The Spring 2016 Costume Institute exhibition, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, will be celebrated at this evening’s Benefit attended by fashion designers, celebrities, industry insiders, and key supporters of the Museum. Opening to the public on Thursday, May 5, Manus x Machina explores how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.
The show traces the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, coinciding with the invention of the sewing machine, at the time when the distinction between garments made by the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) was first made. The more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear presented in the exhibition serve as tangible explorations of the ongoing dichotomy from industrialization to present day, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, questioning the relationship and significance of this distinction.
Within the exhibition, visitors are presented a series of contrasting haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles as case studies used to unravel the realities and mythologies of the hand/machine conundrum. Traditional métiers of the haute couture including embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork are presented alongside innovative technological processes such as 3D printing, circular knitting, computer modeling, laser cutting, and more.
As an extension of the themes presented, The Met Store has an exclusive retail assortment of over 150 products from stationery, personal accessories and jewelry to scarves and limited-edition prints. A selection of products are by designers featured in the exhibition, including COMME des GARÇONS, Junko Koshino, Maison Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, and Noa Raviv. Also featured are pieces by up-and-coming designers whose practice reflects the exhibition theme, including Flowen, Monocircus, and Tzuri Gueta.
A curated selection of these pieces is available online now, with more in-store. See below for a roundup of our favorite picks.
Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology by Andrew Bolton, with photography by Nicholas Alan Cope. The fascinating companion volume to the 2016 Costume Institute exhibition is both an exploration of traditional artistry and a projection about the future of fashion. Interviews with Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen; Hussein Chalayan, Maria Grazia Chiuri, and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino; Nicolas Ghesquière of Louis Vuitton; Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler; Iris van Herpen; Christopher Kane; Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel; Miuccia Prada; and Gareth Pugh enhance this expansive and absorbing book.
Alexander McQueen Lacy Skulls Scarf. Designed by the eponymous firm of the renowned British designer, this exclusive scarf was created expressly for The Met Store in celebration of the Spring 2016 Costume Institute exhibition. Its pattern recalls a beautiful spring/summer 2012 dress by Alexander McQueen in the exhibition, which features machine- and hand-sewn silk lace bonded with laser-cut black patent leather, hand-sewn silk tulle, and hand-appliqued silk lace. Like the dress, the scarf’s lacy design is both delicate and provocative.
Issey Miyake Bao Bao Bag. Stunning, flexible, practical. This innovative bag is from renowned designer Issey Miyake (Japanese, born 1938), known for his groundbreaking garments utilizing cutting-edge fabrics and techniques. Inspired by Frank Gehry’s complex, layered architectural forms, Miyake’s artful bag features an eye-catching exterior with linked triangular PVC panels.
Noa Raviv Hard Copy Scarves. Designer Noa Raviv (Israeli, born 1987), whose work is shown in the exhibition, has created this eye-catching scarf. Launching exclusively at The Met Store, her scarf recalls Raviv’s extraordinary ensemble from her 2014 Hard Copy collection on view in the exhibition, which is made from hand-sewn, 3D-printed polymer synthetic tulle with laser-cut appliqué. Custom-printed in Italy on luxurious silk, this futuristic scarf adds an on-trend accent.
Flowen Aoda Earrings. Precious and striking, the organic forms of the Aoda Earrings suggest webs of delicate metal. Inspired by the richness and complexity of nature, this otherworldly design from Flowen is the result of a proprietary, innovative approach that combines the natural processes of biology and geology with computer-driven technology. Created by the wildly inventive husband-and-wife team behind Flowen, they were designed in the U.S. and digitally “grown” in Italy.
Comme des Garçons DOT Eau de Parfum. This singular scent by Commes des Garçons Parfum celebrates The Costume Institute exhibition. For DOT, Rei Kawakubo requested a blend that captured the mysterious allure of the Osmanthus flowers that bloom in autumn in Japan. A collaboration between Commes des Garçons Parfum creative director Christian Astuguevieille and perfumer Lucas Sieuzac, DOT’s main floral notes are surrounded with tonalities of green leaf, bitter orange, and pepper, plus a touch of resin and white amber, for a well-balanced fragrance.
Tzuri Gueta Coral Necklace. A noted textile engineer, Paris-based Tzuri Gueta holds a patent for silicone-injected lace, which he uses to create unusual, arresting accessories and jewelry. Like the tech-savvy designers in the exhibition, Gueta’s innovative use of new technologies results in surprising adornments that border on sculpture, in unexpected materials that deceive the senses of touch and vision. Nature, the ocean depths, and the plant world are evoked by Gueta’s unique designs. Surprisingly lightweight, his jewelry is comfortable, easy to wear, and versatile.