The 2014 haute couture wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel with a 20-foot train occupies a central cocoon, with details of its embroidery projected onto the domed ceiling.
The Manus X Machina exhibition is a hidden gem in the Museum’s first floor and ground level of The Metropolitan Museum. Where Technology meets fashion in the most exquisite and enhanced forms. I think Manus x Machina is my favorite exhibition for the year 2016.
“The traditional distinction between the haute couture and Prêt-à-Porter (ready to wear) has always been between the custom-made and the ready-made. Haute couture clothes are singular models fitted to the body of a specific individual, while prêt-à-porter garments are produced in multiple for the mass market in standard sizes to fit many body types. Implicit in this difference is the assumption that the handwork techniques involved in the haute couture are superior to the mechanized methods of prêt-à-porter. Over the years, however, each discipline has regularly embraced the practices of the other. Despite the fact that this mutual exchange continues to accelerate, the dichotomy between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) still characterizes the production processes of the haute couture and prêt-à-porter in the twenty-first century.
Instead of presenting the handmade and the machine-made as oppositional, this exhibition suggests a spectrum or continuum of practice, whereby the hand and the machine are equal and mutual protagonists in solving design problems, enhancing design practices, and, ultimately, advancing the future of fashion. It promotes a rethinking of the institutions of the haute couture and prêt-à-porter, especially as the technical separations between the two grow increasingly ambiguous and the quality of designer prêt-à-porter more refined.
At the same time, the exhibition questions the cultural and symbolic meanings of the hand-machine dichotomy. Typically, the symbolic meanings of the hand-machine dichotomy. Typically the hand has been identified with exclusivity and individuality as well with elitism and the cult of personality. Similarly, the machine has been understood to signify not only progress and democracy but also dehumanization and homogenization. In examining these values, the show’s intention is to liberate the handmade and the machine-made from their usual confines of the haute couture and prêt-à-porter, releasing them from the exigencies of the fashion system into the hands of fashion designers for whom they serve expressions of creative impulses.” #ManusxMachina
Christopher Kane (British). I loved this collection.
“The Floating Dress is made from cast fiberglass that has been [machine] painted with gold metallic pigment, and [hand] ’embroidered’ with fifty ‘pollens’ created from crystals and pearled paper. The wearer enters the dress through a rear-access panel, and the entire garment, which is on wheels, is operated via remote control. Each ‘pollen’ is spring loaded. During a peak moment, all the pollens are released into the air and swirl around the wearer. It was intended as a poetic gesture, as the dress is meant to symbolize new beginnings.” – Hussein Chalayan.