Manus x Machina at the MET’s Costume Institute

The much-awaited annual exhibition focuses on avant-garde fashion.

From May 5, 2016 to August 14, 2016 the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be home to the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibition. To be presented in the museum’s Robert Lehman wing, the exhibition explores how designers merge handmade and machine-made concepts in creating avant-garde haute couture and ready-to-wear.

Manus x Machina features more than 150 pieces of avant-garde clothing, dating from the early 20th century onwards. The invention of the sewing machine in the 19th century led to the foundations of haute couture, and a distinction between manus (handmade) and machina (machine-made). An installation of toiles and prototypes presented as garments in the making forms the center of the exhibit. A series of rooms based on traditional métiers of haute couture feature works like embroidery, feather work, artificial flowers, pleating, lace work, and leather work, which will be 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 will reflect the traditional division of a maison de couture.

Designers featured in the exhibition include Cristobal Balenciaga, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Giles Deacon, Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Issey Miyake, Noir Kei Ninomiya for Comme des Garçons, Madeleine Vionnet, Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons, and many others.

To celebrate the exhibition’s opening, the Met Gala will take place on Monday, May 2, 2016. The evening’s co-chairs will be Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour. Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada will serve as Honorary Chairs.

Photos: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photos © Nicholas Alan Cope

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