Met Gala 2016: Preview "Manus x Machina"
Amid all the celebrity buzz around tonight's Met Gala, one can sometimes forget that the fundraiser is meant to support exhibitions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute's Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, which will be on view from May 5th to August 14th. Featuring more than 170 examples of haute couture and ready-to-wear, the show examines the distinction between clothes made by hand (manus) and machine (machina). It's organized by traditional métiers of haute couture, including embroidery, featherwork, pleating, lacework, leatherwork, and the delicate art of making artificial flowers. Within each tradition, old-school techniques are juxtaposed with innovative technologies, such as 3-D printing and laser cutting. Standouts include a 3-D printed Iris Van Herpen dress from 2012, sequined Christian Dior gowns from 1949, and Issey Miyake's signature pleats. But the pièce de résistance? The wedding ensemble from Chanel's fall 2014 haute couture collection. Made of scuba knit, the dress is hand-molded, machine-sewn, and finished, of course, by a couturier's knowing fingers. "Perhaps it used to matter if a dress was handmade or machine-made, at least in the haute couture, but now things are completely different," Karl Lagerfeld says in the show's notes. "The digital revolution has changed the world." Leave it to Karl to lead us into the brave new world.