This year’s Met Gala was anything but boring. Feathers, tulles and neons saturated the pink carpet of the famous event that took place on Monday, May 6th. The theme, inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” mainly featured over-the-top aesthetics. The vagueness and confusion surrounding “camp” invited every member of the celebrity guest list to apply their own definition of the theme.
While these celebrities were tasked with the challenge of embodying camp, the designers behind each look had to couple their clients’ visions with their own aesthetics to bring this theme to life through wearables. Versace always stuns with its bright colors and intricate patterns, and this year was no exception: Each of their dresses at this year’s event were completely different, yet all distinguishably created at this atelier. We can always count on Gucci to dress celebs in looks so eclectic we can’t help but to beg for more.
These fashion houses, along with many others, have and always will be at the forefront of major events such as the Met Gala, their looks never failing to please crowds and clients alike. These looks are by no means traditional, and, under the theme of camp, let’s face it: nothing is. But, under this theme, a new genre emerged for some designers, one where these artists took traditional materials to the next level, exposing a completely new movement in the fashion industry at large, but textile design especially. Under the vibrant umbrella that is camp, a new wave of textile form and design emerged, blending sculpture and design, revolutionizing camp and fashion design all together.
A textile design fanatic myself, I couldn’t help but do a bit of research when Nina Dobrev, Jordan Dunn, Julia Garner, Deepita Padukone and Katie Holmes all arrived at the Met wearing whimsical three-dimensional dresses and accessories. Struggling to understand what this material was, and how these women were even moving in these sculptural forms, I found that each of the elements on these pieces were 3D printed. Each look created by fashion design icon Zac Posen, master draper and true expert in the game of transforming textiles into a near-sculptural form.
These dresses are a breakthrough, not only for the Posen atelier, but for textile design as an industry. This strategy as a means of textile design is still extremely new, one that very few designers have begun to explore. In this case, the 3D printing of bodices by Posen allowed for each look to not only take a more structured form, but to completely fit the wearer of each piece. Appearing on “Good Morning America,” Posen noted that this strategy truly embodies “the art of fashion”: a phrase that the Met Gala has always catered to, and one that these pieces invite the entire fashion industry to follow after.
These pieces, and the process Posen followed to create each of them, are merely the beginning of the blending of fashion and art, as well as art and textiles. Fibers have long been compartmentalized into two-dimensional surfaces or associated with early forms of traditional and old-fashioned sewing. Posen’s garments show just the beginning of what could become a wide-scale exploration of digitization and dimensionality in the world of textiles and fibers. These dresses are pieces of art, fit for a gallery. Yet they also function as modern pieces of design, proving to designers and artists alike that there really is a middle ground between these to worlds, ones that we too often separate.