I didn’t expect the last night’s red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala to be an emotional roller coaster, but it was! And that made it a challenge to determine the most worthy recipient of my coveted Best Dressed/Wear What You Want combo award.
The exhibit, “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” was a good excuse to dress like a silvery robot, which is a look I normally like a lot.
But so many attendees were inspired to go with that style that no individual stood out to me. Who knew that robot-style could get old? Sigh.
Then Karolina Kurkova’s light-up Marchesa dress and Claire Danes’s light-up Zac Posen dress seemed to save the day. Marchesa’s designers worked with IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, to create a very Marchesa-looking dress embedded with LEDs that changed color depending on the tone of Twitter comments about the gala. Watson was in charge of analyzing the tone of the tweets. It’s a bit “corporate sponsorship”-sounding once you get IBM involved, but I loved it, including the fact that Karolina couldn’t sit down on the way to the event. She had to stand in a big Sprinter van.
The Met Gala is about fashion as art, and sometimes we must suffer for art! It’s probably the one event where it’s a bonus if you wear a gown that prevents normal movement. The better to view you as a museum exhibit, my dear.
Claire Danes’s icy blue, Posen-designed Cinderella gown didn’t look groundbreaking in broad daylight, but in the dark, the fiber-optic-woven organza glowed. STUNNING!
While examining CuteCircuit’s website, I realized the company had done a Twitter dress as well, back in 2012. (That dress had actual, readable tweets, too, not just mood lighting.) I couldn’t drag myself away from CuteCircuit’s website. Their custom-made pieces include the Galaxy dress, which I would very much like to wear.
They even have some ready-to-wear. You can recharge the K-Dress via USB …
… and wear it with Sparkle Booties and the LED-illuminated Mirror Handbag.
This somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for last night’s dresses … maybe unfairly, because it’s not like anyone working today can claim to have done light-up dresses first. Designer Diana Dew did electric dresses with much less advanced technology in the 1960s (and it’s not even clear that she was the first).
Also,Twitter user Ken Nichols pointed out that Microsoft Research did a Twitter dress of sorts in 2011, a year before CuteCircuit, though I don’t believe that paper design, which involved projection, was wearable.
After pondering all of this information, I decided that Karolina and Claire were beautifully, perfectly dressed for the theme by inventive designers. But the catch is that my award is the Best Dressed/Wear What You Want combo award. To be eligible, you can’t merely look beautiful because that’s too damn easy! You must dare to be different. Therefore, my combo award goes to the woman who couldn’t wear a light-up dress to this event because she’d be repeating herself … Katy Perry.
Being willing to stick out like a sore, non-robot thumb meant SJP would have really given Katy a run for her money in my mind if her beauty choices and accessories made more of a statement. Speaking of beauty choices, a Best Dressed/Wear What You Want honorable mention goes to Lupita Nyong’o’s high-rise hairstyle, which (literally) elevated her shimmering, non-silver Calvin Klein gown to alien couture.