New York is known for its deep sense of style, design and fashion. Whether you’re strutting the streets of Manhattan or donning a gorgeous gown at a fancy gala, there’s no shortage of opportunities to let your inner fashionista shine through.
Earlier this year, some of fashion’s biggest names forged under one roof, to highlight some of the greatest modern works of wearable art. Enter Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age of Technology – an exhibit breathing new life into the Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka the Met) on New York’s Upper East Side.
The otherwise world-renowned art museum is also famous for being the home of the famed Met Gala – the glamorous celebration of art and fashion spearheaded by Vogue Editor-In-Chief, and notorious fashionista, Anna Wintour. Since 1946, the Met Gala, formerly known as the Costume Institute Gala and also the Met Ball, has been one of the most celebrated nights of the year, attracting celebrities, big fashion names and the who’s who of New York. The annual fundraiser benefits the Met’s Costume Institute and mark’s the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit with a themed celebration, setting the tone for the exhibit.
This year, Manus X Machina (translated Hand X Machine) pays homage to the future of fashion as the dichotomy between the sewing machine and technology, as they relate to the production of fashion, is heightened. The exhibit highlights the many detailed, intricate and ornate works, some haute couture, some ready to wear, of the greatest modern day fashion designers. With more than 170 embellished ensembles, the innovation and inspiration in these few rooms is endless.
The space, designed to be a building within a building, creates ambiance with strategically placed lighting, screens and platforms. Each room houses a specific “case study” in which “haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles are decoded to reveal their hand/machine DNA” (MetMuseum.org).
At the onset of the exhibit is a dimly lit room with a 2014 wedding dress designed by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. Adorned with a 20 foot train detailing the confluence of Manus X Machina, this piece boasts a hand-painted gold metallic design, machine-printed rhinestones and hand embroidered pearls and gem stones. The dress, made of scuba knit, is a stunning sewn work of art and the introduction to a breathtaking exhibit of some of the most beautiful works of wearable art you’ll ever set your sights on.
There are 10 case studies comprising the exhibit – Leatherwork, Lacework, Pleating I & II, Tailoring and Dressmaking, Toiles, Artificial Flowers, Featherwork and Embroidery. Each case study showcases some of the finest details and ornate designs modern fashion has ever seen.
As I immersed my senses in each design and envisioned myself wearing these gorgeous gowns, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a movie or on a catwalk of some fabulous fashion show in Europe.
Overall, it is an exhibit for all. The sheer elegance and embellishment of each piece would wow any woman. And the design elements and architectural components of the sartorial structures would surely impress anyone, man or woman.
The exhibit is open to the public and will continue through September 2016 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For more information, please visit http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2016/manus-x-machina.