What do you think about technology in fashion? Today’s fast rhythm of life, overconsumption and globalization of industry, technology innovations lead different fields of industries to use technology in order not only to increase their profits but also for the simple reason of surviving in the business world. Fashion industry isn’t an exception but it is also a type of art. So, can technology help the evolution of this art? The upcoming “Manus X Machina” exhibition shows us the future of industry in the age of technology.
Text: Paoula Alevra
The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition, “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”, presented in the Museum’s Robert Lehman Wing will run from May 5 to August 14. The exhibition press presentation took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 15, 2016 in New York City.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met said that fashion and technology are inextricably connected, more so now than ever before. Also, said: “It is therefore timely to examine the roles that the handmade and the machine-made have played in the creative process. This exhibition proposes a new view in which the hand and the machine, often presented as oppositional, are mutual and equal protagonists.”
With more than 120 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, the exhibition will address 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. It will explore this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and question the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.
Photo: Getty Images
Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, said, “Both the automated and handcrafted process requires similar amounts of thoughtfulness and expertise. There are instances where technology is optimized, but ultimately it’s the amount of care put into the craftsmanship, whether it’s machine-made or handmade, that transforms ordinary materials into something extraordinary.” Apple is the main sponsor of the exhibition.
Thomas Campbell, Andrew Bolton & Anna Wintour, Photo: vogue.com
The Robert Lehman Wing galleries on the Museum’s first floor and ground level will present a series of case studies to unravel the hand/machine conundrum. At the center will be an installation of toiles and prototypes presented as garments in the making or “monuments to ideas.” Emanating from this presentation will be a series of rooms based on traditional métiers of the haute couture, including embroidery, featherwork, artificial flowers, pleating, lacework, and leatherwork, which will be presented alongside versions that incorporate innovative processes, such as 3D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding. A room dedicated to the ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking will reflect the traditional division of a maison de couture.
Designers among others in the exhibition will include Cristobal Balenciaga, Sarah Burton, Pierre Cardin, Hussein Chalayan, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, Christian Dior, Mariano Fortuny, John Galliano, Madame Grès, Marc Jacobs, Charles James, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Rei Kawakubo, Junko Koshino, Karl Lagerfeld, Helmut Lang, Louise Boulanger, Norman Norell, Jean Patou, Miuccia Prada, Paul Poiret, Gareth Pugh, Paco Rabanne, Catherine Wales, Yohji Yamamoto.
“Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-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,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute.
In celebration of the exhibition opening, The Met’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 2, 2016. The evening’s co- chairs will be Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour. Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada will serve as Honorary Chairs. This event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions,publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.