Last week, Gary and I had the opportunity to visit the "Manus x Machina" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Launched earlier this month with the much celebrated Met Gala, the exhibition explores how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made to create both couture and ready to wear.
The métiers or trades as outlined in Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert’s famed Encyclopedia, or Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts, serve as the framework for the exhibition. Embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork are separately examined in the evolution of their respective technologies. Traditional hand techniques are discussed alongside innovative technologies such as 3-D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. "Manus x Machina" features more than 170 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear, dating from the early 1900s to the present
While I don't typically identify myself as a fashion person, I was fascinated by the exhibit. The descriptions as to how the fabrics and materials were treated and handled to create the beautiful garments were intriguing. I also think that the handmade versus machine-made dialogue is relevant to interior design where we constantly choose between readily available stock or the luxury of custom-designed, handmade items. It is also interesting to consider how often we incorporate dressmaker details into our interior design projects using anything from pleats and gathers to custom trims to lamination.
The following is a photographic tour of the exhibit with details in the caption space. If you have the opportunity to see the exhibit in person, I would highly recommend you do so. "Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology" is open from May 5th through August 14th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.