A Recap of the 2016 Met Gala: The Misguided Robot Army & The Few That Got It Right

I have a thing for themes—events, birthdays, dinner parties, holidays, etc. But, themes are only fun if everyone sticks to them. No one wants to be the only person in costume at a Halloween party. The same goes for the Met Gala, or Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The star-studded event, held on May 2 in New York City and co-chaired by Anna Wintour, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, and Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive, was themed, “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”

When the cameras started flashing on the first Monday in May, a couture silver robot army charged the red carpet, and we were all a little confused. Fashion and celebrity culture fanatics around the world quickly realized either no one knew what Manus or Machina meant, or no one cared to dress in theme. I saw parts of Madonna I never wanted to see. Taylor Swift looked like Jenny Humphrey at prom. The event was one giant missed opportunity. I for one, expected more from Lady Gaga.

Let me break it down: ‘manus’ is latin for hand and ‘machina’ translates to machine, according to Bustle writer and eight-year student of Latin, . Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of The Met, is quoted in a press release saying, “Fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before. It is, therefore, timely to examine the roles that the handmade and the machine-made have played in the creative process. Often presented as oppositional, this exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine are mutual and equal protagonists.”

The theme is genius; it challenges the assumptions that surround handmade and ready-to-wear fashion (clothes for us common folk) by pointedly asking designers to incorporate technology into their work. It seems highly unoriginal to show up looking like a robot (I’m talking to you, Zayn Malik).

Zac Posen turned heads with his sensational fiber-optic glow in the dark gown, worn by Claire Danes (pictured above). Calvin Klein incorporated sustainable technology with his black and white organic ensemble, worn by Emma Watson—the dress was constructed with yarn made of recycled plastic bottles. Another refreshing take on the theme was Ciara’s Gatsby-esque gown by H&M, a traditional ready-to-wear brand.

It seemed like everyone else took the theme as more of a guideline, rather than a dress code. But I digress. Theme aside, we saw some stunning looks this year. Here are my top ten picks of the evening.

1. Blake Lively in Burberry.



2. Kristen Stewart in Chanel.



3. Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana.



4. Ciara in H&M.



5. Adriana Lima in Giambattista Valli.



6. Claire Danes in Zac Posen. Photo by @Zac_Posen.



7. Willow Smith and Jaden Smith in Louis Vuitton.



8. Emma Watson in Calvin Klein (made using post-consumer plastic bottles).



9. Emma Stone in Prada.



10.Rita Ora in Vera Wang.



Feature image by Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images.

Find more of my favorite red carpet looks here. If you’re interested in learning more about the Met Gala and its history, check out this fantastic article by The New York Times columnist Vanessa Friedman, “What Is The Met Gala, and Who Gets To Go?”



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