Apple will sponsor the Met Gala, the fashion industry’s biggest party of the year

Beyoncé works the carpet at the 2015 Met Gala.
Beyoncé works the carpet at the 2015 Met Gala.
Image: Getty Images/Larry Busacca
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Fashion and tech were bedfellows long before the days of Hermès Apple watch bands and cross-industry talent poaching. The garment industry fueled the Industrial Revolution, after all.

But nowadays, “the topic suddenly seems to be all the rage,” The New York Times informs us. And indeed, the fashion world’s biggest and most anticipated annual party will celebrate that thriving relationship. Next May’s Met Gala and exhibition will be called “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced yesterday (Oct. 13). Apple will sponsor the exhibit and gala, and design chief Jony Ive will co-host the event, along with singer Taylor Swift, actor Idris Elba, and, of course, regular host and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

With the Vogue-sanctioned theme party opening the Costume Exhibit’s big annual exhibition, Wintour can handily raise upwards of $10 million for the museum, gather stars from the worlds of politics, business, sports, entertainment, and—increasingly—tech under a single roof.

The Met’s exhibition will feature items from designers such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton, and examine the distinction between hand and machine-made clothing, including newer technologies such as 3-D printing, thermo-shaping, and laser cutting.

“Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made,” said Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. “But recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other.”

In banner years, the exhibition can set the agenda for the fashion industry and pop culture. The 2011 “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit, which broke attendance records for the Costume Institute and was among the Met’s top 10 visited exhibits of all time, continues to make ripples in 2015, breaking records at London’s V&A, where it opened in August. This year’s exhibition, “China: Through the Looking Glass,” which examined the relationship between Chinese art and Western fashion (and was sponsored by Yahoo), brought more than 800,000 visitors to become one of the Met’s top five exhibits.

The upcoming exhibition and gala will bring together two giants from the worlds of fashion and technology: Vogue and Apple. Both brands have loyal, passionate fan bases with an appreciation for design. It will be interesting to see whether the Met’s exhibit can make fashion-lovers of the techies, and vice versa. And of course, what they’ll all wear to the gala.