jennyzha – looking outwords 01

Karolina Kurkova attends the 'Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

A particular computational project that I found to be inspiring was the Marchesa x IBM’s Watson dress collaboration for the Met Gala. While technology isn’t typically something one would associate with fashion or art, Marchesa and IBM were able to perfectly and harmoniously showcase their inspiration, and last year’s Met Gala’s theme, “Manus x. Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology”.

Cognitive Marchesa dress lights up the night

The “cognitive dress,” it was called, was covered in fabric flowers embedded with LED lights that changed color. While physically, the dress stayed true to Marchesa’s signature elegance, the dress also stayed true to Watson’s powerful analytical power. Prior to the gala, Watson analyzed social media around Marchesa, assigning different emotions of the posts to different colors (rose for joy, coral for passion, aqua for excitement, lavender for curiosity, and butter for encouragement).

The team included a portion of the IBM Watson team, as well as Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa beginning their process just 5 weeks before the gala. There were no prior projects similar to this so they were the pioneers, as they opened up opportunity for more innovation between fashion and technology.

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