Metropolitan Museum of Art

Manus X Machina

Dola R.C.

The highly anticipated MET Exhibition explores the ever-growing relationship between fashion and technology.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is gearing up to explore fashion’s kinship with technology through its upcoming exhibition, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. Since the turn of the last century, both disciplines have taken giant strides in their respective fields, and often times, the two have shared a strangely symbiotic relationship. The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 show will be featured from May 5th through August 14th, in the Robert Lehman Wing and Anna Wintour Costume Center.

Dress, Iris Van Herpen, Fall 2013

On display will be some of the most iconic creations of illustrious names like Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne, Sarah Burton, Mila Schön, Alber Elbaz and Raf Simons. The exhibition will briefly mull over the birth of 19th-century haute couture. The Anna Wintour Costume Center will also have “in process” workshops showcasing the latest developments in the fields of fashion technology, such as garments made by 3D printing machines.

The exhibition will also shed light on how fashion’s evolving relationship with technology is fast blurring the distinctions between haute couture and prêt-à-porter. Intricately handcrafted laceworks, leatherworks and embroideries will be presented vis-à-vis such machine made items as circular knitting, laser cuts and 3D prints. By sponsoring the exhibition, Apple Inc. continues to show its commitment towards technology and its tryst with avant-garde fashion.

Ensemble, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Fall 2012

Andrew Bolton, 2015 Vilcek Prize winner and Harold Koda’s successor in the Costume Institute suggests, “Manus x Machina will challenge the conventions of the hand/machine dichotomy, and propose a new paradigm germane to our age of digital technology.” Bolton is known for organizing several high-profile exhibitions at the Met. He was instrumental in the success of the museum’s two ground breaking exhibitions in the recent years: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in 2011, and China: Through the Looking Glass, in 2015.

The highly anticipated MET Gala will take place prior to the exhibition opening on Monday, May 2nd. Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast, will be joined by Taylor Swift, Jonathan Ive and Idris Elba in the proceedings of the evening. Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Nicolas Ghesquière will serve as Honorary Chairs. Interestingly, this will be the Costume Institute’s first major exhibition after its lead curator Harold Koda’s departure in January.

Left: Coat, Paul Poiret, 1919
Right: Evening Dress, Yves Saint Laurent, 1969-70

Commenting on the inspiration behind the exhibition and its timeliness Thomas P Campbell, Director and CEO of the Met, said, “Fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before…” The exhibition may provide a vital cue about how fashion’s marriage with the latest technological developments is going to contribute in the comfort factor and design aesthetics in months and years to come.

© | 2019