On Monday night the biggest event in fashion took place in New York City – the 2016 Met Gala. The theme for this year was Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. This refers to the relationship between the hand-made (manus) and the machine-made (machina) within fashion today. With the rise of modern techniques, such as 3D printing, being used more often I think this is an interesting theme and one that is very relevant. Plus, if you look at the couture collections this combination of innovative and traditional methods, e.g. hand embroidery, is key to the creation of some of the most spectacular items of clothing.
I do always look forward to seeing what everyone wears to the Met Gala because it is a further demonstration of this skill and creativity. It’s a place where fashion and art cross-over. The work, time and detail that the designers and their teams put into making the (mostly) custom gowns seen at the Met Gala is immense, and therefore it is exciting to see. As much as I enjoy seeing what celebrities wear to award ceremonies, such as the Oscars or the Grammy’s, I much prefer this event as it is where they take more risks and it’s also fun to look at who actually paid attention to the theme.
As I watched the coverage of the red carpet on E and on social media, I found that I really liked quite a lot of looks and so I spent time the following day looking online at them in order to round up my list of best dressed. Like with previous years, there were attendees whose dresses didn’t really seem to reference the Manus x Machina theme but some of them were still so good that I could get past that.
I feel like I had to mention Claire Danes first in this list because I think Zac Posen truly understood the theme of the night. He created a ball gown that was equally beautiful and dramatic, perfect for the event in its basic nature, and then brought in the Machina element through the dress being able to completely light up. The images of the literal glowing gown is pretty amazing so I included a photo from Zac Posen’s Instagram below.
Sienna Miller has long been a style/girl crush of mine. She can basically do no wrong in my eyes when it comes to her red carpet looks and she didn’t disappoint on Monday at the Met. This all-over glittering gold dress looks so good on her and I think the bleached brows complement it really well. The bow surprisingly doesn’t overwhelm the look (or Sienna) and the ruby red embellishments add depth to the dress. Although I am a fan of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, I like that this gown is not so obviously one of his.
Alexa Chung is another one of my style favourites. I like that you can often rely on her to bring something a little different to the party. Trousers (on women) at the Met Gala are quite unusual and so the tux she wore to the event in 2010 has always been a firm favourite of mine. Her look this year also stood out for the right reasons. I like that her suit is a more relaxed fit, so the all-over embellishment ends up looking cool and modern. The navy colour, rope belt detail and minimal-look make-up add to the effortless yet glamorous feel of her ensemble.
I am such a big fan of Proenza Schouler and I loved the dresses that were a similar silhouette to this in their SS’16 collection. I think the large silver paillettes on Brie’s dress work as a nod to the theme and the length and structured ruffles add interest and individuality. Also, I think she just looks really cool in this.
When Rodarte first showed these dresses and hair brooches in their SS’16 show, I pretty much immediately fell in love with them. They are so ethereal and I like that you can really see the craftsmanship that went into making these hand beaded dresses. I didn’t realise until Monday night that Este, Danielle and Alana of Haim were the perfect women to wear them and I like the ‘same but different’ vibe that they have going on.
Kendall Jenner’s dress is cool, modern and youthful, which I think is perfect for a 20 year old, model-of-the-moment at the Met Gala. Something about the blue and the woven-look pattern of the dress seems appropriate for the theme. Plus, I like that she wore a different designer from the rest of her family. I think it makes her more of her own person and more credible in a way too.
Alicia Vikander’s dress is pretty unusual and while I imagine that it has probably been quite a divisive look, I like it. I think the mixture of colours and materials is appropriate for the theme and both the length and the boots make it even more unique. Of all the Louis Vuitton looks, I think Alicia’s was the most successful and I do believe that is because her and Nicolas Ghesquière work really well together. They are one of the better celebrity-designer pairings in my opinion.
I am often impressed by Charlotte Casiraghi’s style and I like that her appearance at the Met Gala didn’t change that. This dress is what I meant by an obvious Alessandro Michele Gucci design and I think she looks great in it. It’s bright and colourful and happy. I’m not really sure that it references the theme but I still love it. I like that it was styled with a casual up-do, as having her hair down or slicked-back would have been too much either way with this dress.
I thought Anna Ewers’ look on Monday night worked well because of how the silhouette and styling of it was reminiscent of old Hollywood glam (e.g. the cinched waist, the 1940’s waves) but the texture of the dress gave it a modern edge.
If you had asked me before Monday who I thought would be amongst the best dressed, I never would have said Nicole Kidman. I find her red carpet style can be quite hit-and-miss, yet I was pleasantly surprised by her look at the Met Gala. I thought her Alexander McQueen dress had the right balance of drama and prettiness and I liked that they lined the skirt rather than keeping it sheer, like it was shown on the runway. I think the mystical look of this dress nods to the theme in a less expected way too.
Finally on the fashion front, I couldn’t help but include Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen because although I can’t see any hint of the Manus x Machina theme in their ensembles I love that they just stick to their own style no matter what. Why would you change something that already works so well?
There were a few people whose dresses I didn’t love but I thought their make-up and hair-accessorizing was great. Whether it’s golden brows, molten silver eyes or ornate crowns, I do think how an outfit is styled can make a big difference. In these cases it created a positive element of their look for me, even if it was just regarding their heads.