The Character of Intricacies: Fashion Articulated by the Hand and the Machine
The Costume Institute exhibition, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the second most visited exhibit in the history of the Costume Institute, just behind 2015's China: Through a Looking Glass, which is said to have been viewed by 815,992 visitors, and is also the fifth most viewed exhibit in the history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
(2011's Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, is third on the list, but I still believe that the monumental display of the late British designer's work, created much of the present day awareness towards fashion design, and fashion as an art form that is independent of its commercial value and practical use.)
Andrew Bolton, curator of these three historical shows, says of the exhibit, "Manus x Machina suggests a spectrum or continuum of practice, whereby the hand and the machine are equal and mutual protagonists in solving design problems, enhancing design practices, and, ultimately, advancing the future of fashion."
On view through September 5th, the show examines the process of how designers are using the handmade and machine-made approach in the formation of haute couture and progressive prêt-à-porter. While haute couture used to rely primarily on the meticulous, handmade, and purity in execution, today's output from advanced mechanical implements have reached a level of immaculacy that many haute couture designers began to embrace the idea and usage of such machines, as integral to the execution of a made-to-measure, haute couture garment. From 3D printing to laser cutting, the sewing machine--the principal tool used in ready-to-wear and commercial mass production--has added some very sophisticated machinery to its tribe, that the very exclusive world of high fashion simply cannot overlook anymore. As said by Karl Lagerfeld, "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."
Click on the photos below for a full screen view
"Manus x Machina suggests a spectrum or continuum of practice, whereby the hand and the machine are equal and mutual protagonists in solving design problems, enhancing design practices, and, ultimately, advancing the future of fashion." -Andrew Bolton, Curator
Watch Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, talk about the exhibit, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. Video from BLOUIN ARTINFO
photos: © 2016 Arturo Veloira