While I’m in New York this summer, I decided that I definitely need to visit some museums and art exhibits. I was so excited to hear that The Met was hosting a fashion exhibit: Manus x Machina, Fashion in an Age of Technology.
With more than 170 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, the exhibition addresses the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production. It explores this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and questions the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.
Upon entering the exhibit, you are greeted by the grand Chanel wedding dress. The gown exemplifies the confluence of the hand and the machine while using gold, glass, and crystal embellishments. Karl Lagerfeld puts it perfectly by saying, “Perhaps it used to matter if a dress was handmade or machine-made, at least in the haute couture, but now things are completely different… The digital revolution has changed the world.”
Next, you wander around the circular exhibit and can walk between the two levels of the collections. Another interesting part of the exhibit was seeing how the use of 3D printing could be used in fashion. Some of the pieces were actually made on these printers with plastic material.
See a slideshow of my photos of the exhibit below: