The MET 2016: MANUS x MACHINA: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Last weekend I got a chance to visit “MANUS x MACHINA: Fashion in an Age of Technology” – The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition at The MET in New York City. The exhibition explores how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.

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.

Below are some of the stunning opening pieces:

“Kaikoku” floating dress was one of the highlights of the exhibition and my absolute favorite. Cast fiberglass painted with gold metallic pigment, hung with Swarovski crystal and pearled paper “pollens”, rear-entry panels with motorized hinges, radio-controlled digital handset. The dress was designed by Hussein Chalayan (British, born Cyprus, 1970):

The picture alone doesn’t do the justice. Make sure to watch the video of the “dress in action”:

Other pieces were rather futuristic:

Another moving dress by Hussein Chalayan:

And the video:

Finally, finishing off with 3D printed dresses to mark the revolution in the modern dress making:

If you are in New York or planning to visit the city in the next month, the exhibition is on view before September 5th, 2016. More info could be found here. I have no doubt you’ll love it and will receive a pure esthetic pleasure. Enjoy!

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