“The show is unusually thoughtful — a stately, gorgeous tutorial… exceptional …ravishing exhibition.”—New York Times
“…might even make a viewer gasp in delight, declaring, ‘Ah, what a glorious exhibition!'”—Observer
“…so much to glean from the stunning and ornate pieces…not to be missed.”—Fashionista
The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition, presented in the Museum’s Robert Lehman Wing, 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 question the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.
The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Museum’s first floor and ground level present a series of case studies to unravel the hand/machine conundrum. At the center is an installation of toiles and prototypes presented as garments in the making or “monuments to ideas.” Emanating from this presentation are a series of rooms based on traditional métiers of the haute couture, including embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork, which are presented alongside versions that incorporate innovative processes, such as 3D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. A room dedicated to the ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking reflects the traditional division of a maison de couture.
Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology – Gallery Views
Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Galleries 955, 961–962 & 964–965