If you are still drooling over Billie Eilish’s dreamy gown, recovering from being awestruck by Lil Nas X’s triple change, or scrolling through your social media feed for memes about Kim Kardashian’s internet-breaking outfit, we have more in store for you. And, if you are wondering if this article is a blunder (a fashion copy published in an analytics’ magazine), read on.
After the 2021 Met Gala stirred conversations across social media platforms, we at Analytics India Magazine are taking a walk down the lane to bring you stories of innovation and artificial intelligence from the Oscars of the fashion industry.
2021: In America – A Lexicon of Fashion
Singer and rapper Frank Ocean showed up at the Met Gala 2021 carrying a bright green animatronic baby, Cody. Cody moved its arms, blinked its eyes and responded when Frank called him. While the technical details are still unknown, the Shrek-like robotic figure was used by Frank to emphasise “Bring your child to work day.”
2019: Camp – Notes on Fashion
American fashion designer Zac Posen worked with digital manufacturing company Protolabs and GE Additive to create 3D printed fashionable pieces for Met Gala 2019. These pieces were not curated and stitched using needle and thread but built with 3D printers.
With Zac’s ideas, GE produced the computer-aided design, or CAD files, required to produce the dress. Post which, Protolabs used GE equipment to produce the various elements of the clothing pieces. After a year of sketching, draping, 3D body scanning, computer engineering and manufacturing later, five celebrities — Jourdan Dunn, Julia Garner, Nina Dobrev, Gia Coppola and Katie Holmes walked down the Met Gala carpet in 3D printed dresses. In addition, three men, including Posen, flaunted 3D printed accessories and cufflinks.
Jourdan Dunn’s Rose Dress (first from the left) took more than 1,100 hours to print the 37 petals. However, only 21 of those petals could make it to the final event to reduce the weight and improve the structure.
Closer to home, Deepika Padukone’s Met Gala metallic pink gown was also 3D printed on an SLA machine and took more than 160 hours to print and finish.
2016: Manus x Machina – Fashion in an Age of Technology
2016 was an exceptional year for Met Gala as far as technology in fashion is concerned. It included tech-enabled gowns and space-inspired dresses.
While Clair Danes stole the spotlight with her Zac Posen designed real-life Cinderella gown that lit up in the dark, Harry Potter star Emma Watson wore a Calvin Klein set, entirely made up from recycled plastic bottles. The dress material included organic silk, zippers made out of recycled plastic and new life fabric — engineered from used plastic bottles sourced, processed and spun into yarns.
Clair’s dress was created out of fibre optic woven organza, beautifully bringing out the collaboration of humankind and technology. Nicole Kidman walked into the event in a space-inspired star-studded Alexander Wang gown, and Katy Perry played it safe with a Space-age black gown.
IBM Watson-powered dress
What really turned heads was Karolina Kurkova. The former Victoria’s Secret model walked up the stairs in a Marchesa dress, co-designed and powered by IBM Watson. The cognitive floral dress constantly changed colour with the use of the analytical tool. But, the colours were not just randomly changing. Watson analysed Karolina’s social media handle before the Met Gala to translate her follower’s sentiments into the colour palette. During the gala, Watson processed tweets in huge numbers, and the LEDs changed colours according to the analysis of the emotions expressed by fans. Rose was for joy, aqua for excitement, lavender for curiosity, coral for passion, and butter signified encouragement.
While buying 3D printed clothes off the racks of a local store is still a far-fetched dream, the dream is attainable now.