Luxury & Fashion

Jun 1, 2016


Six people, 600 hours, 30 miniature batteries and many LED lights, - such logistics was needed to create the haute couture dress that Claire Danes, actress, wore in the "Met Gala" last May in New York, United States of America (USA). An example of how high technology can inspire and transform the global textile industry. 

Fabrics seeded with bacteria that repel mosquitoes, clothes made of milk, dresses that are dissolved in water, fibres with integrated "thermostats", or dresses created by microorganisms by means of tea infusions that grow in a tank with liquid… These techniques are increasingly progressing, and keep creating options for the textile industry, which has been reconciling bio-materials, simple techniques and high technology to present them at haute-couture's service.

Putting technology at fashion's service was precisely the challenge by the Met Gala's organization - which this year was themed "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology". It is a fundraising gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, annually taking place in New York, USA.

Every year, the Met Gala's red carpet is one of the most controversial for its eccentricity. At this event there were many celebrities whose outfits corresponded to the theme and caught the eye with their futuristic looks. The most commented and rapturous look was the dress of actress Claire Danes, that reminded of a children's story in which the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella's dress. A dress that most girls dream of wearing even if only once.

Claire Danes followed the theme to the letter, and lit up the event in a voluminous blue dress made of LED lights and French fabric able to shine in the dark, and signed by a US designer, Zac Posen. For this, six people, 600 hours, 30 miniature batteries and many LED lights were needed to complete the piece of clothing, so demanding, that it forced the actress to ride a bus to the Met Gala on foot.

"The optical illusion of the dress consists in the light travelling vertically. I like to make people dream. It's my work", - explained the designer on the TV show "Good Morning America".

The one who also dressed up and bet on a visual capable of transmitting the fusion between the "Hand and Machine" was Karolina Kurkova. The Czech supermodel wore a dress from the British studio Marchesa, designed with the help of the cognitive supercomputer Watson, from the North American company IBM (International Business Machines).

Decorated with 150 LED flowers connected to each other, the piece was inspired by five feelings of the designers at Marchesa: joy, patience, enthusiasm, encouragement and curiosity. From then, they fed two datasets with the Watson's Cognitive Color Tool system, which uses the psychology of colours to match hues. The computer automatically selected the details, among thousands of Marchesa sample dresses, to compose the model according to the brand's identity.

The LED flowers were connected to the Tone Analyzer API system, by Watson, as well, which played emotional content of the tweets that included the #MetGala and #CognitiveDress hashtags, providing the changing of colours of the flowers in real time.

After the metallic style of Taylor Swift, whose dress was made of aluminium foil, followed the designs of Kate Hudson, Karlie Kloss and Nicki Minaj, based on plastic, paper and lots of adhesive tape. Model Gigi Hadi and her boyfriend, singer Zayn Malik, were undoubtedly the most robotic couple of the party. Cindy Crawford, Nicole Kidman, Alessandra Ambrosio and Kim Kardashian also made the difference.

The Met Gala, formally called "Costume Institute Gala", or "Met Ball", marked the opening of the annual fashion exhibition of the referred Institute that defined a specific theme for each edition. It is also one of the most exclusive New York event and one of the most relevant fundraising nights for the Institute and the city. Held since 1946, it is one of the most important of the fashion industry events, and it always enjoys the presence of personalities from the arts, fashion, high society, cinema and music.

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