Once again, I had the honor of styling the beautiful Diana Taylor for the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Gala. The 2016 theme for the Costume institute exhibition was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”, which opened up many options to draw inspiration from when curating Diana’s look for the event.
While some stylists might have have shopped the stores for wearable technology, I became inspired by the maker movement: the subculture of DIY computer-aided prototyping that is taking hold of the fashion world. I wanted to do something bold, and I knew just who to call: The Lane Tech Makers.
Lane Tech is a historic, award-winning Chicago public high school where my brother, Jeffrey Solin, is a Computer Science teacher. Over the past few years, Jeffrey has helped build one of the most advanced maker labs in the country, while his students have become an army of brilliant Makers themselves. When I contacted Jeffrey about the opportunity to collaborate on custom couture for Diana Taylor and her long-time partner, Michael Bloomberg, Jeffrey and his students were excited by the prospect of using their cutting-edge software and hardware to create something truly unique.
After sourcing fabrics, extensive conference calls, numerous overnight shipments and many meetings, we had a design in mind and selected the perfect textile for Diana’s capelette, a navy suede skin with a reptilian patterned gold paint finish.
Following the specifications of Carli Beardsley, one of my go-to New York City tailors, the Lane Tech Makers used special lasers to fabricate two key pieces for Diana and Michael’s ensembles: they laser cut each piece of suede for what Carli built into Diana's capelette, and they laser cut a living-hinge wooden bow tie, which Carli then attached to fabric, ultimately accessorizing Michael into the spirit of the event!
For the creation of the bow ties, student Manali Desai led the Lane Tech Makers in using a highly precise laser cutting machine to create a "living hinge" cut that allows hardwoods and other non-flexible materials to bend with ease.
"Anna Wintour was extremely complimentary of both Michael's bow tie and my outfit. Thank you Laura!"
- Diana Taylor