Fashion was born in the 12th century. “Fashion is the attempt to realize art in living forms.”
Michelangelo turned practical limitations into artistic opportunities, lending testament to the true nature of creativity.
“Manus x Machina challenges the conventions of the hand/machine dichotomy and processes a new paradigm germane to our age of technology.”
Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
It’s the time of the year to review a remarkably significant spring-summer art of fashion exhibit at the MET. Manus x Machina features exceptional fashions, exploring measures between hand-made and machine-made from haute couture to prêt-à-porter, displaying unique techniques with innovative machine technologies such as: 3-D printing, laser cutting, circular knitting, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, and ultrasonic welding.
“Fashion in the Age of Technology,” features more than 170 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, ranging from Chanel’s iconic tweed suit to Karl Lagerfeld’s 3-D-printed version, and from Yves Saint Laurent’s bird-of-paradise dress to Iris van Herpen’s silicone adaptation.
While the press howled at celebrities strolling on the red carpet, at the elegant 2016 Met Gala, fascinating personalities flashing their elaborate gowns adhered to the theme, each one making their own statement of man and machine and how they interact. Most celebs interpreted the memo, some appropriately and some not so appropriately. Clair Danes represented Zac Posen’s gown made with fiber optic lighting beautifully. Beyoncé wore a slick and shiny latex gown by Givenchy. Kate Hudson totally shined in a futuristic number by Atelier Versace. Taylor Swift looked like a Gladiator Robot in the dress by Louis Vuitton. There was an entire army in gorgeous metallic gowns by Belmain: Cindy Crawford, Jourdan Dunn, Kim and Kanya, Joan Smalls, to name a few… And mega-stars, Madonna and Lady Gaga, supported the fundraiser by competing in: “who looks more revealing contest.”
The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Metropolitan Museum’s first floor and ground level displayed a series of case studies to unravel the hand/machine conundrum. The effect of the white clean space, cathedral style structure with domed atrium entrance hosting a Chanel haute couture wedding gown with 20-foot train, leaves you speechless and mesmerized as you try to comprehend the embroidery projected right onto the ceiling. As you walk around the circular halls, your head starts to spin in all directions, as you try to focus on industrial dress forms displaying gems like: Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Miyake, Madame Gres and on and on and on…
At the center, an installation of toiles and prototypes presented as garments-in-the making or “monuments to ideas.” A series of rooms emanate this fabulous presentation on traditional métiers of the haute couture, including embroidery, feather-work, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork, which incorporate innovative processes, such as 3D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. And a room dedicated to the ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking reflect the traditional division of “Maison de Couture.”
(Special thanks to Iryna Forostyan).
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