Manus x Machina

The Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated the opening of the newest fashion exhibition, “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" with a lavish gala: often referred to as the most exclusive party of the year. The somewhat abstract theme explores how fashion designers utilize technology and machine-made details for use in ready-to-wear and handmade haute couture. When developing these labor-intensive techniques, the lines between handmade and machine-made often become blurred. 

The concept was also uncertain for many of the well-dressed party-goers, whose interpretations of the theme went from sci-fi gods and goddesses to rule breaking robotic cyber punks. Underwritten by Apple and Condé Nast, the individual ticket prices started at $30,000, with tables costing an astronomical $275,000, all to benefit the privately funded Costume Institute.

Two fascinating examples from the show both come from Christian Dior Haute Couture, one dress from 1952 and the other designed by Raf Simons only last year. One showcases the process of applied artificial flowers, while the other has delicately hand applied ribbon work to pleating with an ultra contemporary result. Considering the age differences in the garments, it is interesting to see a common thought and similar process linking the two together. Combining creativity and innovation have long been a part of the Christian Dior heritage, promising exceptional technical developments for seasons ahead. 

At The Met Fifth Avenue through August 14th

Image 1 (below)

Raf Simons (Belgian, born 1968) for House of Dior (French, founded 1947)
Ensemble, spring/summer 2015 haute couture
Courtesy of Christian Dior Haute Couture
Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope

Image 2 (below)

Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957)
"Vilmiron" dress, spring/summer 1952 haute couture
French - Silk, nylon
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1955
Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope
 

Shown on the Left: "Flying Saucer" Dress, Issey Miyake (Japanese, born 1938) for Miyake Design Studio (Japanese, founded 1970), spring/summer 1994; Courtesy of The Miyake Issey Foundation

Left photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Nicholas Alan Cope