Comfy sofa. Popcorn. TV remote. Pen and paper (sometimes low tech is still best). Wine. Lots of wine.
I was prepared to feel a lot of things while watching the Met Gala this year, but disappointment wasn’t on the list.
As I mentioned earlier, I anticipated an evening in which the tastemakers du jour would embrace their clever, creative, and progressive sides. There were some unique moments, to be sure, but the overwhelming theme of I-don’t-get-the-theme-and-neither-does-my-stylist-but-tech-is-shiny-so-I’ll-wear-metallic was surprisingly dull after the first half hour.
As Wendy Brandes put it in her own recap, “Who knew that robot-style could get old?”
Nonetheless, I selected two standouts that deserve some attention.
First, behold the literal Cinderella of the evening, Claire Danes, whose Zac Posen gown embraced the femininity of classic ball styling and added a twist of glowing fiber optics.
I’d like to think there’s also a much more subtle commentary at play here. Posen has embraced ready-to-wear for many years (Target, David’s Bridal, and even Delta Airlines can all claim him) likely in part because he understands feminine appeal like few others in high-fashion bother to do. He unapologetically embraces romance in apparel, and his designs flatter the female form in a way that feels natural, graceful, and timeless.
By combining an extremely classic interpretation of the ballgown with optical technology, Posen is making a statement about the wearability of the two into the future. It’s groundbreaking in its simplicity, and because of that might slide under the more avant-garde radar and straight to the larger, mass-consumer audience.
The feature image for this post is a hand-iPad-sketched interpretation of Danes’ look, done by the extraordinarily talented Holly Nichols. She focuses much of her artwork on women and the clothes we love to wear, so it came as little surprise to me that she chose to illustrate this look. Every woman wants to feel like she lights up the room, but Posen and Danes made that an elegant reality.
My other favorite of the evening was from an activist and actor I’ve long admired: Emma Watson. She is a crusader for equality, access to equal rights, the modern feminist movement, social and environmental responsibility, and the secret world of wizardry. And she has one hell of a style.
Watson has made an effort to represent sustainable fashion on the red carpet, sourcing most of her gowns from repurposed or responsibly-grown materials. In this case, the pants, bustier, and train are all made from spun recycled plastic bottles, and the fashion maven has promised to re-wear each item.
Watson stated, “Being able to repurpose this waste and incorporate it into my gown for the #MetGala proves the power that creativity, technology, and fashion can have by working together.” I’m not sure there’s a better summary of her interpretation of the Gala’s theme, and it’s one that many of us can (and should) embrace.
You might notice that I haven’t featured any 3D printing at this event. As far as I could tell, only Allison Williams wore something that featured that technology (the flowers on her gown were 3D printed) and the look itself was interesting but somewhat uninspired. And though my work revolves around the 3d printing world, I have taken a much more diverse interest in technology and how it relates to the fashion tree and its jewelry branch.
The failure of stylists, designers, and celebrities to commit themselves to this year’s theme was, to me, an unfortunate side effect of an industry that pays lip service to current modes but is unreliable for delivering on them. In hindsight, my enthusiasm ahead of the Gala now feels naive and not a little like wishful thinking. Perhaps in time my high hopes for jewelry and fashion will fulfill their happy ending, but for now, I’m mentally updating their relationship status: It’s Complicated.