Thursday, May 26, 2016

New York: Fashion - The MET - Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

 photograph and copyright Alan Cope – courtesy The MET

“Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and pret-a-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made, but recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other, Manus x Machina challenges the conventions of the hand/machine dichotomy and proposes a new paradigm germane to our age of technology.”
 Andrew Bolton
Curator in Charge – The Costume Institute

New York:  Fashion - The MET - Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.  At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, until August 14, the exhibition Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology which explores how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. Exhibiting more than 170 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, it addresses the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production.
Above. Karl Lagerfeld - House of Chanel - Wedding ensemble -back view - autumn/winter 2014–15 - haute couture.

“Perhaps it used to matter if a dress was hand-made or machine-made, at least in the haute couture, but now things are completely different…The digital revolution has changed the world.”

Karl Lagerfeld - House of Chanel
Wedding ensemble - autumn/winter 2005–6 - haute couture


Manus x Machina
Hubert de Givenchy – House of Givenchy
Evening Dress – 1963 – haute couture
Sarah Burton - Alexander McQueen
Dress – spring/summer 2012 – pret-a-porter

“This dress was 3-D printed.  It was built layer by layer in a vessel of liquid polymer which hardens when struck by laser beam.”

Iris van Herpen
Dress – autumn 2012 – haute couture


“This dress made from cast fiberglass, was machine spray painted and hand-embroidered with crystals and pearled paper. It is accessed through a rear panel, is on wheels and operated via remote control. Each ‘pollen’ during a peak moment is released into the air and swirls around the wearer.  It is intended as a poetic gesture, meant to symbolize new beginnings.”

Hussein Chalayan
"Kaikoku" floating dress - autumn/winter 2011–12 – pret-a-porter

Manus x Machina

Paul Poiret
Coat – ca. 1919 – haute couture


“Often when I use laser cuttong, I also employ the techniques of bonding or laminating, as in my autumn/winter 2012 collection when I bonded laser-cut pony skin to leather.”

Sarah Burton - Alexander McQueen
Ensemble – detail – autumn/winter 2012-13 – pret-a-porter


“This dress shows the process of construction not deconstruction.  What sets apart couture from ready to wear is the ateliers, the workmanship, and the amazing attention to detail, nothing is impossible, and imagination becomes even more beautiful. For this look I wanted to show the magic of the draping on the form, how the block to the toile to the final gown is created, and all the stages in between.”
John Galliano – House of Dior
Ensemble – autumn/winter 2005-06 – haute couture
Charles James
Muslin – Ca. 1950


“I express a concept to patternmakers in words on or through nuance.  Design starts with how my staff interprets the concept.  The patterners are in fact designing.  We don’t apply the usual patterning routine to our conceptual making process.  It is cumbersome.”

Rei Kawakubo – Comme Des Garcons
Ensemble – spring/summer 2013 – pret-a-porter
Viktor and Rolf
Ensemble – spring/summer 1998 – haute couture


“While working with 3-D software I was fascinated by the grid shown on the 2-D screen and by the way black repetitive lines define voluminous objects.  I have translated those lines into textiles that create this sort of optical illusion.”

Noa Raviv
Ensemble and Dress – 2014 – pret-a-porter
Center and right

“It is very rare for me to make an item of clothing in which the hand is absent entirely, but this dress, made from EVA foam, but designed to look like leather, was cut by a machine, sewn by amachine, and finished by a machine.  I love the precision and perfection of machine-made clothes just as much as I love the imprecision and imperfection of hand-made clothes.”
Thom Browne
Dress – spring/summer 2013 – pret-a-porter

The flying saucer was a search for what could be done with different sorts of pleating, in this case, accordion pleats, and to see what could be done combining fabric, design, and movement.  Why not make a brightly colored wearable accordion.”

Issey Miyake - Miyake Design Studio
"Flying Saucer" dress - spring/summer 1994 – pret-a-porter

Manus x Machina
Artificial Flowers


Pin It