American Marketer


Apple continues infiltration of high-fashion as Met Gala sponsor

October 16, 2015

Promotional image for Hermès Apple Watch Promotional image for Hermès Apple Watch


Consumer electronics giant Apple has been announced as the sponsor of the annual gala organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

The 2016 gala, titled “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” to be held on May 2 in New York will delve into the industry’s fascination with technological innovations, whether that be wearables or 3D printing. Recently, Apple has ventured deeper into the luxury sector through its Apple Watch partnership with French leather goods house Hermès, a collaboration predicted by experts as technology and the fashion industry continue to merge.

Where fashion and technology merge
On Oct. 13, Apple was announced as the Gala sponsor, days before its Apple Watch with Hermès leather straps hits stores (see story).

Apple’s fashion connections extend beyond its products. Recently, Apple has hired executive staffers that have roots in fashion, such as its head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, formerly Burberry’s CEO and Chester Chipperfield, another Burberry transplant.

In addition to its sponsorship role, Apple’s chief designer Sir Jony Ive will co-host the event alongside singer Taylor Swift and Vogue’s Anna Wintour.


Apple Hermès watch styles

With attendees ranging from celebrities to politicians and athletes, the Gala is increasingly seeing a rise in guests from the technology sector.

Designers such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton will be featured in the corresponding exhibition within The Met. Displays will examine hand and machine-made clothing and the impact of new technologies such as 3D printing, thermo-shaping and laser cutting.

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

Last year’s exhibit explored the influences Chinese culture has had on Western high-fashion.

Titled, “China: Through the Looking Glass,” a take on the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, the exhibit juxtaposed couture and avant-garde pieces with Chinese art and cultural artifacts. While many brands focus in on Chinese consumer behavior through social efforts and store openings, this exhibit aimed to appraise cultural appropriation in reverse (see story).