via Jim Shi

Last fall we learned that Apple would sponsor this year’s Met Gala with Jony Ive serving as a co-chair for the event. Today the Chief Design Officer at Apple is in New York City speaking before an audience ahead of the annual fundraising event tonight.

Here’s a rundown on what exactly Met Gala, which raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, is:

The Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala and also known as the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It marks the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, and the exhibition sets the tone for the formal dress of the night since guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit. Each year the event also has honorary celebrity event day chairpersons.

The event’s theme this year is “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”, where Apple is clearly relevant since bringing Apple Watch to market last year. Jony Ive previously spoke about Apple’s motivation for sponsoring this year’s Met Gala:

“As products become more personal, something that is worn on the wrist put us in the space of fashion,” Ive said. On the relationhip between fashion and tech, the theme of this year’s Met Gala, Ive said that it’s an issue that’s close to his heart. “These are issues close to our hearts,” the Apple executive remarked.. “Our understanding will temper and define future products we’re working on. We’re only starting.”

During a pre-event appearance before an audience this morning, Ive told attendees that Apple is “thrilled […] to help bring to life Manus x Machina.” Ive went on to say that Apple’s “goal has always been to try to create objects as beautiful as they are functional.”

A brief clip of Jony Ive’s appearance surfaced on Periscope as well:

And another:

The fundraiser itself takes place tonight, and while it won’t be televised, the celebrity-packed event is expected to be featured on Instagram’s Explore tab.

With Apple sponsoring the event this year, Jony Ive is co-chair under Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Taylor Swift, who has lead the latest Apple Music ads, and Karl Lagerfeld, who received a rare gold Link Bracelet Apple Watch, are honor chairs. Apple favorites Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and several other celebrities are also expected to be in attendance.

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