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Blog/Inspiration/Lesson in Product Development from the Met Gala

Product Development in The Garden of Time

Featuring the Met Gala 2024

This year while watching fashion's super bowl, I tried to look at the red carpet parade a little different.  Instead of just being enamored or annoyed by the designs, analyzing how much they stuck to the theme "Garden of Time." I instead decided to look through your eyes.  As a budding fashion entrepreneur, what could you take away from this event?  What could you apply to your product development journey?​

Communicating your Vision

First up, let's talk about communicating your idea!  

​Taylor Russell was seen wearing a sculpted tree trunk bodice with grecian draped skirt from Loewe.  When Fashionista called out and asked her to describe her dress in one word she said, "A Tree."  It was adorable and I have to say Mr. Anderson developed one heck of a tree!

​Nicole Kidman on the other hand wanted to "Kiss a Gown Awake" and found the perfect inspiration from the House of Balenciaga.  She had a dress reiminanged from the 1950's.  It stood out on the red carpet for it's simple sophistication and layers upon layers of silk organza feathers.  Personally I think this reinvention is even more stunning than the original design.

​So how can you apply this to your product development?  When you're working with a manufacturer, it's important to give clear direction, documentation, and images to get your product to look and feel like what you're imagining.  I'd recommend a little more direction than "A Tree" and I want to "Kiss a Gown Awake," but they do make for pithy responses on the red green carpet.​

product development from Sketch to Reality

The next stunner that caught my eye was on Gigi Hidad.  I loved this Thom Browne dress when it hit the carpet. Then I did some research and found the inspiration sketch in a Vogue article. ​

Not to downplay the 2.8 million beads, but the sketch was so much better than the final result. When I saw the full inspiration for the outer layer, the actual dress just lost something for me. I wanted that avante garde extravagance of her doffing a blazer and blossoming.  This dress just didn't have the structure to support the original vision. 

I'm the first one to tell you, put it in a sketch, a picture is worth a thousand words, etc. In this instance, I wish I had only seen the dress.  Apologies for spoiling it for you too, but there is a lesson in functionality to be had here.

​When you're developing a new product, it's very important to highlight the key features and functionality that your trying to achieve.  Every design should start from this place.  It will build a foundation in the garment to support the overall vision.  Sometimes budget and time constraints can get in the way. I always recommend tackling the big, important, structural parts first and make sure your design has legs before adding on all the beadwork.

fit and fabric in product design

We've talked inspiration and sketching- now let's look at fit and fabric.

​Jennifer Lopez and Serena Williams' looks are on two opposite ends of the spectrum.  Can you guess which one is on the worst dressed list?

​First, when a look bombs, it's never about the person wearing it.  This dress on Serena was just the wrong fabric choice.  The further away you get, the more crinkly and unfinished the fabric looks.  How do you avoid this kind of misstep when developing your design?  Test your fabric in the actual arena it will be used.  If you're launching a tennis line, you better play A LOT of matches in your garments before making them court ready.  Up close this material had some merit, but it did not translate to the big show.

Reviewing fit is the same story.  You need to put your garments to the test early on in product development.  Don't just review your garments on a model standing still in your office.  JLo looks so uncomfortable in this dress.  It's not hard to find real images of her grimacing or adjusting this throughout the night. ​ I'd like to say the look was worth it, but I'm not the one who had to stand half naked in a dress that kept sliding down.

Comparing Looks

My last thoughts of the night go to Zendaya's red carpet double take.  Transformations are not uncommon at the Met Gala, but this one missed the mark, IMO.  Her first dress created by John Galliano for Maison Margiela Artisanal, was a show stopper!  I just don't understand why anyone would want to change out of that! 

Nevertheless, she did, and I have a little product development lessen in it. The first collection you put out in the world, may be one of your best... EVER.  This is because that idea has been marinating in your head for years!  Slowly coming to life, edited and tweaked to near perfection.  Creating and launching round 2 in a few weeks or months, may not have the same wow factor.  That is O-K!  The important thing is that you keep showing up for your brand, your customers, and most importantly- yourself. 

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