The Night Fashion is Showcased: MET Gala
Hundreds of cameras flash, spectators cheer, and the crowd parts to reveal America’s royal family.
Kim Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye West, pose on the red carpet for one of the biggest nights in fashion: The MET Gala. The MET Gala, which hosts hundreds of the biggest stars in Hollywood, funds MET’s Costume Institute, including its exhibitions, acquisitions, and capital improvements. Each May, this gala celebrates the opening of the spring exhibition and is co-chaired by the iconic Anna Wintour, Artistic Director of Condé Nast and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue.
The West couple strikes a pose, and the cameras flash again, the light scintillating after hitting Kim’s robotic, armor-like Balmain dress. Kim herself says she looks like a “blingy, sexy robot.” Kanye, stoic as usual, stands beside her, wearing a jewel-encrusted denim jacket.
It’s the 2016 MET Gala, and the theme this year is Manus x Machina. The gala will open the spring exhibit, which celebrates the role of technology in 20th-century fashion, starting with the humble sewing machine.
The MET Gala celebrates the innovation in fashion. It’s a night for designers and celebrities alike to get creative, to put together seemingly unrelated pieces in order to match a theme. It’s a night to celebrate what the fashion industry is about: self expression and pushing the boundaries of both technology and fashion.
Andrew Bolton: Mastermind Behind the MET Gala
“Haute couture is an ideal, but fashion itself is democratic. We all wear it.”
- Andrew Bolton
On a typical Sunday afternoon, you would find a tall British man, wearing casual jeans, sneakers, and a shirt, in the iconic Central Park. He would be walking beside his miniature wire-haired dachshund named Hector and his gray-suited partner, Thom Browne.
You wouldn’t necessarily think that this man, whose words to live by are: “If we have lunch before the gym, there’s no champagne. If we have lunch after the gym, there is champagne,” is Andrew Bolton, the mastermind behind this gala.
Andrew began his career in the MET in 2002. In his words, the MET was the “Holy Grail,” the best job he could ever obtain. Since then, Andrew has put on ten successful shows in twelve years.
I admire Andrew. For such a prominent person in the fashion industry, he seems oddly relatable. I wrongly assumed that such a successful guy would a head inflated with enough air to fill a hot air balloon. However, in one interview, he described a typical Sunday afternoon: having tea in a comfy robe, clicking through the television channels, with a cup of tea in one hand and a doughnut from Nougatine in the other. Furthermore, he is a self-proclaimed napper. As a person who has hung out with friends by taking naps with them, I respect that.
Inspiration for the 2016 MET Gala
“Fashion has always been the first to embrace technology, right from the get go.”
- Andrew Bolton
Andrew was interested in illustrating the strong relationship between fashion and technology. From sewing machines to Apple watches, technology and fashion have always gone hand-in-hand.
In fact, a major inspiration for the exhibition was Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress, which, created in 1965, was almost entirely machine-made except for the hand-stitched hemming.
The show’s centerpiece is a Chanel gown from the Autumn/Winter 2014–2015 collection. The gown has a dramatic, embroidered train. The train was manufactured in multiple steps which all-together took over 450 hours to complete: Its baroque design was sketched by hand, edited on a computer, hand-painted with gold metallic pigment, and hand-embroidered with pearls and gemstones.