Fashion and technology are officially past their flirtatious phase, and are now converging at a dizzying pace. Demonstrating this increasingly cosy relationship is the announcement of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fashion-tech theme for next year’s Costume Institute exhibition and the Met Gala – “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an age of technology.” And to sponsor the event, who else but Apple, the luxury tech brand that has elevated industrial design to the level of fine art.

Scheduled to open next May, the exhibition will explore how technological advances have shaped fashion, with a focus on the dichotomy between handmade haute couture and machine-made fashion. On the new theme, the Met’s director and CEO, Thomas P. Campbell, explained, “Often presented as oppositional, this exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine are mutual and equal protagonists."

Over 100 pieces of haute couture and ready-to-wear clothing will be featured, with pieces ranging from an 1880s Worth gown to a Chanel suit from this year. Galleries exhibiting traditional couture methods like pleating, lacework and embroidery will sit side-by-side with rooms showing state-of-the-art technology like laser cutting and thermo shaping. Real-time workshops, including 3D printing, will be open to the public.

And next year’s Met Ball, to take place on May 2, is set to be as star-studded and delectably glitzy an affair as ever. In a surprise twist, Taylor Swift, who clashed with Apple over music royalties earlier this year, will co-host the event along with Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada among others.

The Met set a high bar with its recently closed “China: Through the Looking Glass”, which became the fashion gallery’s most popular show ever. But with their potent mix of fashion, technology and good old-fashioned stardust, who’d bet against Taylor Swift, Apple and the Met combining to create an even bigger storm?

Text by Jainnie Cho 

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