Claire Danes Becomes Real-Life Cinderella at the Met Gala in Glowing Fiber Optic Dress

At last night's Met Gala, Claire Danes dazzled the red carpet in a show-stopping ensemble, reminiscent of a futuristic Cinderella. Designed by Zac Posen, the gown had the glamour of classic couture, but with a glitzy technological twist: fiber optic fabric that glowed in the dark.

Every year, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts this black tie fundraising event–often fondly referenced as “fashion prom”–to benefit its lauded Costume Institute, in coordination with the opening of a new spring show. Danes' dress was an apt representation of this season's theme: Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. The 150-piece exhibition invites the exploration of “how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.”

Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton explains to CNN that human and machine tend to be seen as conflicting design influences, with the handmade tied to luxury, superiority, and elitism, and the machine associated with “progress and the future,” or else “mediocrity and dehumanization.” However, Bolton argues that this presumed dichotomy isn't always accurate and hopes to challenge the myth, revealing that “sometimes a garment that's been machine-made actually has more hours spent on it, is more luxurious than doing it by hand.”

Through his custom design for Danes, Posen seems to have proven Bolton right. The gown wouldn't have glittered without its modern technological elements, but its production required a painstakingly precise human touch. Posen sourced the fiber optic woven organza from France and draped it in a multi-stage process, “playing with motion and structure to capture the emotional engineering.” The fabric formed a hollow shape, sans tulle to hold it up, with 30 mini battery packs sewn into its under-structure to give it its glow. The final result–powered by a futuristic technique, but made special by one designer's unique craft and creativity–confirmed that manus and machina might just go hand-in-hand after all.

Above photo via Zac Posen

Photo via Zac Posen

Photo via Zac Posen

Photo via Matin

Photo via Zac Posen

Photo via Zac Posen

Photo via Zac Posen

Zac Posen: WebsiteInstagram | Facebook
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: WebsiteInstagram | Facebook
via [BuzzFeed, Fast Company, CNN]

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