Manus x Machina – Fashion in Age of Technology at The Met

Manus x Machina - Fashion in Age of Technology at The Met Image courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Manus x Machina – Fashion in Age of Technology at The Met 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2016 exhibition will be Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, on view from May 5 through August 14, 2016 (preceded on May 2 by The Costume Institute Benefit). Presented in the Museum’s Robert Lehman Wing, the exhibition will explore how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.

 

Manus x Machina - Fashion in Age of Technology at The Met Issey Miyake, “Flying Saucer” dress. Image courtesy of The Met

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Manus x Machina will feature more than 150 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear, dating from the early 20th century to the present. The exhibition will address 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 industrialization and mass production. It will explore this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and question this relationship and the significance of the long-held distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.

 

 Manus x Machina - Fashion in Age of Technology at The Met Image courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

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The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Museum’s first floor and ground level will present a series of case studies to unravel the realties and mythologies of the hand/machine conundrum. At the center of the exhibition will be an installation of toiles and prototypes presented as garments in the making or “monuments to ideas”.

 

Manus x Machina - Fashion in Age of Technology at The MetHussein Chalayan, “Kaikoku” floating dress. Image courtesy of Swarovski

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Emanating from this presentation will be a series of rooms based on traditional métiers of the haute couture, including embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork, which will be presented alongside versions that incorporate innovative processes, such as 3-D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. A room dedicated to the ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking will reflect the traditional division of a maison de couture.

 Manus x Machina - Fashion in Age of Technology at The MetIris van Herpen. Image courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before”, said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met. “It is therefore timely to examine the roles that the handmade and the machine-made have played in the creative process. This exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine, often presented as oppositional, are mutual and equal protagonists”.

 

The Met, New York City
Manus x Machina – Fashion in Age of Technology
May 05 – August 14, 2016

 

more. www.metmuseum.org

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