One of the many things on my summer bucket list was to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see their exciting fashion exhibit, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. Luckily, a few weeks ago I had the chance to explore the exhibit and the entire museum.
I was blown away by how extensive the exhibit was. The exhibit includes over 170 ensembles, showing that fashion is more than just dressing but truly an art form. Each piece showcased in the exhibit highlighted the connection between technology and fashion.
I enjoyed how the exhibit was divided based on fabrication or detail, including pleats, tulle, sequins, feathers, embroidery, artificial flowers, and lace. This really emphasized how special each piece was and the role of the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) in the design and manufacture of the piece.
When I was walking around the exhibit, I made sure to take a few photos and jot down a few of my reactions to what I saw. Keep on reading to hear my commentary on the exhibit and the evolving fashion world.
- Although, we shouldn’t heavily rely on technology, let’s face it our world is becoming more technologically advanced whether we like it or not. So instead of ignoring these achievements within technology we must recognize them and use them to our advantage.
- We should always keep in mind the differences between the hand and the machine. To be honest, no machine could produce as incredible a piece than the hand because a hand-crafted piece is one of a kind, taking patience, time, and dedication to the craft.
- I agree hand-made items are seen as more valuable; however we can’t completely neglect technology or see it as less valuable. Just like Miuccia Prada said, “For me, mixing the hand and the machine gives the best results.” To me, what is most valuable is the designer’s passion and time they put into their design.
- While looking at the many pieces throughout the exhibit, I noticed that most of the embroidery and floral details were done by hand so the artist/designer could strategically hand place crystals or other embellishments onto the fabric, thus making it more unique.
- After learning more about the distinction between the hand and the machine, I realized you have more control over things produced by hand, meaning you can manipulate your piece in a way that is visually appealing to your audience.
- Regarding the hand, imperfections are generally only seen in handmade products. Unlike a machine, humans cannot make everything perfect. However, instead of finding fault in a misplaced button or crystal we actually find beauty and uniqueness in it.
- The exhibit also touched on the differences between ready to wear fashion and haute couture. Now we live in a world that mostly follows the ready to wear fashion model. However, one of thee most important distinctions between ready to wear fashion and haute couture is in the details. For example, just look at the elaborate embroidery in the wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. That piece of haute couture fashion cannot be produced in one day.
- Lastly, the most beautiful gowns worn by celebrities on the red carpet or the clothes we have in our very own closet are all produced with the help from the hand and the machine.
Are you a big fashion lover or art fan? I highly suggest visiting the met in New York City before this exhibit closes on September 5th. You won’t regret it. For those who have seen the exhibit what were some of your highlights of your trip?