we get into who wore what, let’s discuss this year’s theme:
“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”
Man vs. Machine. I’m sure most of us interpreted the words “manus and machina” as man vs. machine. Then throw in the word “technology”, and you probably have an immediate image of little metal dresses on a runway with transformers in the backdrop walking to the Star Wars theme song. From what we saw last night on the red carpet, there were quite a few looks who obviously had this same day dream under the heading “super literal”. As Andrew Bolton, Curator-In-Charge of the museum’s exhibit explains, “manus” refers to “man” as in hand-made garments or embellishments or one of a kind craftsmanship that assumingly took hours to make. “Machina” refers to the sewing machine, which represents the future, progress, with the assumption that if a garment is made by a machine it’s not quite as special as a hand-made garment. As neither one of these ways of construction are necessarily better than the other, it’s a great idea and artistic theme. It’s the coming together of art, science, and craft which makes this exhibit special.
Mr. Bolton stated that the exhibit is about “hidden technologies, technologies that aren’t really visible to the human eye. It’s not really lasers or robots.” Ok, so he just crushed our day-dream of literalness and took us to a higher level of thinking really deeply about…well what exactly does that mean sir? Here are some of my best guesses. You may be surprised at my first analogy, but let me explain….
Before I go into the dress, do y’all see that carpet of pink and white and red cuteness? It’s beautiful and all the idea of Anna Wintour I bet. She’s in charge of literally everything that happens on this night. Ok so, Bey’s dress is on point because for one, it doesn’t look like an actual wearable garment. Instead, it would satisfy the eye just fine if seen on a display in a museum. Of course it looks much better on Beyoncé versus an invisible rack or mannequin, but I’m just simply saying the dress is a work of art. Then there is the craft of the dress, the half puff sleeve that gives her shoulders room to breathe and then sucks all the life out of the rest of her arm, the semi-sheerness and the perfect draping at the bottom of the dress. Floral embellishments of what looks like pearls and other fancy things are strategically placed…Yes. Lastly, the science of it all is in the latex, a very ironic choice of material that one would ever think of to create a haute couture dress. Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci did a good job with bringing this theme home this year for one of his most famous clients. I’m sure you’ll hear other opinions about this dress, and some will love it just because of who’s wearing it and others will hate it because it looks like a wearable decorated condom, but remember the opinions here when it comes to the Met Gala are based solely on the interpretation of the theme. I admit I’m not feeling the smokey eye with it. It looks more burnt than smoked. Other than that, bag, nails, hair, she was within theme.
Kylie’s Balmain dress was an awesome design and on theme with heavy beaded detail and a lot of skin showing. Unlike her sister(s), Kylie can pull off this look in a chic classy way. She doesn’t look half-naked at all! 🙂 Ciara, always one to take it a step further when it comes to fashion topped her H&M look off with silver hair. She had on what appeared to be a metallic lace front to accessorize her hand-made custom designed Swarovski crystal dress. Again, with the craftsmanship that went into this dress, she was totally on theme! Kate Bosworth’s Dolce & Gabbana dress looked like it not only took a lot of thought to design, but a lot of time to put together. The dress starts with a jewel encrusted bodice and transcends over a light yellow waist-line into a lovely silky a-line skirt with fabric applique. Very different and very artsy. Zoe Saldana’s dress was an epic Dolce & Gabbana ball gown with what appears to be millions of colorful feathers on the train.
All of these dresses appear very intricately crafted, from the fabric to the applique. Do we think they were made by hand, or by machine?
Hannah Davis looked stunning in a light blue Zuhair Murad dress of delicate fabric and monotone embroidery. I love the belt! The metal was a great contrasting accent for this look. She’s beautiful, Style Stamped at one of the most biggest nights in fashion of the year, and she’s with Derek Jeter. #Winning Gigi Hadid wore a Tommy Hilfiger shiny scaled bodice with a monotone sheer overlay skirt. Although her boyfriend went way literal with the robot sleeves, her dress was a stunner and very simple, fashion forward, and creatively designed.
There was a lot of metallic dresses on the carpet which puts us more in the mindset of science, technology, robots and other fantasy machines. I’m sure all these shiny dresses were crafted with “the age of technology” subtitle at hand, which isn’t necessarily a mis-interpretation of the theme, just a more literal one. I was disappointed in Taylor Swift’s short Louis Vuitton cut out side number and gladiator heels as it looked better suited for a less mature event like the Disney awards or some other bubble gum pop award show. Jourdan Dunn certainly nailed the robot look in her Balmain dress. Kim’s breastplate was similar to Jourdan’s as she donned Balmain as well, but her dress is much shinier and not as restrictive. Her wet looking hair and ear clip put her in full costume and the person she was with, who spoke only one word on the carpet when asked about his look and strange eyes and broken dress code…was in full half man half amazing mode I guess. Or “vibe” as he described it. Kanye is so extra! This theme was right up his alley. Zendaya looked like a retro Barbie or Dianna Ross in costume, but I was looking forward to something a little more original and eye-catching from her.
Alessandra Ambrosio was also in on the metallic, but the craftsmanship of her Balmain dress is quite amazing. There is a lot of art, science, and craft happening in this dress all cinched in together with an over-sized metallic belt.
By day, Claire Danes Zac Posen dress looked like another one of his usual Cinderella-type designs, but by night, the dress literally came alive.
This dress lit up with fiber optics, truly bringing the “Fashion in the Age of Technology” to life!
Naomi Campbell arrived on the red carpet just to shut it down. Her Cavalli Couture intricately beaded floor length cut out gown was stunning!
Zoë Kravitz, the young beautiful fashionista, donned an art deco haute couture Valentino dress with artsy heels and a lace mask. From the back the dress appeared as a large bow, a total contrast from the front but certainly the more interesting part of the dress. Solange, who is well-known for her eclectic style, was in her per-usual head turning attire in a lemonade yellow David Laport dress with matching liquid leggings. I wonder if she picked out the color of her outfit before or after April 23rd?
And for a little sweet eye candy before we close out…I had to insert Idris Elba, who is wearing the heck out of this Tom Ford tuxedo…we see you Idris! ♥
There was one face that was certainly missed last nigh, Miss Bad Gal Riri. She was one of my top contenders at last years gala and she dissed us this year! See what she wore last year and more in the Interpretation of Met Gala 2015 here.
So, how did you interpret this year’s theme, Manus x Machina? Will you be going to the actual Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit on display from May 5 – August 14? It looks like it will be an awesome fashion experience!
Sources: E! News, MetMuseum.org, Instagram
Love this post. Zoe was my favorite and Idris, of course, looks amazing. I thought in general a lot of the men looked great but many women tried way too hard.
SEKANI MASAMBO says
I really appreciate how you highlighted the fashion “hits” and chose to ignore the “misses.” Naomi Campbell will always reign supreme in my eyes but there were so many beautiful dresses. I dont always comment on your blogs but I am a huge fan. You write from a perspective that is informative without sounding like a “know-it-all.” Each blog has me looking forward to the next one. You are my friend in my head. Keep up the good work!
Leila Lenz says
This is why I love this blog! You are really on point with your interpretation of last night’s Met Gala. So upset Rihanna didnt show this year too! She really blew everyone away last year.