Manus X Machina – Fashion in an Age of Technology

Exhibition Overview:

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Wedding Ensemble – Karl Lagerfeld House of Chanel 2005

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.

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Parurier Floral Collection (Artificial Flowers) – Guillet, Legeron, and Lemarie.

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.

One of the most well-displayed exhibitions in NYC, extended through September 05, 2016. The displays of ensembles come from world-class Houses of Dior, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Yves Sain Laurent, Iris van Herpen, Raf Simons, Issey Miyake, Hussein Chalayan, Givenchy, Christopher Kane, and more designers from the fashion industry in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries. Each artist carefully displays the mechanisms of tools and integration of technology with using iconic materials. The use of machines is embedded in hand-made couture.
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I would absolutely recommend
2016-07-30 17.30.10a visit to the Manus x Machina exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum.
The space is designed on two floors with ensembles and intricate fabrics made out of creative materials. Such as, wires, straws, tulle, feathers, sequins, gems, pleats, and fiberglass. Words cannot suffice the high quality of material and the austere grandeur of every piece, the finest materials with the most elaborate styles. Pictures won’t do this exhibition justice. You have to visit yourself.
With more than 170 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, when the sewing machine was invented and the emergence of a distinction between the hand and the machine.
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“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. 2016-07-30 17.39.26

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.

2016-07-30 17.35.41At 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

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Christopher Kane (British). I loved this collection.

Christopher Kane summer 2014
Christopher Kane


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My favorite Broderie collection. Louis Ferry-Bonnechaux’s mid-1860s invention of Luneville embroidery

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Made out of drinking straws.


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Right: Iris van Herpen (Dutch) summer 2010 haute couture, Polymamide, acrylic, leather.

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Issey Miyake japanese born flying saucer dress summer 94
Issey Miyake (Japanese) “Flying Saucer” dress Plissé I (Pleating) collection

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Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French) – Karl Lagerfeld – Tailleur and Flou (Tailoring and Dress Making).


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Alexander McQueen, winter 2012 – Laser cut white pony skin bonded to black leather, machine-sewn and hand-finished with Mongolian wool.

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Maroquinerie (Leatherwork)



Hussein Chalayan Kaikoku floating dress 2011 12
Hussein Chalayan – “KAIKOKU” Floating Dress

“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.

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Raf Simons (Belgian) Dior 


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Karl Lagerfeld- house of chanel 2005
Karl Lagerfeld (French) for House of Chanel – Wedding ensemble autumn/winter 2005-6
This exhibition is made possible by Apple. Photos shot by iPhone 6s.

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