Met Gala 2016: Lots of Wild, Weird and Wonderful Techie Fashion by Colleen Kane @FortuneMagazine May 4, 2016, 6:57 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Linkedin Share icons On Monday, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Kanye, Katy Perry, and Zoe Saldana, event chairpersons Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour, plus many additional constellations of beautiful people, all spent one spectacular night at the museum. They posed in glimmering couture at New York City’s Met Gala, the annual high water mark in the fashion world. Officially titled The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit, the gala is the organization’s primary funding source for exhibitions and other expenses. This year’s red carpet had more metallic sparkle and futuristic looks on display than ever, as guests dressed to kick off the Met’s spring exhibit, “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” It wasn’t only visual, as with Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga’s space traveler looks, but integral: Claire Danes wore a light-up ball gown, while Emma Watson’s Calvin Klein off-shoulder pantsuit with its dramatic train was made from recycled water bottles and fastened with recycled plastic zippers. Model Karolina Kurkova wore a “cognitive dress” designed by Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig and IBM’s cognitive computing system Watson. The “smart” dress is embedded with IBM Watson technology and LED lights that change colors in real time, dependent on the social media mood of users commenting on the gala through Twitter. Please comment on all of my social accounts b/c my dress will react to your emotions! #MetGala @IBM @MarchesaFashion pic.twitter.com/CXUKcVd8Hm — Karolina Kurkova (@karolinakurkova) May 2, 2016 Manus x Machina explores haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear that display the union of the hand (manus) and machine (machina) work. Especially in this age of global mass production, there can be a perception that “made by hand” by default means made with more care, but the truth that emerges through more than 170 garments in the exhibit is that technology and handmade processes have worked in tandem for over a century with stunning results. Taylor Swift at Met Gala red carpetPhotograph by Dimitrios Kambouris — Getty Images The spring exhibition was “made possible by Apple,” with “additional support by Conde Nast.” Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive spoke at the press preview to make the connection between his company’s own work, with its goal of creating objects as beautiful as they are functional, and the exhibition. The role of technology is often questioned, resisted, or criticized, but as Ive noted, “once even the simple metal needle challenged the conventions of the time.” “Technology and craft are not at odds, and much like beauty and utility, they go hand in hand. Often the result is more powerful for the combination.” The exhibition is presented in cathedral-like galleries with ethereal background music, divided into sections displaying exceptional embroidery, feather work, artificial flowers, pleating, leather work, and lacework, featuring examples of each technique across eras from the dawn of mass production. “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” opens May 5 and runs through August 14.