**Feature image credit: Boston Globe,“Molecule” Shoe by Francis Bitonti Studio Inc., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston**
I’m on a roll with these post titles, aren’t I? Don’t clap, just throw money. I’m here all week.
Tonight is the annual Met Gala, the event of the year for all things fashion, or really just for anyone important enough to score an invite. It’s a closed event, meaning the actual goings-on are not televised for us non-famous plebeians, probably because we’d be so overwhelmed by fabulousness that the world would grind to a halt due to mass unconsciousness.
The Gala has fascinated and inspired me for many years, but only in a limited sense — it’s great fun to watch celebrities (or their stylists) interpret the theme for each year, and the inevitable hijinks make for great bubble bath reading material, but that was usually the extent of my attention span.
But this year may just prove to define the peak of a movement I’ve been watching much more closely, of late: the strange, often conflicted and sometimes transcendent relationship between technology and fashion.
Welcome to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.
(I may have suffered a bit of whiplash upon first reading the announcement. My eyes snapped back to the beginning of my Google Alert sheet, where I clicked and read about 15 blurb-y articles predicting “cutting edge fashions” and “nontraditional stylings” to appear on the red carpet.)
If you consider this annual spectacular to be the epitome of taste-making, the absolute and final arbiter of all things now — and believe me, many people do — this is big news. It’s time to make is Facebook official, folks: fashion and tech are dating. Pinned. Going steady. An item.
After a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts exhibit #Techstyle, with its look at everything from the latest fabric innovations and designer creativity to the way people interact with style and taste, I’m convinced that this relationship has staying power. Fashion hates to stagnate, and fears becoming lost and passe in an instant-access world. Technology provides the means necessary to keep up momentum, diversifying materials and expanding the very definition of what makes fashion a product of the people who wear it.
I used to hesitate, if asked my opinion on the direction it seems both high-end and mainstream fashion are taking. It’s easier to prevaricate than commit to passing judgement on something so massive, even though I’ve been leaning towards “cautiously optimistic” for some time. It seems the Met Gala has given people like me a sense of validation, that perhaps we’re not so crazy for dreaming of a wider, more expansive approach to an industry which, in the inimitable words of Miranda Priestly, “represents millions of dollars and countless jobs” and influences our daily lives.
More than anything except perhaps music, the things we choose to adorn our bodies have the ability to define our culture. The emerging fashion designer and MIT grad are no longer on opposite sides of the fence, but might even be one in the same. I can’t wait to see what they think of next.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post, after the evening’s festivities!