FASHION

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.

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Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Autumn 2014.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Autumn 2014.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Autumn 2014.

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Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Autumn 2014.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Kaikoku Floating Dress, Hussein Chalayan, Autumn 2011.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Miyake Design Studio, Issey Miyake, “Rhythm Pleats,” spring/summer 1990.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Miyake Design Studio, Issey Miyake, “Rhythm Pleats,” spring/summer 1990.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Flying Saucer Dress, Miyake Design Studio, Spring 1994.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Ensemble, Raf Simons for Christian Dior, Spring 2015.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Ensemble, Raf Simons for Christian Dior, Spring 2015.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Hussein Chalayan, “Remote Control” Dress, spring/summer 2000.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Alber Elbaz for House of Lanvin, spring/summer 2015.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Hussein Chalayan for Vionnet, spring/summer 2014.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Maison Margiela coat, autumn/winter 1998-99.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Lower Level Gallery View: Tailleur and Flou.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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John Galliano for House of Dior, autumn/winter 2005-6.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Hussein Chalayan dress, spring/summer 2009.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Left: Threesafour, spring/summer 2016.

Right: Proenza Schouler, autumn/winter 2013-14.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Left: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, spring/summer 2012.

Middle: Iris Van Herpen, spring/summer 2015.

Right: Iris Van Herpen, spring/summer 2016.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, autumn/winter 2012-13.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Paul Poiret coat, circa 1919.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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John Galliano for House of Dior, autumn/winter 1997-98.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Noa Raviv ensemble, 2014.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Far Right: Ensemble, Iris Van Herpen, Spring 2010.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Maiko Takeda, “Atmospheric Reentry” Headpiece and Bolero, 2013.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Evening Dress, Yves Saint Laurent, Autumn 1969-70.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Yves Saint Laurent, autumn/winter 2000-2001.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Embroidery Gallery View.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Left: House of Dior, “Junon” Dress, autumn/winter 1949-50.

Right: House of Dior, “Venus” Dress, autumn/winter 1949-50.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Embroidery Case Study, Dior Evening Dress.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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House of Dior, “May” Dress, spring/summer 1953.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Dress, Christopher Kane, Spring 2014.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Raf Simons for House of Dior, spring/summer 2014.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Autumn 2005.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Autumn 2005.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, spring/summer 2010.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Boué Soeurs, Court Presentation Ensemble, 1928.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Right: Alexander McQueen, spring/summer 2009.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, spring/summer 2012.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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Raf Simons for House of Dior, autumn/winter 2012-13.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.

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“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo by Biel Parklee.